Mentorship: The Essential Tool for Growth and Development

Mentorship: The Essential Tool for Growth and Development – Peace Ogbonna

Mentorship is a process where an experienced person fosters a crucial bond that goes beyond teachings and instruction with a less experience person as a catalyst for personal or professional growth. Isaac Newton said and I quote; If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Mentorship cuts out the years of experience of mentors and gives out the experience, thereby aiding one avoid mistakes that mentors made that would have cost one a lot both financially and otherwise.

Types of Mentorships

Mentorship is one of the relevant ancient practices that has led to dynamic growth and has also evolved over years. The types of mentorships practiced includes;

Informal Mentorship; This type of mentorship is often a voluntary project that takes a natural process, it is also known as traditional mentorship. There is often no structure around it, as it can sprout up out of admiration of personalities and virtues through a close relationship with persons involved. It is usually an experienced and older person mentoring an inexperienced and younger person.

Formal Mentorship; This is a structured type of mentorship, where there are specific and set goals of what is intended to achieve at the end of the mentorship process. This is usually found in the professional body and it aids to increase productivity and reduces absenteeism. This type of mentorship is mostly among the experienced and amateurs, age is not the basis rather experience is.

Reverse Mentoring; This involves the mentoring of an older person by a younger person on the basis of experience and advancement in specific areas of life like technology and the likes. In this type of mentorship, the older person might be mentoring the younger person in another aspect equally. This is more like a symbiotic mentorship because both are mentoring and benefitting from each other.
There are other types of mentorships but directly or indirectly, they are a combination of any of this or based on any of the aforementioned.

Importance of Mentorship
In a world that is fast paste and yet filled with a lot of procedures to pass through to attain some level of success and relevance in the society, it is expedient one follows the roadmap of mentorship in order to fast-track this process because in the place of mentorship you get to learn the experience of the mentor without passing through those procedures thereby saving the time of experiential learning. With this in mind, we are delving into the importance of mentorship;

Advancement of Professional Development; Through mentorship, mentee gains the knowledge of the mentor without the years involved and this sets the mentee on a fast lane as he is distinguished in his expertise with the arms of knowledge gotten from the mentor. The mentor provides support, counsel and access to network relevant to the path of the mentee and this is an edge the mentee has above his contemporaries.

Skill Enhancement through Smart Goals; A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself- Oprah Winfrey quipped this and it cannot be less true than that because you mentor aids you set SMART goals, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bond goals. Those raw thoughts in your heart that makes little or no sense are refined and defined by your mentor through the setting of SMART goals and this goes a long way in advancing your require skill that sets you apart.

Goal Alignment through Accountability; It is easier to set goals than actualize same goal and that is one of the major importance of accountability, as it provides a process through periodic feedback and evaluations to monitor set goals to ensure that the become realities and not a mirage of another intention in a vague.

Establishment of Leadership Skills; Mentorship helps in building of leadership skills and other soft skills due to processes involved. Most of the skills built through mentorship that aids leadership are; giving and receiving of feedbacks, accountability, communication skills, adaptability skills, self-awareness etc.

Network Expansion; Mentorship expands ones network both in professional body and otherwise as mentors and mentees will not hesitate to provide necessary contacts at their disposal for each other once the need arises and this also open doors to new opportunities.

Advantages of Mentorship
The advantages of mentorship cannot be overemphasized therefore, most of them would be outlined accordingly;
• Mentorship helps mentees prepare for the future and equally heightens their aspiration for greatness.
• The exposure mentees gain from their mentor’s experience set them up for drastic growth among their contemporaries.
• Mentors serves as role models and give the necessary confidence to push your dreams to reality as you can see their practical teachings playing a huge part in their success story.
• Mentorship increase productivity and time management skills.
• Mentorship sharpens the skills of mentors and increases their problem-solving skills as mentees will always make demands of them.
• It also helps mentors develop better mentoring and coaching skills which can become a source of finance for them.

Disadvantages of Mentorship
Irrespective of the fact that mentorship has several benefits, it has its bad sides and this can be caused by lack of definition of goals of selfish intentions either from the mentor or mentee. These disadvantages are;
• When mentors do not set clear goals for their mentees, it leads to over dependence by mentees on mentor. The mentee will be at a point of confusion and will always depend on the mentor for decision-making regardless of how big or small the decisions are.
• One major challenge in mentorship is compatibility between mentors and mentees. It is not everyone is suitable to mentor anyone based on personality differences, values, goals and communication styles. This can reduce confidence on both party because the mentor most times feel incompetent if desired result is not achieved, likewise the mentee feels worthless because he feels he cannot achieve the result other mentees got.
• Everyone is busy now and if time is not properly mapped out and followed-up, time constraint becomes a major challenge for mentorship.
• Most times mentees that participate in paid mentorship might not be fully equipped before their package expires and might not be financially able to subscribe again and at this point, the whole essence of the mentorship is defeated.
• When mentees are not open minded, the resist feedback and it can be worst when mentor do not know how to give constructive criticism.

Patterns are behaviors learnt over a period of years and for this pattern to be broken, it goes beyond having good intentions or attending sporadic teachings. It needs consistent teaching, study and follow-up by someone who has excelled in that part of endeavor and this is where mentorship comes in. Mentorship is relevant in every area of life and when choosing a mentor, do not be sentimental about it, as growth and development are personal and do not thrive in a state of sentiment.

Peace Chinyere Ogbonna
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