Avalon again 2005

Avalon again 2005

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Express Your Opinion!" or "Why Mentoring?

Since the two workshops on “mentoring” that I attended lately, a single thought has kept my mind constantly busy. In fact, what I have been thinking about in the last few days has been a discussion around the purpose, nature and use of "mentoring" “inside” and “outside” the work-place.
More precisely, I have been concerned with what indeed is the single ultimate thing that makes “mentoring” worthy and useful for both the “mentor” and the “mentee”. Throughout this particular blog, I will reveal how I think “mentoring” is useful for the “mentee” in particular.
Thus, I remember that one of our speakers mentioned that a single thing that makes “mentoring” useful is to teach one how to “express his (her) opinion”. In fact, I believe that this is extremely important skill that people need to develop nowadays. “Expressing your own opinion” could be sometimes dangerous today, since you have to deal with social stereotypes and commonly-accepted rules and norms in a given (particular) society. In this regard, individuality and independence could be often judged from a particular cultural perspective, which could often lead to a mis-perception of who this person really is and what his (her) values, goals, and principles are.
And yet, how do you overcome this “cultural divide” and stand up brave to “express your own opinion”? In fact, I think this should be really the essential part and purpose of the process of “mentoring”. In one of my previous comments on Ijeoma’s blog on “mentoring”, I stated that the ultimate purpose of “mentoring” is indeed to establish a close relationship between the “mentor” and the “mentee” in an informal and non-conventional way.
In fact, I believe that this relationship should develop far beyond the professional, academic or university-oriented domain and bring both persons to a relationship where they both know each others’ likes, dislikes, goals and interests. I still remember what my supervisor at Honours level in International Relations said once before. He mentioned that throughout the teaching process, I and he should be related as if he was my “parent” and I was his “child”. And indeed, the process of “mentoring”, “coaching”, “teaching” or “supervising” should involve a close collaboration between both the “mentor” and the “mentee”, and them working together towards the same goal and end.
Above all, your “mentor” should not just be your practical guider or coach, but your adviser in life-oriented matters and decisions, your navigator in choices that shape your future and lead you towards the execution of your dreams, goals and actions. In short, your “mentor” is the one that gives you direction in life and maintains this direction throughout the process of your up-grading and development.
Your “mentor” is also your navigator in the process of your intellectual and professional development; he provides you with knowledge and assists you in the quest of applying this knowledge to the "world of work" and other various practical tasks. Your “mentor” is also the one that guides you in the process of drawing conclusions about life after you have acquired the knowledge you needed about yourself and the “world out there”. Thus, your “mentor” is the one that assists you in the process of formulating your opinion and expressing it in a given situation afterwards. Therefore, he (she) is also the one that teaches you skills that remain with you forever and thus he (she) performs a leading role in the process of your personality development.
In other words, “expressing one’s opinion or the skill of “assertiveness” should be an essential part of the process of “mentoring”. At the end of the day, the "mentee" should be able to face the awards and challenges of expressing his (her) opinion to the wider audience "out there". And this is what I believe the process of "mentoring" is all about!


Susan Arthur said...

I agree Valentin, a big part of mentoring is teaching others to express themselves assertively but also to build up confidence.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Valentin, I like your view that mentoring should evolve in an unconventional and informal way. That is the sort of mentoring I am familiar with. In my culture, because the elder naturally takes on the role of an adviser, as one grows there are often one or more central figures that guide you through life. People you can always turn to when you hit the proverbial 'brick wall'. But of course there is the other more formal type of mentoring which is practical for a more formal environment like an office.

However, this does not stop the mentor/mentee from developing a close relationship through the process.

In the end they are the ones that determine how and what form the relationship will take.

Thomas Blaser said...

Perhaps we have to learn more to trust our gut feeling and develop good instincts. I mean we often try so hard to please others or to live up to the things we were taught in school and by elders. At times this is done at the expense of following our own understanding of people and situations. I mean our senses, our body and our perceptions are often neglected.

Adam N. Mukendi said...

Thanks Stallion,
Your are totally right.
At my view, with a little foulishness, a Mentor is like Menthol. We use menthol for good breath, as well as a Mentor has to help you to clean your mind and make it brighter and positive. Menthol help us to not fell shy for bad breath-and so our Mentor should work at building our self-esteem. Mentor or Menthol has in common for me "ment" or "mint" therefor I think it should be a matter of natural habilities.
Forgive my foolishness