MentorsA friend of mine called the other day to tell me he had been promoted to Engineering Manager for a large, national, environmental services and consulting firm. I shared his good news and thought to myself about the years we had worked together. I remembered the day I hired him as a field engineer, his first professional job.
He has worked hard to get where he is. He is intelligent and good with people. He was a quick study and I enjoyed sharing my experience and knowledge with him. I may have been his first mentor, but I wasn't his last. Yet it got me to thinking about the importance of mentors.
So, in this series of articles, we look at what a mentor is, how to find one, and how to be a mentor. I welcome your thoughts and stories on this topic as well. **
HistoryThe original Mentor is a character in Homers epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus, King of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Odysseuss son, Telemachus.
Definition of A MentorThe Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a mentor as "a trusted counselor or guide." Katherine Lewis, About.com's Guide for Working Moms, expands on that and defines a mentor as "someone who is helping you with your career, specific work projects or general life advice out of the goodness of his or her heart. My definition of mentor includes altruism and some sense of "paying it forward" since most mentors have themselves been mentored in the past."
Application of Mentoring PrinciplesOne of the most valuable assets your career can have is a good mentor. A mentor is an individual, usually older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individuals development. This guidance is not done for personal gain.
Mentoring is used in many settings. Although it is most common in business, we see its use in many other settings. For example:
- The University of Toledo, College of Medicine has a Medical Mentoring Program for its students.
- Georgetown University Medical Center has a Medical School Mentoring Program for its junior faculty.
- Northwestern University has an Academic Mentoring Program for undergraduates in certain fields.
- Baylor University has a similar mentoring program for its students.
At Risk Youth
- Mentoring is also the basic principle behind the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs.
More Business Mentoring Details
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