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Sunday, August 29, 2010

MENTORING: An intervention for success in professional life

"Mentoring" as an intervention can help new recruits and interns to understand the JOB well and reduce the frustration and confusion that they have to go through during the first few weeks of joining a new organisation.

A person can not have too many mentors. As a student, one might have several formal and informal mentors at the same time.

Mentoring, therefore, is a relationship rather than an activity. The relationship between the mentor and learner is unique, since mentoring is a protected relationship in which learning and experimentation can occur, potential skills can be developed, and results can be measured in terms of competencies gained rather than in curriculum covered.

What is a MENTOR?

The word "mentor" has its origin thousands of years ago in Greek mythology, in the tale of Odysseus. When Odysseus was away from home for many years, he encouraged and entrusted his son, Telemachus, to his friend and advisor, Mentor. When Odysseus was gone, Mentor served as guardian, teacher and father figure to his young protege.

In modern-day terms, mentors are influential people who significantly help one reach one's major life goals. They have the power -- through who or what they know -- to promote one's welfare, training, or career.

Mentors, according to Webster, are:

A wise, loyal adviser

A teacher or coach

What Do Mentors Do?

Mentors help students in several ways. Mentors give advice and constructive feedback of the student's actions and products, formal and informal instruction (on organizational politics as well as on more technical information), introductions to people who can help, and opportunities for students to demonstrate their skills.

During the mentoring relationship, the mentor is a major source of information as students look to "Bridge the Gap" from the academic world to the world of work.

What Are The Benefits Of A Mentoring Program?

Students have opportunities to observe and interact with experts: receive encouragement; acquire knowledge and numerous professional skills; save time by learning shortcuts and strategies that are normally learned by trial and error; ask specific questions and get one- on- one feedback on their planned careers; gain important personal contacts and other resources; and make a smoother bridge to adulthood and maturity.

Mentors have opportunities to: increase their mentoring skills, which they can use in numerous areas of their lives; learn new technical knowledge and skills; indirectly "pay back" their own mentors for help received; increase their professional network as they interact with other mentors, students, guests, managers, and others; and gain tremendous satisfaction from contributing to the development of capable individuals.

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