We need to go back in time, to the western world’s earliest literature. To the character in Homer’s Odyssey named Mentor - a friend who undertakes the education of the hero’s son. Mentor helps the youth track down his missing father, pilots him past ambushes and other deadly hazards to see his protégée safely through his quest.

Thus the word derives from the image of a loyal, wise and helpful friend - a teacher, protector and guide who uses his/her experiences to show a person how to overcome difficulties and avoid danger.

The role of mentor is an extremely important one. An experienced business person can provide guidance, counseling, coaching and professional advice learned through experience.

Effective mentors are people who have the respect of the less experienced, in terms of not only what they know, and who they know, but also who they are.

In today’s world, we will see the need for Mentors, experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and guide the less experienced through the hazards of growth. If you can answer yes to the list below, you are ready to become a Mentor.

The qualities of a successful mentor must include:

A personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time period. Mentors must have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions, to see them become the best they can be. They must invest time in the mentoring relationship over the long haul, to be there long enough to make a difference.

Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life. Mentors can’t come with the attitude that their way is better or that a protégée needs to be “rescued”. Mentors must convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship in order to win the trust of the protégée and the privilege of being an advisor.

The ability to listen and to accept different points of view. Most people can find someone who will give advice or express an opinion. It is much harder to find someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions, and giving their protégées an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.

The ability to empathize with another person’s struggles. Good mentors can feel the need, without feeling the need to pity their protégées Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize and help work through the problems.

The ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers. Good mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their protégées with an optimism about finding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out a sensible alternative..

Flexibility and openness. Good mentors recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their protégées, to learn new things that are important to their protégées, their hobbies, talents, music styles and philosophies, and even to be changed by their relationship.

The Benefits of being a Mentor include:

• The opportunity to positively influence another individual by imparting effective values, attitudes and skills.

• Provides a better understanding of the problems faced by others, and an opportunity to articulate and re-evaluate their own benefits.

• An opportunity to update skills and abilities as well as develop new skills.

• Increased recognition from peers and the community at large.

• Provides a challenge both in terms of dealing with the protégée as well as with the issues.

The Benefits of having a Mentor include:

• The opportunity to develop a personalized approach to problem solving in a non-threatening environment.

• An opportunity to acquire technical and ethical knowledge gained from the experiences of another.

• An opportunity to confront problems in a supportive environment

• The opportunity to develop a supportive network of protégées and mentors.

• Access to an experienced “sounding board”.

The roles of mentor and protégée are equally responsible, with each partner being aware that the time commitment must reap rewards for both sides of the equation. Mentoring, is back to the future, sharing experiences, guiding, counseling, coaching - providing professional advice that has been learned through experience.

Effective mentors share not only what they know, and whom they know, but also who they are.


Chapter 11

Culture of Integrity


Flowing Point




OWIT's Roundtable Breakfast

Physician Assistants

Rebuilding Confidence


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