Mentors have been a key part of my personal and professional development from a very early age. Here are a few thoughts regarding the role of a mentor.
I think it’s important to note that mentors can not be assigned. They are typically not managers. A mentor is an individual which the apprentice seeks out, has a deep respect for, and in most cases that I’ve seen, shares a common foundation or value system.
To be affective, the apprentice needs to be passionate about learning from the mentor, put his or her ego aside, and embrace the lessons which can be learned. Typically the lessons are taught by living an aspect of life together (i.e. working together) and over a long period of time. It is the experiences, not the discussions that are most critical and it’s equally important that the apprentice learn to apply the lessons in a manner that makes them his own as opposed to take everything on the surface.
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors in my own life. How about you? What characteristics do you look for in a mentor? Do you find it difficult to find one?