Who can be a mentor?
“Look at all those people mentoring all over the place. Why wouldn’t I be one?”
Let’s not rush into things. There are unspoken rules of being a mentor, too. First thing’s first, let’s remember what a mentor is.
Traditionally, the term “mentor” could remind us of a wise man with white hair, or a guide. The word “mentor”, which can also mean an advisor, originally comes from Homer’s Odysseia. Before leaving for the Trojan War, Odysseus leaves his son Telemachus and all his property in care of his friend Mentor. Mentor guides young Telemachus so that he is educated and raised in the best way possible.
Mentorship is a relationship based on mutual development in which the mentor guides the mentee by sharing important information, thoughts, and work experiences. In today’s business world, a mentor can be considered as a person willing to;
– shape the career of a young professional using the knowledge and experience they have in the field, and
– support the development of a young professional by sharing their experience and opinions.
And “who can be a mentor”, you ask? Any person who;
- is more experienced than their mentee and has a higher level managerial role, or has a very deep and rare technical expertise in their field,
- is not in a hierarchical relationship with their mentee in the same organization,
- is a role model in the organization with their knowledge, experience, and behavior,
- accurately represents the organizational culture and values, and
- is highly motivated to improve themselves and others, and to put in the work within the mentoring relationship,
can definitely be a mentor!