According to the Greek mythological legend, Mentor, a friend and counselor to Odysseus was entrusted with the education of Odysseus’ s son, Telemachus. As a trusted senior adviser, Mentor was responsible for raising Telemachus and instructing him in the ways of the world. Today the term Mentor has come to mean a person who takes a special interest in furthering the career and development of a new or junior person in the organization. By guiding the development of the junior person in various ways, mentors may unlock the potential of those under their guidance.

Mentoring is a one to one relationship between a more experienced senior person (mentor) and a new entrant or less experienced person commonly refereed to as the Protégé. The benefits of mentoring include enhanced performance not only for the individual but also for the mentor and the organization. Thus a mentor is an influential individual with advanced experience and knowledge and is committed to provide upward support and mobility to his/her protégé’s career. The benefits of mentoring include enhanced performance not only for the individual but also for the mentor and the organization. Research has found that mentoring provides many benefits to the protégés. Such benefits include higher promotion rates, salary and compensation, and higher performance.  Protégé’s tend to feel more in tune with organization’s way of thinking and doing things, more nurtured and supported during the promotion process and are generally more aware of the organizational politics.

You can take benefit of mentoring for two broad areas, the first one is for career development and second one is for psychosocial support.

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In Career Development, your mentor will provide vocational support such as coaching, advising and visibility for your projects. Through exposure and visibility such as contact and interaction with key players in the organization, the opportunities for you to demonstrate competence and special talent are enhanced. Your mentor will also play a key role in being a protector and minimize your involvement in situations that may be political or controversial. The mentor will also provide technical support and advise on specific skill development, this advice may be either skill related or may hone your interpersonal skills.

Whereas career development functions focus on the protégés career in the organization, psychosocial functions involve relating to the protégé on a more personal level and extend to other spheres of life such as protégé’s personal development. In the psychosocial role, your mentor will aim to provide you with social support, acting as a confidant and friend. Psychosocial functions address interpersonal aspects of the mentoring relationship and will enhance your sense of competence, self-efficacy and personal development.  The mentor may also serve as a roe model providing inspiration to the Protégé. As a role model, the protégé learns appropriate behavior by observing the mentors conduct. Protégé’s have some one to measure their behaviors against and a model of success to aspire towards in future.

Rapid changes in the work environment have increased the need for employees who can learn, unlearn and relearn at faster rates. Mentoring may be one of the means to facilitate learning and adoption of newer ideas. Mentoring can provide you a key to career success and improved performance. Pick a mentor today.

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