The History of Mentoring

Mentoring is not a new concept; the first mentor was a character in Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. More and more business people – including CEOs and managing directors – are seeing the value having a mentor. A mentor can help you make great bounds ahead in your personal development and aid you in discovering interesting, exciting ways to achieve your short and long-term goals.

By Genevieve Dawid

A mentor is often defined as “a trusted counsellor or guide” or “a wise, loyal advisor or coach”. The action of mentoring itself is classified as one-to-one encouragement, advice or befriending for an individual.

The original mentor is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor, which included overseeing and teaching Telemachus, Odysseus’s son.

Famous Sayings
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction.”
John Crosby

“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”

Eric Parsloe, Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.
Today a wide range of employers acknowledge that their senior staff need nurturing as well as other personnel, and so the demand is growing. Previously it was primarily middle management who received this type of coaching; that has recently changed as many CEOs and MDs now actively seek this method of coaching to advance their careers and work on personal development. Individual mentoring for top executives is now a timely, much needed and sought after service.

Many businesses also actively encourage their staff to have this type of support, or attend a course about the subject. Some businesses also hold customised seminars in-house.

What Can Mentors Offer?
A personal mentor is someone who cares about people; it is a person that can easily be trusted, who can help develop someone’s potential. Sessions are both private and confidential, ensuring an environment where each client feels safe and supported.

On the other hand, professional mentoring is about helping mentees to understand, plan and implement whatever it is that they want to achieve. They assist others to make significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking.

A mentor provides guidance and support in a variety of ways to a developing individual, acting as confidante, role model or tutor. Through a variety of approaches they help expand mentees’ horizons and increase their chances of success on every level, offering guidance, support and assistance as the person faces new challenges. They assist by non-judgemental listening, giving advice and through sharing their experiences, own life challenges and successes.

Mentoring is designed to help each person fully understand where he or she is now, where he or she wants to go, and how to achieve it in the best way possible. It also provides a highly confidential way to share and explore problems, difficulties and strategies. Today, thousands of people worldwide from all walks of life benefit from it.

Mentors often work in the area of goal setting and of creating effective, more enjoyable ways to achieve short and long-term goals – both business and personal ones.

“It is not what we give but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.”

Genevieve Dawid is a respected mentor offering a dynamic, result-oriented approach to personal development. Customised courses for business managers and staff, incorporating proven methods from her consulting and mentoring work are available. See for details.

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