Setting realistic goals, developing strategic B-HAGs and using the dependable GAPS analysis for personal advancement and leadership development as personal tools for growth, generate good discussions around mentoring and career guidance. Always remember! Every star needs a mentor on the journey. A mentor is a guide and the guide must be a lead and not a lid (Ahenkorah 2018).
A lead creates opportunities for followers. A lead will groom the follower to succeed. A lead will show the way selflessly and subsequently coordinate the steps of followers to excel. Inasmuch as coaching plays a key role on a trainee’s personal development journey, mentoring has a way of raising, inspiring and bringing out leadership attributes.
Roundtable discussions, intellectual arguments and corporate debates around mentoring vary from society to society and from organization to organization. Mentoring is basically a personal relationship in which a more experienced individual who is typically someone 2-6 levels higher in an institution or even in a society acts as a guide, an advisor, a role model, the go-to open-arms person and more importantly, a sponsor of a less experienced protégé.
It is extensively mentioned that, Mentoring and the concept of Mentoring, originated with the charisma of Mentor, in author Homer’s Odyssey. The Ancient Greek epic poem which dates back to 3000 years summarizes that when Odysseus, the King, had to go the Trojan War, he entrusted his promising son Telemachus to the guidance of Mentor, his trusted friend and Eumaeus, his swineherd.
Interestingly, Odysseus was away for many years and the only person Telemachus could run to for support, guidance, direction and total apprenticeship was his father’s friend, Mentor. In effect, Mentor nurtured and supported Telemachus in his endeavours and the lessons of life as he developed him from boyhood to adulthood.
New authors like Roberts (1999) argues that ancient author Homer failed to share the personality, qualities and the character of Mentor. He advanced his argument to say that being a friend is not enough to entrust a young man with huge potential in the care of someone just because he was a friend. Nonetheless, Francois Fenelon, painted a beautiful picture of Mentor in 1699 when he shared his novel Les Adventures de Telemaque, where he referred to Mentor as another father, a guide and an instructor.
To relate to people well, speak in public with decency and assertiveness, negotiate with different kinds of people, show empathy to all manner of people, build courage through the stages of life to prepare for higher assignments, require higher levels of commitment to learning at all levels. The workplace as well as societies have currently approved Mentoring, credit to the old Greek Odyssey, involving King Odysseus, his son Telemachus and his friend Mentor as another process committed to grooming leaders.
There is also a historical connection to the Middle Ages which made Mentoring popular. In those periods, young ones who built technical skills and trade apprenticeships benefit from guidance from experienced and well established professionals who equipped them on their journey (McKimm et al., 2007).
The next episode will open up the traditional and professional discussions around mentoring.
This is Leadership