Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but they must have a certain area of expertise.
Techniques As the focus of mentorship is to develop the whole person, the techniques used are broad and require wisdom to be appropriately used. A 1995 study of mentoring techniques most commonly used in business found that the five most commonly used techniques among mentors were:
- Accompanying: *the mentor participates in the learning process alongside the learner and supports them. *- Sowing: the mentor gives initially unclear or unacceptable advice to the learner that has value in a given situation. - Catalyzing: the mentor chooses to plunge the learner right into change to provoke a different way of thinking, a change in identity or a re-ordering of values. - Showing: the mentor teaches the learner by demonstrating a skill or activity. - Harvesting: the mentor assesses and defines the utility and value of the learner's skills.
Different techniques may be used by mentors according to the situation and the mindset of the mentee.There are different types of mentors, such as:
- Multiple mentors: A new trend is for a learner to have multiple mentors. Having more than one mentor can expand the learner's knowledge, as different mentors may have different strengths.
- Profession or trade mentor: This is someone who is currently in the trade or profession the learner is entering. They know the trends, important changes, and new practices that newcomers should know to stay at the top of their career. A mentor like this would be someone a learner can discuss ideas with and also provides the learner the opportunity to network with other individuals in the trade or profession.
- Industry mentor: This is someone who does not only focus on the profession and can give insight on the industry as a whole, such as research, development, or key changes.
*- Organization mentor: *Politics in the organizations are constantly changing. It is important to be knowledgeable about the values, strategies, and products that are within the organisation, and when they change. An organization mentor can give clarity when needed, for example, on missions and strategies.
*Work process mentor: *This mentor can cut through unnecessary work, explain the "ins and outs" of projects and day to day tasks, and eliminate unnecessary things in the learner's work day. This mentor can help finish tasks quickly and efficiently.
Technology mentor: Technology has been rapidly improving and becoming more a part of day-to-day transactions within companies. A technology mentor can help with technical breakdowns, advise on systems that may work better than what the learner is currently using, and coach them in using new technology.