Mentors and Mentoring

A Mentor: An experienced and trusted friend, counsellor or teacher.

Mentoring: A process of listening, understanding the mentee's particular struggle or issue, and offering insights that allow the mentee to learn new ways to approach things, so that they can be guided by their own realisations.
How many of us wish that there had been someone in our life who had lovingly and wisely challenged us, encouraged us and offered us guidance?

Where was that person when we needed them?

Is this absence part of what drives us so hard to find a soul-mate?

In my own work with my mentor I came to realise how hungry I was for an older man's attention, acceptance, compassion and nurture.

The human need for healthy mentoring is most clearly measurable by its absence. Social problems tell the story better than words: teenage pregnancy, youth gangs, anti-social behaviour, and rising rates of divorce, suicide and self-harm, alcoholism, drug addiction, even obesity. It was not always this way. It is as if we do not care for ourselves because no-one cared sufficiently for us when it mattered. No-one showed us what caring really meant, beyond providing food, shelter and clothing. We do not experience being valued and respected so we do not know how to value and respect ourselves or others.

This lack of care can extend into the workplace where our tasks matter more than we do. In organisations, conformity to an artificial role and denial of the true self can show up as stress, conflict, absenteeism, heart attacks or sometimes even early death for executives.

There has never been a greater need for mentors and mentoring.