‘I thank thee Lord for holding my hand and guiding me on.’ Such short, sweet and sincere prayers are oft said and oft heard. This is basically an ode of thanks to the almighty power who has found ways and means to help us plod on well in our sojourn of life. He has given us the people who handhold us. And he has blessed us with the ability to listen and dwell upon what is told to us.
Even in the workplace and in life in general, there is a trend since a few years to have such a leading force, a mentor so to say. This nuance is particularly seen in management B-schools and in corporate organizations as well. A mentor is assigned, even formally in certain cases, to a person who has recently joined the organization. Or in the event of a B-school, mentors are senior students or faculty members who ease up the process of a recent entrant adjusting to a new environment.
Says Pooja Sehgal, a corporate employee, “this process really acts as an icebreaker of sorts for all newbies since everyone wishes for someone who would simplify adjustment to new surroundings.” “One can even say that a mentor is like a friend, philosopher and a guide, all rolled up into one.”
What is best is mentors can even be asked for simple things like please tell me the way to the office canteen, or can you show me the way to operate this photocopier? On a more serious note, they really are your 3 A.M. friends who one can call up even when not in office to catch up on the minutes of an important meeting you have missed.
In some which way, one can even say that a mentor-mentee relation is a symbiotic one. The mentee obviously gains an advantage over his or her peers if they have someone egging them on, selflessly. However, even the mentor gains an edge since he or she gets to become a tutor of sorts to polish up his or her leadership skills. From either side, it is a very delicate thread which binds two people and makes them perform better than they otherwise would, without each other’s support and trust.
Emphasizes Sana Marwaha, a young student, “such partnerships are a regular feature in some colleges and believe you and I, they actually are good confidence level boosters.”
What is actually important is that the fine line between coaching and mentoring be understood. The former is an activity-oriented function in which the coach seeks to better his or her coachee’s ability to speak, to write, to be good at a particular job or subject et al. In mentoring, on the flip side, the main objective is to provide a wholesome environment to a mentee for his or her overall personality to flower up and shine on.
Also, coaching is for a short term, till the end result is achieved or for a given duration of time for a course to begin and end in. A mentor, though, is a person who is with you on a long-term basis, maybe even for decades, if the relationship survives the rough and tough test of time.
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