Mentoring – Not another “buzz” word

2 Minute Read

Do you have a mentor? Do you encourage your employees to have mentors? Many companies have jumped on the mentoring bandwagon. What’s curious about this is how mentoring is defined by these companies.

Before mentoring was in vogue, you could ask people, “Did/Do you have a mentor in your life?”  If their response was “yes” the answer to the follow-up question, “Were they totally aware that they were mentoring you?” was probably “No.” However, they made a significant impact in the life of the mentee.  So in other words, the mentee chose the mentor.

Today, we hear people in companies say that they are part of a mentoring program or the company is implementing a mentoring program.  These programs are usually designed with significant structure.  The structure could include a routine schedule, specific goals for improvement, measurements of progress, and in most cases, the mentor is a person in management within the company sponsoring the process.  In most situations, the mentor is assigned to the mentee.

So, which is the right way?

Tough call. There are benefits to both.

For self-driven people, they naturally search for others that they admire and find ways to talk with them and learn from them. This is not a formal process, however, it is focused. That self-driven person will find several mentors during their life, learning from several at the same time for different reasons.

For the person who aspires to greater things but doesn’t know how to go about it, they may need a more formal process. Sometimes identifying who to talk to is all it takes to get the mentor/mentee relationship started.  Others will need the discipline of goals and schedules to help them progress.  This process looks a lot like coaching.

Either way, taking on a mentor requires that there be initiative. You must ask questions and challenge your way of thinking and the opinions of others. Become curious or inquisitive, not judgmental or critical. To have good mentors requires that you be a good mentee. Being a good mentor…well that’s another article.

We would love to hear your mentor/mentee experiences.  Send us an email at or comment on this post telling us about the person or people who have/are making a difference in your life!  Send your stories to us!

Did you know that millennials are looking for mentors? No, really! Read about it here.