Mentorship is a personal development a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor has a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn. The person in receipt of mentorship may be referred to as a protégé (male), a protégée (female), an apprentice or, in recent years, a mentee. “Mentoring” is a process that always involves communication and example and is relationship based.
The importance of a mentor
Most of us know about the great artist Michelangelo. But few know about Bertoldo di Giovanni, his teacher. There’s a debate in art circles about who was the greater—Michelangelo, the pupil, or Bertoldo, the teacher who produced him. However, the important thing is that someone mentored him and without the mentor would we have the iconic painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and countless contributions from Michelangelo? Without a mentor in his life he would have contributed to the art world but not nearly the volume due to the shortened span of maximum release of his gift due to having to learn through personal experience. Giovanni shorten the learning curve of Michelangelo and released him to a longer field of contribution. Without the benefit of a mentor it shortens the field of contribution and elongates the preparatory experiences.
The value of a mentorship program is invaluable. It shortens the distance between the present and the goal for the mentee. What took the mentor 10 years to learn something through experience can now be imparted to a mentee and shorten the development by years. This will accelerate their capability in depositing more into the next generation that follows them. Accelerating knowledge gives the opportunity to build higher and greater in the future instead of always having to reinvent the wheel. If every generation has to go back through what the previous generation went through then no progress will ever be experienced. Mentorship is not for the purpose of circumventing the process of development but to carry the baton from the previous spot achieved by the prior generation.
Dr. Reuben Egolf