The relationship between the mentor and the mentee
Mentor in the Greek Mythology was an old wise man, friend of Odysseus. He took care of the latter’s son by passing onto him his wisdom and advising him.
As you notice, mentoring is not new. This sort of assistance made its appearance in the business world as soon as management saw the benefits of mentorship for the company and the mentee.
It is a process whereby the mentor helps the mentee with her or his learning process. Normally the mentor is not his or her supervisor, it should be someone with an equivalent position or someone not directly involved with the person.
Mentorship in my opinion does not relate to age, but to experience and maturity.
I believe that if you are not assigned a mentor, it is a good experience and very useful, to find yourself a mentor. It will become a journey where both parties will learn, but as a mentee you will evolve and develop faster.
What can you expect from your mentor?
If your mentor is part of the same company (this is very often the case) he or she will introduce you to the people, the written and non-written procedures of the organisation. The mentor should share his or her knowledge and experience. Depending on each other’s role, the mentor can share his/her network and relations.
When choosing a mentor look for someone you can trust! Someone who shall be honest and authentic, someone who does it for you and not for his personal benefit.
The skills you need to look for in your mentor are:
- She/he should be good listener
- Somebody who isn’t afraid to ask questions
- Someone who is reliable, but more important : credible
- An open minded person who does not avoid confrontation
- A person who can set objectives and engage people to reach out for them
Your mentor should be someone with whom you can be yourself, ask all kinds of questions and with whom you can share doubts.
You can have more than one mentor or change mentor to reflect your evolution in your career. Different people will teach you different things.
Finally, remember that mentoring is a partnership. Do not avoid giving something in return!