Definition Mentor According to legend, Mentor is the name of the person to whom Odysseus (a.k.a.

Ulysses) entrusted the care of his son, Telemachus, when he set out on those famous wanderings of his that we now call an ³odyssey´ and which took him, among other places, to the Trojan Wars. Mentor was Odysseus¶ wise and trusted counsellor as well as tutor to Telemachus. Myth has it that the goddess Athena would assume Mentor¶s form for the purpose of giving counsel to Odysseus but, for many centuries now, the goddess has been unavailable for comment to confirm or dis-confirm this rumour. At any rate, Mentor¶s name ² with a lower-case ³m´ ² has passed into our language as a shorthand term for wise and trusted counsellor and teacher. There are many perspectives on the definition of mentoring, especially since the relatively recent popularity of personal and professional coaching. Traditionally, mentoring might have been described as the activities conducted by a person (the mentor) for another person (the mentee) in order to help that other person to do a job more effectively and/or progress in his or her career. The mentor was probably someone who had ³been there, done that´ before. A mentor might use a variety of approaches, for example, coaching, training and counselling. Today, there seems to be much ongoing discussion and debate about the definitions and differences regarding coaching and mentoring. Mentors must agree clear objectives. Mentors should typically undertake an assignment over an agreed period (this may increase if required, and with the agreement of both parties). After the first meeting with a Mentor, everyone should have a clear understanding of the ground rules for the relationship and what needs to be achieved during the Mentoring period. I recommend that these objectives are written down in a clear and concise statement to assist both you and your Mentor to remain focused on the relationship and what needs to be achieved during the agreed period. You should prepare for each meeting, deciding in advance what you wish to discuss and why. Providing your Mentor with an agenda in advance will help optimise the time you have and will also help to ensure positive action from each meeting. If you need to deviate from the agree needs this is the time to do it.
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Your Mentor will challenge you and your company to reach new height. You have chosen to use the Mentor because you believe you can benefit from the advice and expertise of someone who has ³been there, done that´. Often your Mentor will challenge you, stimulate your thought processes and even cause you to question decisions you have made.

You must be prepared to accept constructive critical comments; to listen and evaluate new ideas; to answer sometimes uncomfortable questions? Can you be open and honest about your strengths and weaknesses? If the answer is ³yes´, then you are open to accepting the advice and suggestions of your Mentor and to developing a good working relationship for the benefit of you and your company. The Mentor should give you flexibility and control. The Mentor will help to identify and overcome obstacles to future growth. If you have a number of issues, for example in both finance and production, and need different skills to overcome these issues, you may need more than one Mentor to get involved in an assignment. In summary, you have both flexibility and control throughout the process.

Confidentiality The most successful relationships are those which are based on mutual openness and trust. If the Mentor is to give you the best possible advice and assistance, he/she will need to know all the facts and background to you and your company. Remember that your Mentor will also need to feel that he/she can trust you with confidences about their own business experience. Every Mentor should sign a strict confidentiality agreement so you can be assured that all discussions and correspondence between you, your Mentor and the Board remain confidential. Feedback The Mentor will provide the Board with reports on the progress of the assignment against the agreed objectives. He/she may also ask a Board Staff Member to contact you if specific relevant matters arise. Money ideally a Mentor should come from a reliable source preferable a recommended source. This can be through your legal advisors, your accountants or a local business club you might belong to. In my opinion and a non Celtic Tiger type environment you have to be careful about money if the Mentor is costly then the line between Consultancy and Mentoring will be broken. The Mentors I work with want to help companies and costs do have to be met but not at Consultancy rates. Mentors will not make decisions for you they will help YOU arrive at a decision but it will be you that ultimately decides. Here is my look at what Coaching does in a behavioural form. Coaching Is all together is different Mentoring typically will take place over a specified period. This period of time will be agreed as to how long it will take to complete the task (say help with a business plan). Coaching will stay with you as a permanent position such as coaching a football or Rugby team. Coaches will typically specialise in the field they know or like. Track records will be in that sphere. I have looked at coaching in a different way and put myself in that position. The easiest way to show my opinion and its up for discussion is to show Good Coaching Behaviour and Bad Coaching behaviour some examples. Good Coaching Behaviour Loves the game Cares about athletes Calls athletes to nobility Focuses on excellence in fundamentals Uses intensity to build and encourage Coaching Behaviour Loves to win Cares about wins and losses Calls athletes stupid Develops the showy before the solid Uses intensity to degrade and shame

Speaks well of athletes to others Shakes hands with the athletes Encourages progress Uses the coach position constructively Is good at support Talks to athletes directly Says ³We¶ll work on that´ Honours athletes¶ past coaches Supports the team With wins, boldly esteems the athletes With losses, brutally examines self Expects 100 percent from athletes Gives 100 percent of self Gives consistent message to athletes Consultant

Speaks poorly of athletes to others Shakes head at the athletes Encourages favourites Uses the coach position to tear down Is good at sarcasm Talks about athletes behind their backs Says ³What was that?!´ Mocks athletes past coaches Supports own ego With wins, boldly esteems self With losses, brutally examines athletes Expects applause from athletes Talks about how much he/she gives Gives erratic message to athletes

A consultant is usually an expert or a professional in a specific field and has a wide knowledge of the subject matter. A consultant usually works for a consultancy firm and engages with multiple and changing clients. Thus, clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, and may purchase only as much service from the outside consultant as desired. A Consultant will have strict terms of reference and will cost a lot of money. Strategy consultants are common in upper management in many industries. There are also independent consultants who act as interim executives with decision-making power under corporate policies or statutes. They may sit on specially constituted boards or committees. Consultants work at client places on behalf of a consultancy or billing company. Do I agree with consultants depends on the brief sometimes the brief has been ill thought out or thrust on an organisation because they have not played by the rules. This will cost you. Final note A Good Coach reads this and reflects on his or her style and motivations. A Bad Coach reads this and responds with contempt and cynicism. Gut check time. A Mentor should become very quickly a friend and confidant you should be able to discuss anything with them.

A Consultant steals time, cost you lots of money and will take the knowledge with him when the brief is finished. The whole area of helping people whether in business or taking part in sport is to understand the needs of the people? Listening is almost the top requirement understanding what is being said to you is even more important.

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