The Value of a Mentor

“Do you have one, do you need one, when should you get one,

where can you find one?”

Before we attempt to answer any of those questions, let’s answer the most important one first. “What’s a mentor?” A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee.   A “mentor” is an advisor or counselor who asks questions that generate ideas, that create a vision, and that encourage you to put your plan into action.

So does a mentor (noun) mentor (verb) a “protégé,” or a “mentee?” A protégé is the traditional name for a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential person. However, as flash mentoring, group mentoring, reverse mentoring, and peer-to-peer mentoring, to name a few, become more popular that term no longer applies.   Thus the term “mentee.”  A mentee is a person who is advised, trained, or counseled by a mentor.

Ok now that we have that all straight, let’s begin.

As you read through this, it would serve you well to be prepared to answer each question for yourself.

Do you have one?  Hmm, you probably do? Who is it? 

I have had many mentors throughout my career, but I didn’t even know what one was or that I had one until someone else pointed it out.  A former Supervisor turned friend, and constant advisor was also my mentor.  She came to me in the form of a boss, but we formed a separate organic relationship, and she has been a source of advice and guidance since we first met and throughout my career.

Do you have one, who is it and how did you meet them?


Do you need one, when should you get one?

“Many people worry that it’s too soon or too late to have a mentor. I disagree,” says Sheila Stenhouse Lee, President/CEO of Sheila Lee & Associates, LLC – Learning Everywhere®.  “You should have a mentor at several points during your career, namely in the beginning, the middle and the end.  Mentoring throughout your career can help with managing conflict within the office, career progression, networking, influencing others, managing politics in the office and organization, understanding the newest trends in technology, time management, leadership development, and work/life balance.  Where you are is up to you.  Where you want to be is also up to you.

Do you need one, when should you get one?


Where can you find them?

Look around you.  Who are the people in your circle that you respect and admire? What is your relationship with them currently and how do you expect them to add value to what you are presently doing or want to do in the future?  Spend some time with them, tell them your “why,” and ask (don’t assume) if they would be your mentor.  Set the expectations by describing the knowledge transfer and acquisition you are seeking.  Expect them to require critical reflection and steadfast application.  If they do not accept your invitation, don’t fault yourself.  There are many reasons why they might say “no.”  Don’t waste time worrying about it, but don’t hesitate to ask if they can recommend someone else. Remember stars hang with other stars.

Where can you find them?


If you feel that you still have questions about the value and mechanics of a good mentor/mentee relationship or you are interested in becoming a mentor, consider Learning Everywhere®’s Mentoring training program to understand the endless possibilities of the opportunity better.

The goal of this class is to have participants understand the value of using customized mentoring programs as a tool to develop various types of future leaders.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Apply the key strategies of mentoring.
  • Develop skills needed to effectively mentor.
  • Learn how to develop an effective mentoring program.

The Return on Investment (ROI) for this training topic includes exploring mentoring as a process of engagement, using mentoring as a reflective practice that takes preparation and dedication and understanding the powerful growth experience for both the mentor and the protégé.

Learning Everywhere® is a seasoned international training company that expertly leads competency based formal training sessions for large and small groups, comprised of participants ranging from front-line employees to senior level executives in the public and private sectors. Our training facilitators have extensive experience and impressive credentials and understand the value of taping into the learners as a resource. By engaging participants in active discussions, our team will build relevance and meaning, thereby enhancing retention and maximizing the likelihood that skills learned in the classroom are applied back in the workplace.  Participants will enter into conversations, debate and disagree, raise new questions, and discuss consequences. Different personalities, voices, values, and approaches will spark interest, and these contrasting viewpoints will encourage more active class participation and independent thinking from all learners. 

If you would like to learn more about our Mentoring training programs, please contact Learning Everywhere® at [email protected] or (410) 233-6922. Thank you!

Posted in