Mentoring - It’s All Greek to Me!
Did you know the first mentor was Greek? It’s one of those funny
things where a guy was a mentor and, by coincidence, his name was
Mentor. King Odysseus (he was Greek too) asked his friend (named Mentor)
to watch over his son while he went away to fight a war. Old Mentor was
a wise, sober, and loyal fellow and did a great job influencing the
young man for the good.
So Mentor showed that mentoring can be a powerful way to help people
improve. In an organizational setting, just talk to anyone who has had a
successful mentor/mentee relationship and they will probably tell you
it was one of the best learning experiences they ever had. Mentors can
help move people to the next level of confidence and performance and
have a life-long influence. But unfortunately great mentoring is all too
rare in organizations these days as work pressures get heavier and the
time available for non-essential tasks (such as mentoring) gets shorter.
Even if you are under pressure in your own job, try to provide mentoring to someone. It can be a very rewarding experience and you might learn something in the process too (known as reverse mentoring!). If you think you would benefit from mentoring but are not getting it—just ask! People usually feel quite flattered when asked if they will give you some advice or direction, and you might succeed in forming a relationship that does your career some good!
If you can’t find someone at work to mentor you, then look outside work—maybe a family member or church member. If you can’t find one there try online mentoring. Yes, there are websites out there for that too. A pretty good one to take a look at is Horsesmouth (google it) – “a social network for informal mentoring, where everyone can give and gain. You can search for a mentor, be a mentor, or simply browse the inspirational profiles and stories on the site. It’s safe and it’s free”.