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Mentoring is one important element of professional development that is often overlooked. Talk to fifty successful people and many will tell that they benefitted from a mentor on their journey to success. Success always involve inter-generation transfer of information, Mentorship is no different, although mentors and mentees can be in the same generation. Though the value of mentorship has been recognized, there remains a paucity of forums for people seeking mentors to find one.

WINN understands the power of mentorship both as an instrument of self and societal development.  One goal of WINN is to make available a process by which potential mentors and mentees can connect and begin what is often a transformative journey for both the mentor and the mentee.  Over the next several months, WINN intends to explore the subject of mentorship in an in-depth way.  WINN intends to look at mentorship from various perspective such as: cross-cultural, business, privacy, ethics, power dynamic, social engagement, inter-generational, etc. WINN starts this discussion with a general look at mentorship what it means, its benefits, and how to select a mentor. In this regard, WINN caught up with Novlett Hughes-Tate, a long-time nurse who herself has served as a mentor and has agreed to be part of WINN’s mentorship panel.  WINN interviewed Ms Hughes and asked him about mentorship. What follows are Mr. Minors responses to WINN’s questions.

What does mentorship mean to you?

Mentorship is an ongoing process of learning and discovery in which two or more poeple help develop each other. It is a reciprocal relationship.

Who would you say needs a mentor and why?

We all all need to be mentored because it is part of the learning process. I as a mentor teach you what I know. The mentee teaches me on changes in life, how changes affect people and helps to broaden the mentor’s perspective. Mentoring provides people with hindsight and clarity in the journey of life.  In a sense mentoring is cathartic for the mentor. It is a way to motivate change. It can help adaptation. It is also a means to maintain personal accountability. As one mentors a person one has to think about being consistent, walking the talk. It is no good to give advice to someone that you yourself have not lived or are prepared to live.

What are the challenges in finding a mentor?

Certain careers people aree not mentoring. Availability and willingness of people. Burn out, some folks are just tired. Time pressures. Society has become so complex. There is so much demands on our time, both for prospective mentors and mentee.

Are there particular groups of people whom you believe could benefit most from mentorship?

I do not think that there are access issues in mentorship.  Youth, young professionals, people from low socio economic, new immigrants, background and anyone who aspires to bigger and better things.

Ordlies physicist, doctors, etc. Had to step back. They are more of an expert. They need society specific information to get back to where they once were. I remember working in a hospital

From your perspective, what are the top five benefits of having a mentor?

Friendship may result

Resource

Knowledge transfer

Network

Self assessment and accountability

Intellectual Stimulation

What is the difference between mentorship and networking?

Yes, there is a difference between mentorship and networking. Well, let’s see, what is the difference. Networking is just connecting along a line of commonality. Mentorship is more relational. Networking is causual. Pone can be a part of a network and not know much about the people with whom she or he interacts whereas mentoring is about life so that it is necessary going to involve a depth of knowledge of the person’s life.

Do you see a difference between mentorship and coaching and if so what is it?

I believe that mentorship and coaching are different, although for some people, they are interchangeable terms. Mentorship is person focussed; coaching is outcome focussed, often job performance or skills development. Accordingly, mentors help their mentees with life while coaching focuses on the job or a job. I do not wish to push this too far but I think that usually coaches have some form of power over the people they coach – position power, for example. Successful mentoring relationships require power with each other. Generally a coach is assigned to a person. In mentorship, it is a self-selecting process.

What are some of the factors that a person should use to select a mentor?

I believe that the biggest factor is gut-level trust. Mentors and the people they mentor select each other, regardless of who initiates the process. Trust is vital. The two people should be alike each other enough that they have points of common bond. On the other hand, they should be different enough from each other to challenge each other. Mentoring is a wonderful example of what I call the Zanana Akande Rule: If two people in a relationship always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

What are some of the factors that a mentor should consider before agreeing to mentor a person?

Where on is in her or his life

Expectations and what they are wanting

Cannot be one-sided

What are some of the issues in mentorship from the mentors perspective?

Expectation

Goals

What are some of the issues in mentorship from the perspective of the mentee?

I believe the mentee must ask himself the same questions as the mentor asks. Accordingly, the same issues arise as I described in the question about the mentor.

What are the five most important current trends in mentorship?

Dollars

Just think about monetary rewards

Sloppy. Difficult to provide corrective action in the abstract

Care about paying bills and travel

Lack of focus on the long term

Attitude—lacking gratitude.

WINN Thanks Ms Tate for giving so graciously of herself and sharing his thoughts in a cursory way on this very important topic of mentorship.