Once upon a time...
In the absence of Odysseus, who has gone to fight in the Trojan War, the education of his son Telemachus is entrusted to one of his friends, a man named "Mentor". This old man will act as a guide, role model and trusted advisor for young Telemachus who must prepare himself for his future role as king.
Today the word "mentor" refers to a person who shares their experience and knowledge with another person - called a mentee - who is looking for support and advice in order to achieve a specific professional goal.
A mentor is not a trainer, nor a coach, nor a consultant
The role of mentors is to share their experience and knowledge to enable the mentee to find their own solutions. It is a mutual commitment to personal development that is based on trust, discussions and active listening.
Many companies offer mentoring programmes as a means of developing their employees' skills and abilities : French and international companies, mainly large groups, but not only. Even small and medium-sized companies are now turning to mentoring to help their managers succeed in their work.
Through this approach, companies seek to empower managers, support certain groups, such as young recruits or high-potential women, strengthen group cohesion or promote the transmission of skills and knowledge.
Why use a mentor?
Think of times in your career when you have had doubts, difficulties or important decisions to make. Who can you turn to at these times? Your spouse, your friends, your colleagues? Or someone with a neutral and objective eye, such as a mentor?
The mentor is there to help you with your questions because he or she :
- Knows your business, activity, issues...
- Has already "been there".
- Knows a number of pitfalls to avoid
- Helps you to ask yourself the right questions and to take a step back from your challenges
- Gives you ideas
- Encourages and motivates you
- Helps you meet the right people
How to find a mentor?
When choosing a mentor, it is always best to choose someone you know well and who knows you.
However, if you have not identified a potential mentor in your professional circle then consider joining a group of people (professional network, mastermind or peer group...) who have a similar profile to you and who share the same ambitions, values or issues as you. The aim is to get to know them and to identify those with whom you feel comfortable and who have a certain amount of expertise in the field that interests you. One of them could become your future mentor!