What is Mentoring and qualities of an Effective Mentor ?

Mentoring is the process wherein a senior person in an organization can be a role model to a junior and relatively less experienced person.

The need and utility of a mentor can be felt at all places and all rungs of the corporate hierarchy. Apart from just imparting training, he transmits the knowledge and a general understanding of the profession. He also guides the mentee through the different ways of handling different scenarios in daily life. Mentors serve two very important functions. Firstly, they provide guidance pertaining to career and secondly, they provide psychological support. The relation between the mentor and the mentee is one of affection and mutual respect.

The mentor must be a person the mentee can look up to with respect and trust. The mentee must be a good listener who does not feel inferior by having to listen to the mentor. On the contrary, he must perceive the mentor as a guide who would lead him to success and greater knowledge.

According to modern dictionaries, the word mentor is defined as “trusted counselor”. A mentor is generally a senior person in the organization who takes an active and sometimes personal interest in molding an individual of lesser experience.

Mentoring has acquired great emphasis in corporate entities because it has been observed that people who have been mentored have made great achievements and have ascended the corporate hierarchy faster. Mentoring ,therefore, has acquired an aura of reverence and awe.

While embarking on such a seemingly sacred relationship, it is necessary that the mentee is confident of the trust, sincerity and integrity of the mentor. Since, mentoring is built on mutual trust and admiration. Goals are set for the mentee to achieve. These are goals should be set by the mentor after ensuring that they are achievable and realistic.

One important rule for the mentor is not to make judgments on the mentee’s behalf. The role of the mentor is to deconstruct complex situations and help the mentee frame her own views and reach her own solutions.

Some of the qualities of a good mentor are :

- Commitment to the role: the principal quality that is required in any mentor is “to be there”. A mentor who is committed is always accessible and approachable. 

- Unconditional acceptance of the mentee: A good mentor accepts the mentee without being judgmental or critical. 

- Knowledge about the subject: A good mentor should be familiar with all the latest developments and the fundamentals of his field. 

- Honesty and Genuineness: Since mentoring is more than a give and take relationship. The integrity of the mentor is of paramount importance. 

- Good communication and interpersonal skills: This is necessary to put across his views effectively and without ambiguity. 

- Sensitivity to the shortcomings and difficulties of the mentee: Empathy on the part of the mentor brings trust in the relationship between the mentor and the mentee.