Mentoring, from The Odyssey to reality.

Mentoring is the practice that allows the development of knowledge and potential through the guidance, experience and wisdom of the mentor. The best mentors oversee teaching and orienting, motivating the development of skills and capacities, so that the possibilities of successfully reaching goals increase exponentially.

This way, this is a practical methodology based on learning from the mentor’s experience, who transfers knowledge in an efficient and organised way. It can tap into hidden depths of every person’s potential, sometimes unexplored or underdeveloped, can now be channelled through the support of a mentor.

However, mentoring is far from new. It has always existed, and the term comes from a chapter in Homer’s Odyssey in which Odysseus prepares to go to fight in the Trojan War and trusts his son Telemachus, being the Prince of Ithaca, to the care and guidance of his unconditional friend, whose name is “Mentor.”

Having been assigned a difficult role, this friend was able to become Telemachus’s tutor and guide, without stealing Odysseus’s role as a father. Mentor was an experienced wise man and he was rightfully chosen to develop the skills of the king-to-be. Through his experiences, he was able to inspire and nourish his disciple.

Leaving the epic poem aside, and linking this to our daily work life, the mentor can become a role model working within the structure of an organisation to demonstrate the attitudes and behaviours that are required of people with high potential and to make sure they have successful careers within the organisation.

In this sense, the mentoring practice can bring countless benefits at a group and individual level, such as:

  1. Increased productivity: The practice of mentoring in the organisation helps to motivate the employees, both the apprentice and the mentor, and thus helps increase to the company’s productivity.
  2. Development of knowledge and skills: Mentoring is a way of managing an employee’s knowledge and skills in a controlled manner.
  3. Retaining talent: With this practice, companies are not only looking for developing talent, but also to retain it.
  4. Leadership development: Mentoring is a practice that brings benefits not only to apprentices, but also to tutors or mentors, which may later be useful to move up within the company.

Every organisation can offer development of their teams through mentoring, a promoter of challenges and experience-based learning.