Mentoring is a process of the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and psychological support perceived by the recipient as relevant to their life, work, career, or professional development.
A mentor is a trusted guide, a confidant, and a champion. Someone who can put the situation you are into perspective; someone who provides you with feedback, serves as a sounding board, and identifies resources that you need.
A mentee on the other hand is the apprentice or the learner

Types of Mentors:

  1. Research mentor
  2. Primary mentor
  3. Life mentor
  4. Co-mentor

Career mentor differs from research mentor in that they give you big picture if things. Each mentor gives you something different whether it is time or perspective or expertise.
Life mentor is closer, gets to know the interest of the mentee, family, dreams and goals, support system, and guide them to achieve their goals

Common myths on mentoring:

  1. The best mentors are the same sex and race.
  2. The more experienced and senior mentors are best.
  3. Mentees learn from mentors – it is bidirectional process.
  4. Mentors know best.
  5. Mentees know best.
  6. I am too junior to have a mentee.
  7. I am too senior to have a mentor.

Note: If you want to grow and become the best person you can be you’ve got to be intentional about it.

Finding a Mentor: Not everyone can mentor you. You need to find someone with the following attributes:

  • Competency – professional skills that you desire, good interpersonal skills and judgement etc
  • Committed to working with you. There must be commitment on the part of the two party to work together. You must both know yourself, your strengths, and weaknesses, then accept that you will both accommodate these and work together
  • Confidence – Confident enough to share their contacts and resources and allow a junior person to grow under them. He must be secured enough not to feel threatened when you outgrow him/her. In fact, his goal must be that you should do better than him
  • Click – There must be that click between you both, an understanding, a chemistry that makes both party flow freely in communication and be free to be who you are without feeling intimidated. Both of you can be real to each other.

I call it the four C.
Mentors should find their own mentors because they can benefit from guidance from those with more experience and expertise. No one knows it all and everyone also has something they can offer.

What do I Need to know before I start?
If you want to succeed as a mentor, first seek to understand yourself and others

You need to know that we exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.
That is why it is so essential to focus on raising others to a higher level. And we can do that with people from every area of our lives – at work and home, in church and in the club house.

Why many people do not mentor others:

  1. Insecurity- when people are made to feel secure and important and appreciated, it will no longer be necessary for them to whittle down others in order to seem bigger in comparison. That is what insecure people do – make themselves look better at other’s expense
  2. Ego – Some people’s ego are so huge that they must be either the bride at the wedding or the corpse at the funeral.
    They think other people exist only to serve them in some way or another
    A person consumed with himself never considers spending time raising others up.
  3. Inability to discern the greatness in others
    4.Wrong concept of success, a true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your success
  4. Lack of training: many people do not learn it in school. To come alongside a person, pour into her life, and raise her to higher level is not convenient for most people. Even if you were trained as a teacher. It is beyond passing Information.

Keys to successful mentoring relationship:

  1. First develop a relationship with the person. Be clear about the goal of the mentoring relationship
    a. Write down your expectations, the mentors then review it and either agrees with them or revises them
  2. Clear communication
  3. Trust between the two
  4. Effective feedback
  5. Progress. It is important to make progress in a reasonable timeframe- otherwise, it is frustrating for both people in that relationship


  1. Everyone wants to feel worthwhile – develop your skills in making other people feel important
  2. Everyone needs and respond to encouragement – people can tell when you do not believe in them. Find something to celebrate in others
  3. People buy into the person before buying into their leadership- people will follow you only when they believe in you.
    Mentoring is who you are as much as what you do.

Roles and responsibilities of mentors:

  1. Find out the interest of mentee and help them set appropriate goals
  2. Find time to meet with mentee, it could be virtual means
  3. Should learn to listen patiently
  4. Build a relationship
  5. Do not abuse your authority
    6.Nurture self sufficiency
  6. Share your successes and failures…be human and real. It helps the mentee to see them as humans and encourage them to do same
  7. Help mentee network
  8. Mentors should avoid dictating choices or controlling a mentees behavior. Do not be overtly Authoritative
  9. Provide constructive feedback that can be incorporated.

Coaching seems to be more specific, on particular set of skills while mentoring is more on general development. In some settings like when someone is coaching one in biostatistics… Which is specific. the two world maybe interchangeable. Mentoring seems broader. Looking at the individual’s development.
Influencing meaning ability to affect what happens next in a context is vague and not directly involving the development of the individual. It is not tailored.

Role model is a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. There seems to be no committed contact and deliberately been involved in the life of such persons. So, the level of influence here will be limited.

Roles and responsibilities of Mentees:

  1. Take responsibility for the relationship
    2.Set the terms for the relationship from the beginning
    3.Take initiative to meet with the mentor and ask questions
  2. Be teachable- willing to learn new things and responsive to suggestions
  3. Try not to be defensive when criticized
  4. Don’t expect miracles from the mentor
  5. Be considerate of your Mentees time
  6. Honor commitment
  7. Communicate clearly
  8. Identify your needs

Mentoring and discipleship have some common principles, but they are not strictly same. Discipleship is Spiritual/religious. A follower of a religious leader, an adherent to their concept and philosophy.
In practical terms, it is the transference of life, spiritual content to a follower. Elijah/Elisha, Paul/Timothy, Barnabas
A mentor and a mentee may be of opposite religion depending on the nature of the mentorship. e. g research, academics, finance-co- mentors

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