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Two weeks back, a bright young person with whom I have regular business interactions with mentioned that I am her mentor. The expression in her eyes when she said it conveyed that she meant what she said.
That set me thinking on the responsibilities of a mentor. Mentoring is a developmental activity. I believe that mentors are facilitators who depend on their experience to guide mentees to discover their full potential and enhance their knowledge and capabilities.
Open communication is the foundation on which a mentor-mentee relationship is built. There has to be clarity right at the beginning to ensure that both are moving in the right direction.
A mentor should only be a guiding force. He should not step in to complete a task that the mentee is unable to execute. It is always tempting to step in when one finds the mentee struggling, but considering the long-term implications, it is better to stay back and help the mentee find his way out. Remember, a mentor is not there to provide solutions. Rather, he is there to guide the mentee in finding solutions.
There will be times when the mentor needs external help to guide the mentee. In situations like this, the mentor should be willing to seek the assistance of a third party.
The role of a mentor also changes according to the needs of the mentee. Mentoring requires a strong level of commitment and the willingness to keep aside time and energy for the mentee. Being a mentor is a win-win situation. Apart from guiding the mentee, the mentor also gets a chance to broaden his knowledge base as well as sharpen his skills.
In a changing and complex corporate world, mentors play a crucial role and if you have the necessary skills, you should take up the responsibility.
• A mentor is not only a role model but also a trusted friend
• Mentors must guide their mentees to find the right solutions
• Mentor-mentee relationships require commitment and time
Source: C. Sunil Roy, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Senior Manager, Publilink