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Learning Quickly
From Mentors

Written Sunday 10/29/06 by Joe Rossini

In this lesson, we will be discussing how you can enter the fast tract to learning just about anything, by finding a mentor to communicate with regularly. The dictionary describes a mentor as a noun and a verb. As a noun the word mentor is described as a wise and trusted guide and advisor. As a verb, to mentor someone would be to serve as a teacher or trusted counselor. In any case, a mentor would be a more experienced person or expert in a field who has valuable knowledge to pass on to a less experienced person or mentee, in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education or build their networks.

It wasnít too long ago, when almost every worker began their career as an apprentice of some sort. As an example an apprentice worked next to an expert and was taught the tricks of the trade as a plumber, electrician or welder. This is a most effective way to learn and is still popular today in many industries. Similar methods of apprenticeships are also used in law and medicine through internships. Working for an experienced physician or lawyer will give an intern real life experiences, with an expert watching over them to teach and guide them.

I believe itís important for anyone who is learning new skills or obtaining knowledge, to have a mentor of some sort to watch over and guide them. A mentor will not take the place of a well rounded educational program. However a mentor can help steer the mentee throughout the educational process to help insure that the mentee reaps the most benefits from their investment of time, effort and resources.

When you are a student in high school or college, itís not unusual to be confused about what profession you would like to pursue. If I had the chance to relive my high school or college years, I would have invested much more time investigating different professions and looking for role models that I truly admired. A student may have to search through their relatives, neighbors or community leaders to find someone in a profession, whom they might want to emulate in their future. Once found, the student should prepare a list of pertinent questions and approach those individuals that they admire for a brief interview. Most professionals will be flattered and grant the time necessary to help sincere students. Conducting enough of these brief interviews will help steer students into a clearer career path, based on the facts they learn from those they interview. This process can also lay the groundwork toward developing a sound mentor/mentee relationship for the future.

Most colleges and universities offer free mentoring programs, connecting accomplished alumni in specific fields with current students in similar fields. Itís too bad that few college students realize the importance of these programs and pass on the opportunity to develop these mentoring relationships. The guidance from an accomplished mentor can help a student to avoid many mistakes during their college years. Their mentor may also open the doors of opportunity for a future job after graduation.

It would be great if fathers and sons or mothers and daughters could form mentor / mentee relationships when applicable. While this happens on occasion, itís unfortunate that itís quite rare. Parents tend to protect their offspring and say no too often to a childís wishes, making a meaningful mentoring relationship difficult. This causes tensions in a relationship and tends to interfere with the mentoring process. While parents have economic and decision making powers over their children, mentors are purely serving as an advisor, with no decision making powers. Thus their advice is viewed as unconditional and tends to be respected more.

As an employer, I have mentored many of my former employees. I watched over their careers and always steered them in a positive direction, in order for them to achieve personal and professional growth and success. Sometimes a little bit of sound advice from a mentor can save a mentee a mountain of stress and grief. Why learn by trial and error when you can learn from the errors made by someone else?

Currently I mentor through my consulting practice. Watching those I mentor learn at warp speed, is a most satisfying experience for me. Itís my goal to have those I mentor stand out like a seven foot player among five footers on a basketball court. In todayís competitive world, learning from an expert who shares decades of experiences on a weekly basis, can give an individual advantages they never dreamed of. I help each mentee avoid the mistakes of trial and error and assist them to solve everyday problems quickly and efficiently.

Being mentored properly can help turn a young mentee into a fast track superstar in their company and industry. Mentors are needed during every stage of a career. It behooves everyone to search for a great mentor today!


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