Although the summary in Homer’s Odyssey, where the Ancient Greek epic poem shared the origination of mentoring inspired by the role of Mentor, the son of Alcimus, who pledged to take charge of Telemachus when Odysseus, the King, and the father, left for the Trojan War, understanding the use of mentoring in 21st century leadership situations brings to the fore, mentor-mentee relationships and responsibilities of both parties on the journey. Early critics made it clear that as long as the story did not dive deep into the specific leadership qualities possessed by Mentor the son of Alcimus, leadership authors cannot be absolutely clear on the skills set developed by Telemachus the son of Odysseus when he was left in the care of Mentor- his father’s friend- and Eumaeus – the swineherd. Nonetheless, mentoring as a process seeks to add value to the mentee.
“Mentors may not find Mentees employment. Mentees should tap into Mentors pipelines.”
In view of this, the mentee and the mentor must share some responsibilities to keep the relationship going, at all times. Mentees must learn quickly, to establish critical connections on their journey to develop their best selves. In formal mentoring for example, mentees often do have opportunities to meet mentors quite often and possibly tap into their pipelines. It is the mentee’s responsibility to be proactive to see the opportunities around and ahead of the mentor so to tap into possible future prospects. Mentees should be seen as ready and prepared at all times. Let me share a secret. If your mentor invites you to a meeting, always arrive on time. It sends the right signals.
Mentees must ask questions. I mean, a lot of good questions. Irrespective of how close you are with your mentor, treat every meeting as a serious session and as a business relationship with an objective to shape the future. Mentor-Mentee discussions should be forward-looking. Mentees must think and see it as such. Mentee needs more than hard skills to have a good discussion with a mentor. It’s okay to ask how a mentor unwinds and even get to know the kinds of food or drinks he enjoys the most. Share health tips and current affairs. Mentees should not make it a habit to look up to Mentors to find them employment or jobs. Mentees should rather seek to obtain insights, direction, and guidance for growth. Prime agenda in any meeting between a Mentor and a Mentee is a frank but delicate discussion on the mentee’s curriculum vitae (cv).
CV here means the mentee’s course of life (curriculum vitae- in Latin), which involves discussions on recent and past activities and events required for the mentee’s growth. Mentees must brief mentors on the happenings in their lives, from career to family and from personal development to institutional strategy direction. Honesty is the only currency here. Mentees must learn to say thank you to Mentors for every minute spent with them. Mentees don’t have to wait for birthdays, occasions, and milestones to show appreciation to a good Mentor. Mentees should occasionally place telephone calls just to check on Mentors and to also encourage them for their good works. These actions get Mentors closer to Mentees and these responsibilities are just basic.
This is Leadership!