Definition of Mentor
The term ‘mentor’ derives its origin from a Greek word which means friend, counsellor or trusted teacher. Generally, mentors are individuals who have experience in rendering assistance to those in need. The term ‘mentee’ refers to those individuals receiving such assistance. In the process of rendering the requisite assistance, an experienced and knowledgeable mentor will serve as a guide, friend and teacher to the mentee who needs such support in order to improve in aspects such as career development, education, spirituality, mental health and other facets of self-development.
There are a variety of mentor programmes. Mentor programmes are conducted either in formal or informal contexts. Irrespective of context, the objectives of such programmes are similiar.
Formal mentor programmes have an organised structure and are normally conducted in well-structured and established organisations.
Formal mentor programmes have specific objectives as well as attainment and evaluation procedures designed to measure the effectiveness of such programmes. Each mentee of the programme is required to attain a specific objective within a stipulated period.
The main aim of such programmes is to enable a mentee to obtain proper and effective guidance regarding the mission and objectives of the organisation in order to enhance work quality within the organisation and to bolster its image. Mentees receiving guidance in such programmmes are normally able to uphold organisational objectives in order to safeguard quality.
In contrast, informal mentor programmes do not require rigid organisational structure to operate in as they are merely designed to facilitate colleagues to receive the requisite advice and guidance and do not have predetermined expectations.