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Mentors and Mentoring: Being a Mentor

(Part 3 of the Series)

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In Part 1 of this series last week we looked at what a mentor is and does. In Part 2 we looked at ways to find a mentor. In this article, we will review some of the factors involved in becoming a mentor.

First Mentors

The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Lew Platt, believes in the value of mentoring, In a letter addressing HP’s K-12 program, Platt sees "educating our children as both a business and a social imperative. After all, the young faces we see today are the faces of the workforce and customers of tomorrow." He recommends getting personally involved - "Speak to a class. Be a mentor for a student or teacher, either in person or by e-mail."

The State of California’s Resources Agency also has a mentor program that outlines the Qualifications of a Mentor, What Mentors Do, and What Makes You a Mentor that are all worth reading.

Adult Mentors

Mentors are common in educational settings. This University of Oregon site provides guidance to faculty members mentoring students in undergraduate research.

Business Mentors

So what does it take to be a business mentor? It takes the same level of interest, commitment, and confidence in your own abilities that it takes to mentor a student. It also requires that you be sincerely interested in someone else’s growth. You won’t win any awards, but you will have the satisfaction of having done an important job.

Who becomes a mentor? Why do they do it? The answers are as varied as the people involved. Some of us were lucky enough to have had a mentor and want to repay that. Others just want to help out, be a positive influence, or give something to their community.

What ever your reason for being a mentor, you will find it a special experience. Nothing can quite match the self satisfaction you get from sharing your experience to help others.

Talk About It

Why did you become a mentor? Who was your mentor? What did you learn from them? Why was the experience good for you? Or bad? Share your thoughts on this subject with your peers by posting them on our Management Forum. Or just stop by to see what others have written.

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