“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Albert Einstein
Knowledge is not the same as wisdom. You can know something, but if you don’t apply it, then there is no wisdom. For example, you may have fantastic positive feedback from a presentation you give, so you know that it was good, but because of low self esteem, you discount it and rubbish yourself. Alternatively, you may have had some good suggestions as to how you could improve it for next time, which you then choose to ignore. Where is the wisdom?
Some people can experience numerous training courses, but learn nothing. Practical wisdom suggests action that is the outcome of using knowledge gained by experience. Some may call this common sense. The trouble with this is that it is not always that common! A mentor can help guide you from knowledge to this wisdom.
Being a mentor
The name comes from Mentor, who was a trusted friend left in charge of the household and Telemachus, Odysseus’ son, while Odysseus went on his travels.
I think of Mentoring as being like a tree. It is about setting the basic roots to be grounded, feeding the growth, and building structured development. It is a two way process, just as the roots feed the leaves, the leaves feed the roots. A mentor can learn from their mentee. Mentoring is essentially about helping people to develop more effectively and providing the support and structure for greater growth.
As a mentor you may not necessarily know more about the topic than the learner, but you can question, advise and encourage the uptake of the learning. A mentor can open the door to new opportunities and perspectives for the learner (or mentee). It is a relationship between two equals. Sharing knowledge, experience, insight with an equal is not about leaving the other person dependent, grateful or indebted. It is an essential leadership skill to enable people to improve their way of thinking. It can also bring personal satisfaction in helping another individual.
Think of someone who has been a mentor to you in the past, how did they change your life or what benefits did they bring? What skills did they have to be a good mentor?
Benefits for the Mentee
- Tap into the knowledge of another to aid their progress
- Turn their knowledge and ideas into practical application and wisdom
- Increase their confidence and sense of self worth
- Tap into support which can help motivation
- Feel more part of the team and so less likely to leave
Be a mentor – use you mentor and help increase the wisdom of your business. To find out more about mentoring, please contact Ken or Rosie Barfoot.