MENTORING AS AN INSTITUTION
BY MARK & SHARON IGHILE
Mentoring is a developmental and empowering tool which is critical to the need of our contemporary society. It can be fully understood in the context of other related concepts that embody its morphological existence such as mentor, mentee as well as the connection between mentoring and coaching.
A mentor is a wise and trusted teacher, coach or counsellor. He/she takes up the responsibility of teaching, advising or rendering help in one form or the other to a less experienced and often younger person. A mentor can be an influential senior sponsor or supporter. A mentee or protégé is a less experienced and often younger person, under the tutelage and guidance of a mentor. He/she understudies an influential senior sponsor or supporter within a defined mentoring relationship.
Mentoring interaction takes place in stages and phases. Scholars like Mentor Networknet have suggested at least four different phases critical to the process of tutelage :
The first phase is preparation for mentorship. This is the stage where the aspiring mentors are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the quality and competence expected of a mentor. The second phase is the negotiation of the mentorship relationship. Here, mentoring partners are expected to reach an agreement on the learning goals, content and process of the relationship. The third phase is the facilitation of learning, advocacy and professional networking. This stage takes longer time to complete and the success of this phase is hinged on mutual trust and respect. The fourth, which is the last phase, is the closure of the mentoring relationship. Unlike the above, this stage is short and can be both challenging and rewarding. This is where both the mentor and mentee evaluate and reflect on their learning procedures and explore how to maximize the new learning acquired.
The implication of all this is that mentoring can no longer be taken as a product of mere rhetorical existence. It has ceased to be a ceremonial occurrence in a relationship of unequal stratification. Mentoring must be scientific and organic in concept but flexible in practice. Put simply, the institution of mentoring does not have a credible alternative. The nearest to it on the reverse swift is the destitution of potential champions.
While it is widely accepted that the youths are the participants of the present and the leaders of tomorrow, there seems to be a dearth of life coaches for the emerging generation. In other words, the required inspiration from quality leadership has been put on the strain. The plague of leadership delinquency of the adult is fast encroaching on the paths of the youth. Unfortunately, the younger ones now interpret such delinquency as a leadership norm.
There is therefore the need for an institution with the aim of bridging generational gap and preparing the youth for quality leadership lifestyle.
An institution is a structure or mechanism of order governing the behaviour of a set of individuals within a given context. It is a phenomenon with a purpose and long- standing identity. It is an established organisation, a recognised place where practices are backed up by law for the general good of all. And this is what mentoring should be!
The institution of mentoring is an answer to a long-awaited need. Our youths are growing into a culture of syndicated lawlessness, unbridled freedom and misconceived lifestyle. In the various churches and institutions of learning, this malady is brewing in an alarming proportion. However, with God’s guidance and able leadership in the Board, the Mentoring Institute, Nigeria will make the much-anticipated difference!
Welcome to the strategic school of the moment.
…Please visit www. Leadergreat. wordpress.com