Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship between two individuals where one individual usually the mentor, offers guidance and advice through training, counseling and coaching to another individual who is usually less experienced and knowledgeable the mentee (Brounstein, 2000). The process of mentorship is continuous and involves the exchange of information between the mentor and mentee all in an effort to equip an individual with the capacity to perform better at his or her job or progress in her/his career. A good mentor knows where to start and has a deep understanding of the problem at hand based on his or her past experiences and the wealth of knowledge he has (Eigenmann, 2001).
A good case scenario will be an individual who has been kicked out of university for failing to pass his university examination and failing twice. The most important question that a mentor asks is what is the problem? Could it be that the individual is not interested, is there an underlying problem like problems at home, peer pressure etc. The reason could be a combination of any of these factors or a single one of them. The role of a mentor is to offer relevant, practical advice and critical support to the mentee in order for him to overcome the problem (Fletcher, 2000). A good mentor sets a road map which consists of small and achievable targets that can be easily evaluated for progress and advice given (Harrington, & Terry, 2008). The mentor has to predetermine the standards and benchmarks against which he or she evaluates for objectives achievement and effectiveness of the advice given. Again key performance indicators are predetermined and reevaluated every time the mentor feels that the mentee has achieved the set targets.
A good success and rational criteria for evaluation consists of performance indicators, predetermined standards by which to assess whether objectives have been met and an array of benchmarks as a measure of effectiveness. Some of key performance indicators include: personal satisfaction by the mentee with what he has achieved, good academic performance, mentee starts to have future plans with his school work and career, engages the knowledge gained from school in real life situations, develops interest in his field and is aware of the current developments in his field of study. The effectiveness of the intervention will be evaluated by use of certain benchmarks that include: Self esteem of the mentee, his confidence levels, self perception of mentee, his perception towards school and his studies etc. In this case the benchmark will be an individual who has the capacity to talk to any person at any time with confidence and without fear. This individual has start up a conversation with anyone anytime is influential to other people. Objectives that are achievable can be set e.g. to enroll for a degree program he likes, to perform well during in his academics, to enroll in a university that is affordable, to improve self esteem and confidence, . Standards set will basically be evaluating whether this has been achieved. It is critical that all these key indicators, benchmarks and objectives be set because they form the framework for the evaluation of progress of the mentee and indicate when a next decision is to be made (Clutterbuck, & Meginson, 2005).
As any mentor worth his salt will tell you, you have to know the etiology of the problem before any form of action is taken. This kind of information is obtained from the mentee through a series of questions that may span several weeks or just in a single session aimed at making the mentee open up (Colley, 2003). In this case, a pre-existing good relationship between the mentor and the mentee was of great value as the mentee was comfortable with sharing information that he considered very personal. The mentor sought to know what the mentee thought was the cause of his inability to perform well in school that resulted in his expulsion from the school. The mentee cited a major lack of interest, too much work, unfriendly lecturers, and inability to adapt to the environment. The mentee sought to know whether there was any other problem by asking questions on family background, peer pressure and drug use. The mentee stated that the family was supportive of him and were never a problem. He also mentioned that he had never used drugs but had a problem with some of his peers. He mentioned that the peers looked down upon him for his poor performance in school and eventual expulsion from school. This made him find it very difficult to make friends in school and this frustrated him further. He felt that he was so stupid and lacked the ability to even face them especially in the school. This led to his continuous deterioration and poor performance. This continued poor performance and deterioration resulted in the loss of self esteem and confidence. It was by now clear what was ailing the mentee. The mentor then asks if he would like to go back to school, and what was his attitude towards school was. The mentee was affirmative that he wanted to go back to school. He also mentioned that he felt school wasn’t the place to be, but thought that he had no choice. That he just had to go to school because everyone around him expected him to and he did not want to let them down. This was good progress for the first session.
The mentor then sought to know what the mentee’s interests, talents, passion were. The mentee’s main interest was in nursing thought he mentioned that he also loves listening to music and swimming. The mentor sought to know whether if the mentee was a given a chance today join a university and start a fresh would he do it ? The mentee was reluctant to join the university but thought he might as well just do it. He was asked then if nursing was his preferred choice degree or if he had any other degree he would enroll in. The mentee mentioned that nursing was the only degree he thought that his brain could handle and that he has always been interested since his childhood to become a nurse. Then the mentor sought to know why he took another career direction. The Mentee mentioned that his parents insisted that he do a computer science course so that he could take over the parents business which was computer related. At this point he mentor noted a lack of support from the parents of the mentee and an unwillingness to support the mentee achieve his dream of becoming a nurse. The mentor made arrangements to meet the mentees parents and give advice that would be in the interest of the mentee. The session ended after a period of one and a half hours with an agreement to search for universities that offered nursing, were affordable, gave awards or scholarships to students who perform well all in an effort to minimize the cost of education. The next meeting was scheduled for the next weekend and with the mentee’s parents present.
On the next weekend, the mentee arrived in company of his parents and made a formal introduction. I informed the parents of the problem that their son had and gave them ample time to express their feelings in response. The mentee’s mother was moved by the son’s problem and mentioned that she was not aware that the son’s poor performance was related to being forced to take a degree program that he had no interest in and was under intense pressure to perform. The mentee’s father claimed that the mentee was his only son and was looking at who will take care of the family business when he can no longer be in charge. The mentor acknowledged these responses and informed the parents that their son lost his confidence and self esteem as a result of the poor performance he had in school and the challenges he faced arising from his peers who looked down upon him for failure to perform well in school and also being expelled from school. The mentor went ahead to inform them that the only way their son could perform well in school and essentially recover his self esteem and confidence , was if he was allowed to make his choice regarding his career path and took a degree in something he had an interest in and allowed to pursue it. The mentee’s mother supported the idea and promised to support the son in whatever he chooses to do. The father was a bit skeptical but felt that he would support him any way, if whatever he chooses to do made him happy. The mentor then informed the parents that their son (mentee), was interested in becoming a nurse and that he has always wanted to become a nurse. The parents were happy to hear that and promised to support him in the best way possible. Although the parents supported the mentee, the father of the mentee was a bit reluctant and requested to be given time to think about it. The mentor agreed to his request but informed them that there was an objective set to identify a university that offered nursing degree and scholarships that may aid in the fee payment. The parents had no problem with that and the mentee was also happy for once his parents were going to allow him to do a degree course on something that he liked. The next meeting with the mentee was set for the next week and the mentee given the week to look for the most appropriate university.
During the following weekend, the mentee arrived and was in a positive mood. The mentor could feel the energy in the mentee’s voice. He was walking straight and was generally happy. The mentor was concerned, why the sudden change. The mentee mentioned that he had identified a university that was willing to admit him to a nursing course. He went further to state that they could not offer him a scholarship but if he performed well in his studies, then he may be lucky to be awarded an annual fee waiver for being the best student. He also mentioned that he feared that the father might not support his decision but that morning he actually gave him his full support. The idea of breaking down large tasks into small tasks with easily achievable goals and objectives set, is a very useful approach of tackling large issues that may appear insurmountable (Hay, 1995). The mentor noted a positive change in the mentee’s self esteem and attitude. The mentor sought to know when the mentee was going to start school. The mentee mentioned that in fact he was starting the next week and couldn’t wait. The mentor wanted to know if he was anxious and how he felt about being in school again.
The mentee mentioned that he was happy to be able to go back to school but feared that there was going to be a repeat of what had happened previously. He feared that he may be unable to perform well resulting in his expulsion and or stigmatization by peers for poor performance. The mentor noted a need to assist improve the mentees attitude towards school and eliminate the performance anxiety. The mentor then asked if there any other problems that the mentee feared might arise with him being back in school. The mentee was optimistic that he may be okay and that he will know when he joins the school. At least by now the objectives to identify a suitable university and enrolling for the nursing program had been achieved and this gave a sense of satisfaction to both the mentor and the mentee. The mentor was concerned with the mentees anxiety and his self esteem and confidence levels. They were still rather low. He issued the mentee with a note book and told him to note down anything he felt while at school, in class, interacting with other colleagues, anything he saw that reminded him of this past experience, how he felt to be in a learning institution, how he felt about the teachers. At this point addressing the mentees self esteem and confidence problem was of great importance. It would be the key to unlocking all his potential and recovering all his lost confidence, personality, self esteem and purpose in life. This session was not as long as the previous two it lasted an hour and the mentee was out to go and prepare for school.
After a week in school, the next meeting the mentee had a lot of mixed reactions. The mentee was glad that he had met people who did not brush him of. He mentioned that although he felt that the new people were friendly towards him, he still feared a lot speaking out his mind and also feared that they were going to judge him. He mentioned that the university has also established a mentorship program and anyone was free to join. He mentioned that some teachers were a bit intimidating and that he was not sure how he felt about them. He was however happy that he was finally doing something that he has always wanted to do and that he was finally going to make his dream a reality. The mentor noted that major invention was needed to be able to mitigate the anxiety that the mentee had and also to help him start to regain his confidence and self esteem. Confidence and self esteem are interrelated an increase in one often results in a concurrent increase in the other. Measures taken in order to increase one will often result in a concomitant increase in the other (Fanning, &McKay, 2000). The mentor suggested a series of actions that were practical to the mentee and would yield the kind of self esteem and confidence that the mentee aspired to have. The mentor asked the mentee to list all the good qualities he possesses, abilities and talents. This activity took about ten minutes and the mentee was surprised that he could do so much. He realized that he could indeed do a lot and wondered why he often thought he was useless, stupid and lacked the ability to perform anything well. This mentor noted was the beginning of self realization and actualization of the mentee.
The next task was to find out the activities among his list that he enjoyed doing or participating in. The mentee indentified nursing, swimming as the key activities that he loves participating in. The mentor then advised that the mentee be very enthusiastic about this activities and speak out in any forum that he can get. This was going to give him an opportunity to speak and be heard and because this are activities that he finds pleasure in doing he will most of the time find that people will listen to him because of the passion that he has and in the process his confidence and self esteem will rise. In time he will be able to speak to people on other aspects without fear. The mentor set targets for the mentee for the next week at school. The mentee was to participate in as many activities of the school that related to nursing and swimming. During these activities, he was to take an active role and in the process talk to five people about the event. The next activity was to identify a role model that he had. The mentee had no role model. Then the mentor sought to know whether the mentee had any particular teacher at the university who had achieved something that he had always wanted or any particular nurse that he knows that he admires for the work that she does. The mentee could only remember of one nurse who had treated his dad while at hospital. The mentor advised the mentee that he could take that nurse to be his role model. The role model is a figure that he mentee looks at when evaluating his progress and the role model inspires him in his quest to become a nurse. This inspiration derived from the role model increases his confidence. The mentor felt that that was enough to work on for three weeks consecutively. This session was the longest so fat because it sought to find ways of increasing the mentee’s self esteem and confidence.
The following weekend the mentee reported quite a few things that he felt, liked and disliked. The mentee found it difficult to face people and to talk to them. He gathered confidence to go talk to someone but felt worried that the person he was talking to was going to judge him. He kept trying and did not give up. He managed to speak to seven people on each event. He felt that some people were harsh to him and that really scared him. There were those that were friendly and were really interested in what he had to say. There are others who were indifferent. To begin with the mentor noted that the mentee had surpassed the target. He was also happy that the mentee was making an effort to improve. The mentor advised the mentee to be confident even when he did not feel like and that he should act in a confident manner. He can start by looking into the eyes of the people he is talking to, talking clearly and coherently and having an upright posture. The mentor went further and advised the mentee to take care of himself and to try and look good by eating healthy and correct exercise. This has an effect of putting an individual in a positive mind frame and boost’s his confidence. The mentee was also to be assertive while speaking. He should know what he wants to say and say it with confidence and people will listen. The mentee’s targets were reviewed and the forthcoming week he was to engage in the same activities but this time he was to speak to at least twenty people. He was to be confident and assertive while he spoke. He was also to identify other activities that he could participate in. He was also to start talking to his classmates concerning the course the teachers the new environment.
The following session the mentee reported that he had better responses from the people that he talked to. He realized the importance of talking with confidence and being assertive. Speaking with confidence, being assertive and looking directly into the eye of the person you are talking to increases the overall appearance of the person talking and in most instances the listener is inclined to listen to the person talking (Hermann, 2004). The mentee stated that this time he had spoken to more than thirty people and was somehow happy with his progress. He felt that he was beginning to recover the old self that he used to be before he lost it all. At this point the mentee was still far from being the person who was confident and could start conversations with anyone and any person without fear. The intervention procedures were fruitful but it took time for the mentee to start showing positive growth. The mentor sought to know in general how he felt after talking with the people, were people who scared him, was he facing any challenges, while interacting with new people, did he meet some people that he had talked to previously, and how different was the feeling of talking to a new person from that of talking to someone he met previously. The mentor also sought to know if he had made any friends in his class and how were they relating to him.
The mentee stated that he was a bit scared initially as the crowds were large and with lots of activity going on, but when he saw how people were chatting and just dived in. He also started chatting not caring what anyone was going to say about him and that is what helped him beat the preset target of twenty people to chat with. He was happy that many people were good to him and paid attention to him as he spoke. The mentee was thrilled by the fact that some of the people that he had met in the previous week were happy to meet him again and were even inquiring on how his week has been and showed genuine interest in him. This really made him look forward to the university events. He noted that the more he talked he easier it became. When it came to his class work the mentee was a bit skeptical. He wasn’t sure what he felt and thought that it was mainly because of the setting in the class and the seriousness inside. The teachers were serious with what they were doing and it was difficult to find context of interacting. The classmates were social but he still feared what they would say about him. The Mentor reminded the mentee the importance of being assertive and talking to whoever he wanted with confidence. The mentor was satisfied with the progress of the mentee and went ahead and broadened the scope of the targets. This time the mentee was to engage in two activities that provided a forum for interaction. One of the activities was to be related directly to his academics and the other was to be a an ongoing session that would expose him to a totally new experience. Interestingly, the sessions were becoming more interesting with the mentee doing most of the speaking as the mentor did the evaluations and made new targets.
The weekend that followed the mentee had a lot to say. Firstly he was very happy with his progress. One of the activities that he had joined was a nursing student’s mentorship program run by the faculty in an effort to mentor new students into the nursing profession. During this forum students were allowed to express their feelings about the course, they were to speak freely and exchange ideas as relates to the profession and the faculty. He was surprised that there were people who were finding it hard to adjust to the environment and that they needed guidance. They were all advised accordingly and for the first time he felt free to talk to his peers. He realized that they all faced similar problems. The mentee also joined a dance class. This was the second activity that was not related to his course. On that day he was assigned a dance partner who was a lady and was very friendly. In fact after the dance the lady took him around the campus and they shared a lot. The mentee felt that he had connected with a woman something that has never happened in his life. He actually considered it to be an important milestone in his life.
The mentor was pleased with the mentees progress especially with the new girl in the picture. The mentor advised the mentee to continue being confident and assertive. He should speak out his mind and fear no one as he was entitled to his own opinion. This time the mentor gave the mentee more challenging targets. He was to engage in at least five different activities and interact, speak out his mind and make at least twenty friend s from each event. The mentee mentioned that there were many assignments that had been given by the different teachers and a forthcoming CAT (Continuous Assessment Test). He would find it hard to achieve all that. The mentor gave him three weeks and advised him that he had to plan his time well and be organized. He was to read hard and consult the teacher where he had difficulty. He was to prepare for the CAT and do the assignments with the utmost seriousness that was required.
After the three weeks the mentee came in full of energy. He was so enthusiastic with his studies and was happy with his progress. He reported that the teacher scored the CAT that they had done and was the third best student. He was very happy about this performance. He could not believe that this was happening. He was also very happy that he was now able to interact with new people without fearing and was happy that they took him seriously. The mentee mentioned something about the girls that he had met. He was happy that the girl told him that she likes him because of his confidence. He had made other friends in the dance classes that he noticed that his girl did not like it. This to him was a very powerful thing, he could not believe that he had done it. He also mentioned that he had realized that the teachers were friendly unlike what he thought. From the many sessions that he had attended of the nursing students group, he made new friends who took him seriously and some thought he was great especially that he had a woman at freshman and was performing well in class. Having a session of peers and sharing information significantly improves the adaptability of a person and performance as these forums are highly educative and beneficial to the students who attend them (Roger, Susan, Trembley, & Paul, 2003).
The mentor noticed that the mentee was finally achieving the major objective and sole goal of recovering his confidence and self esteem. The mentee also mentioned that he had attended two parties. One organized by the nursing faculty for its freshmen and another organized by friends of his girlfriend. He noted that in both he made so many friends and now realizes that he has so many friends in campus. This was an indication that the mentee had performed well, he had succeeded in meeting our targets and primary objective which was to improve the self esteem and confidence of the mentee. The benchmark in this case was an individual who had the ability to approach anyone in campus and initiate a conversation leaving a lasting impression. The mentor’s intervention technique was effective as the mentee was able to recover his confidence and self esteem. The mentee was later in the semester selected for position of a student leader in the university. This opened up his world and was now in direct contact with so many people and was this further strengthened his confidence and self esteem. He performed well in his studies and won an scholarship for the next academic year. The parents of the mentee were forever grateful to the mentor for his role in enabling their son recover his confidence and self esteem and for the good performance that the mentee achieved to the extent of being warded with a scholarship.
In conclusion mentorship is a powerful tool that can be employed by an individual or an organization such that they are able to inspire, guide their employees to perform better at work and even take career growth opportunities that arise within the organization (Hay, 1995).