Mentorship is not just about business

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Students at Clayton's Mechanics that Evans mentors
Students at Clayton’s Mechanics that Evans mentors

As I was growing up, I would often be asked ‘who is your mentor?’ I did not know what to say. The criteria my friends and peers used to select mentors was unknown to me. I would just pick a random name of a known figure and say it. That got me thinking, what is the difference between a mentor and a role model or are they the same? As I tried to figure that out, my day to day engagements made it hard for me to come to a conclusion sooner.

I did not see myself as a mentor. You cannot be what you don’t even understand. There was this man, who claimed he was my mentor for the longest time. The value he added to my life was literally none existent. He just said it for the sake. Then came that time when my work got highlighted by the media, got new followers on twitter and new friends on face book. Several said ‘you are my mentor’ others asked me to mentor them and that is when I chose to get to know what exactly mentorship is and if it was something I was capable of doing.

I can across the definition of Mentoring as a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)”

I have some relevant knowledge, wisdom and experience but, do I have what it take to share it with the mentee? Do I have the skill and time to do so? Do I have enough to share? Well, I got the privilege of officially opening a seed of hope arm claytons mechanic whose aim is to empower the boy child from disadvantaged backgrounds with mechanical knowledge which they can use to make a living from. After the opening, one thing led to another and I found myself mentoring the boys every fortnight. It has been 3 years now and I not only mentor the boys only but also the girls.

In my mentoring quest, I have come to learn that as much as in this context I am sharing from my business background and experience, hoping that they will be more successful in their ventures and not make the mistakes I did. As I have always said, experience is the best teacher but I do not have to seat back and wait for you to fall to know what not to do next time. I can tell you my story and you will be more informed in your ‘walk’ hence preventing you from falling.

There so many things which make someone successful and it is the small things if I may add. I can teach you a few business tricks but if you as a person are not groomed, it will not bore any fruits. It is all about the whole person, if I teach you how to be a successful business person but then you do not know the importance of hygiene, etiquette, just to mention but a few, your business may kick off and if it will, it will not go far. That said, mentors should work towards preparing the whole person for the world out there, they should also be very careful how they mentor. Mentoring is a process where knowledge is shared not formulas dictated. What I mean is I may have done A, B and C to be where I am today but it doesn’t mean if you do it you will succeed. Mentors should open up the minds of the mentees so that they are able to make decisions by themselves from a more informed point of view.

We all want to see those who we mentor excel, in this context their business but, how you mentor will determine how long you will see your mentee excel. If you concentrate on the business element only, you will have to go back to the drawing board sooner and what is the need of putting off a fire which you could have prevented from starting in the first place?

Republished from vancemuriu.com

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