This is a practical methodology based on learning from the mentor’s experience, who transfers knowledge to the mentee in an efficient and organized way. In addition, it has a philosophical explanation, according to which every person’s potential, sometimes unexplored or underdeveloped, can be channelled through the support of a mentor.
However, mentoring is not a new trend. It has always existed, and the term comes from a chapter in Homer’s Odyssey in which Odysseus prepares to go to fight in the Trojan War and trusts his son Telemachus, being the Prince of Ithaca, to the care and guidance of his unconditional friend, whose name is “Mentor.”
Having been assigned a difficult role, this friend was able to become Telemachus’s tutor and guide, without stealing Odysseus’s role as a father. Mentor was an experienced wise man and he was rightfully chosen to develop the skills of the king-to-be. Through his experiences, he was able to inspire and nourish his disciple.
Leaving the epic poem aside, and linking this to our daily work life, the mentor’s figure becomes necessary within the structure of an organization to be in charge of modelling the attitudes and behaviours that are required of people with high potential and to make sure they have successful careers within the organization.
In this sense, the mentoring practice can bring countless benefits at a group and individual level, such as:
- Increased productivity: The practice of mentoring in the organization helps to motivate the employees, both the apprentice and the mentor, helping to increase the company’s productivity.
- Development of knowledge and skills: Mentoring is a way of managing an employee’s knowledge and skills in a controlled manner.
- Retaining talent: With this practice, companies are not only looking for developing talent, but also to retain it.
- Leadership development: Mentoring is a practice that brings benefits not only to apprentices, but also to tutors or mentors, which may later be useful to move up within the company.