Exploring the Mentoring Culture in the Work Environment


Understanding the symbiotic relationship between a mentee and a mentor.

In the work-life culture, the mentor-mentee relationship is thought to be one of the most productive phases of an individual.  As a result, mentoring has emerged as a system where a mentor’s role is supposed to give advice devoid of commitment and connect to the mentee’s actual goals. According to a Harvard report, the mentor’s role is to teach, guide and help shape the professional growth and learning of the mentee and to serve as a positive role model. Whereas, the role of the mentee is to seek guidance and constructive feedback on his professional development and career goals. To succeed in the business environment, it is imperative that the relationship between both be useful and beneficial to either of them.

To quote, John C. Crosby, ‘Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction’. Hence, mentor and mentee must have clarity on their responsibilities to each other and the mentoring relationship. Both need to understand that nurturing a mentoring relationship demands thought, time and commitment. Although one cannot deny that mentoring is an incredibly valuable experience essential for growth and development, he should also realize that in this relation, one party cannot function without the other. The main takeaways should be to build trust, set goals and achieve them through creative problem-solving. A mentee should avoid being passive; he should cultivate the relationship, seek out advice from a mentor when required as the experience of a mentor is always invaluable and helpful to young emerging professionals.

According to an article in Forbes, mentors can offer support, accountability and can also be used as a sounding board. They can help set boundaries, and they can also give the unfiltered objective truth. This relationship is not only valuable for the mentee but can also be very useful for the mentor. Mentors should encourage mentees to think beyond their mental blocks and not feel challenged nor threatened when the mentee’s ideas do not complement their own. Apart from viewing it as an opportunity to cultivate their leadership goals, they can gain insights and learn from different perspectives of the future members of the profession.

For a mentee, it beneficial to have a team of mentors who come from diverse backgrounds, so that he can have a rounded knowledge and advice from various outlooks. He should look for mentors who can help bridge the gaps in his skill set. It is also important to note that mentees should not only seek advice and suggestions; they ought to listen to it and evaluate it as per their career goals. This because a mentor’s job is not to make decisions for the mentees, but to provide them with an experienced point of view to help them shape and make their own decisions. Further, a mentor-mentee relationship is a never-ending process; it can continue as long as the career curve requires.

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