Mentorship is a relationship which affords people the privilege to share their personal skills, professionalism and assimilated experiences over years, with an in-experienced, unskilled person called the mentee or protégé who is willing to grow and develop in the process of the relationship. Martin Sanders in his book, ‘The power of mentoring: Shaping people who will shape the world’ notes that “mentoring is the facilitation of the lifelong development process whereby individuals move through various stages of human, emotional, spiritual, educational and intellectual development.” The mentor (older or experience person) is to supports, advises and guides, and eventually significantly influence the mentee/protégé (younger or in-experience person) in the realization of his/her potential.
Mentoring in Pst. Nathan H. Chiroma words, “is a dynamic, shared personal relationship in which a more experienced person acts as an adviser, guide and role model for a less experienced person (the protégé).” The concept of mentorship relationship originated when Homer Odysseus, a Greek warrior went to fight in the Trojan War and left his son Telemachus for 20years under the custody of a man called Mentor to look after for him. Thus, Mentor (older and experienced person) mentored Telemachus (younger or inexperience person) into becoming a more responsible and reliable young man.
Mentoring is therefore raising younger people with values, skills, wisdom and nuggets that will enhance their relevance to themselves and society. In mentorship, parents need to mentor their lads with godly and morally sound values that will enable them to become the men/women that they were created to be; men with impeccable character and conduct, men who know how to treat women with respect, men who will not jeopardize their family values for work, men whose words can be trusted, men who know how to sacrifice for their families… Likewise, ladies need their parents (especially mothers) to mentor them on how to cook a delicious meal for their future husbands and family, show submission to spouses, balance career and family life, be women of noble character, teach them about sex and marriage… just to mention but a few. It may surprise you to know that there are families whose business is in ruin because the parents (mentor) didn’t mentor a successor or there were no willing successors (mentee).
Leaders in various organizations are shopping for emerging leaders who will be capable of sustaining already achieved success and take the organization to the next level of influence and relevance. This goal is achievable in the context of mentoring. Mentoring is intentional and holistic in content: an older person will need to consciously invest his/her skills, experience and finance in the lives of a younger adult because life is seasonal and temporal. You are not a successful man/woman on earth until you have successfully raised a successor. In Dr James Zasha words, “you are only a great man/woman when you are able to raise great men/women who will succeed you”.
One cogent goal of mentorship relationship activities is to create an enabling environment that will help the mentee to progress along the learning curve and mature their practice skills. Another goal of mentoring relationship is to be a Paul who has a Barnabas who mentored him and Timothy whom he mentored under his tutelage as his own mentee. That is, being raised by an older or experienced person, while also pouring your own experiences in a younger or inexperienced person (mentee).
One stumbling block in many mentoring relationships is in defining exactly what mentorship means to the individuals involved. The interpretation of mentorship is largely subjective, so the process and contents of this activity need to be defined at its inception for it to be effective for both parties (mentors/mentees). If there is no open communication between mentors and mentees, unrealistic expectations could be set on both sides of the relationship, so that frustrations will mount, performance will be affected and inevitably, many of the relationships will dissolve unnecessarily without achieving the goal of mentoring.