Mentor in the Greek mythology
Mentor, in the Greek mythology, was a trusted friend of Odysseus. Odysseus had to leave to fight and conquer. Odysseus entrusted his son’s education to Mentor. The mentor’s definition evolved into signifying a trusted counselor or guide. Mentoring is a developmental process designed to help and guide less experienced employees by someone with more experience. You learn from a mentor’s experience and wisdom. Mentoring consists of a privileged relationship with your mentor that guides you in your career. Mentors are usually successful people inside an organization that help their mentees evolve positively within the same institution or within another similar institution. Often mentors in organizations are not trained professionally to have a Socratic questioning approach. Mentoring in organizations can be focused on a mentor sharing their advice from their successful experience or developing the skills in their mentee.
Coaching and mentoring’s underlying assumptions:
With coaching, clients are the experts. With consultants, consultants are the experts because they provide advice within their expertise. With psychotherapist, the patient is usually sick or confronted systematically to the same problem and needs healing, although modern approaches to psychotherapy resemble the coaching approach. With mentors, they have the knowledge how to be successful within a specific context. ICF defines Mentor Coaching as focusing on “the development of coaching skills mainly in the context of a coach’s initial development.” ICF defines and MKB adopts the definition that, “Coaching Supervision is the interaction that occurs when a coach periodically brings his other coaching work experiences to a coaching supervisor in order to engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative learning for the development and benefit of the coach and his or her clients.”
Many confuse the word coaching with mentoring or vice versa. So it is wise to ask people how they define the term mentoring or coaching.
Tips to mentoring or to selecting a Mentor
- Mentor as sponsor: Select a junior manager that has been identified for a promotion or a new position
- Mentor who provides exposure and visibility: Pairing a junior manager with key mentor who can provide opportunities
- Mentor who can provide advice: Mentor who can provide practical tips on how to accomplish objectives and achieve recognition
- Mentor as protector: Mentor who can shield a junior manager from potentially conflictual or harmful situations
- Mentor experienced in a specific and challenging assignment: Mentor who helps a junior manager develop those specific and necessary competencies through favorable job assignments and feedback
- Mentor as a role model: Mentor that gives a junior manager a pattern of values and behavior to emulate
- Mentor as coach: Mentor that has the basic skills in coaching and asking questions
- Mentor as developer: Mentor that enjoys developing others
Of course, these are generalizations and with any generalization, it is an oversimplification, which makes for a good discussion. So what is your opinion of the difference between a coach, consultant, psychotherapist or mentor? Leave your comments below.