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Mentor and Mentoring

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:49 pm    Post subject: Mentor and Mentoring Reply with quote

Hi All,

I found this info. I read recently, interesting and hence want to share with you.


In Greek mythology, Mentor ( Greek: Μέντωρ / Méntōr ) was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope. As Mentor, the goddess encourages Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and to go abroad in order to learn out about his father.

When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, Athena (in the form of Mentor) takes the form of a swallow and the suitors' arrows have no effect on him.

Historically significant systems of mentorship include traditional Greek pederasty, the guru - disciple tradition practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism, Elders, the discipleship system practiced by Rabbinical Judaism and the Christian church, and apprenticing under the medieval guild system.

Mentor as term

The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a book entitled "Les Aventures de Telemaque", by the French writer François Fénelon In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was published in 1699 and was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.

This is the source of the modern use of the word mentor : a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have " mentoring programs" in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance, and schools sometimes have mentoring programs for new students or students who are having difficulties.

Today mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks. Many of the world's most successful people have benefited from having a mentor including:

* business people - Freddie Laker mentored Richard Branson
* politicians - Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great
* directors - Martin Scorsese mentored Oliver Stone at the New York University
* actors - Mel Gibson mentored Heath Ledger
* music - Johann Christian Bach mentored Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
* Pop - Denniz Pop mentored Max Martin
* athletes - Eddy Merckx (five-time Tour de France winner) mentored Lance Armstrong (seven-time Tour de France winner).
* soccer - Bobby Charlton mentored David Beckham

Mentoring Techniques

There are differences between instructing, coaching and mentoring. Instructing deals largely with the dissemination of knowledge. Coaching deals primarily with skill building, whereas a mentor is one who helps shape the outlook or attitude of the individual.
There are two types of mentoring relationships: formal and informal. Informal relationships develop on their own between partners. Formal mentoring, on the other hand, refers to a structured process supported by the organization and addressed to target populations.

Since the focus of mentoring is to develop the whole person, the techniques are broad and require wisdom in order to be used appropriately [1].

A study of mentoring techniques most commonly used in business was published in 1995 under the title Working Wisdom.[2] In the study, five major techniques or "wisdom tactics" were found to be used most commonly by mentors. These are:

1. Accompanying: This means making a commitment in a caring way. Accompanying involves taking part in the learning process by taking the path with the learner.

2. Sowing: Mentors are often confronted with the difficulty of preparing the learner before he or she is ready to change. Sowing is necessary when you know that what you say may not be understood or even acceptable to learners at first but will make sense and have value to the mentee when the situation requires it.

3. Catalyzing: When change reaches a critical level of pressure, learning can jump. Here the mentor chooses to plunge the learner right into change, provoking a different way of thinking, a change in identity or a re-ordering of values.

4. Showing: this is making something understandable, or using your own example to demonstrate a skill or activity. You show what you are talking about, you show by your own behavior.

5. Harvesting: Here the mentor focuses on “picking the ripe fruit”: it is usually learned to create awareness of what was learned by experience and to draw conclusions. The key questions here are: "What have you learned?" "How useful is it?"

Different techniques may be used by mentors according to the situation and the psychological mindset of the mentee. The authors underline that the techniques used in modern organizations can be found in ancient education systems, from the Socratic technique of harvesting to the accompaniment method of learning used in the apprenticeship of itinerant cathedral builders during the Middle Ages.


eMentoring is a means of providing a guided mentoring relationship using online software or email. It stemmed from mentoring programs with the invention of the internet, and began to gain popularity around 1993. First used for programs connecting schoolchildren with businesspeople, eMentoring is now popular throughout the US, the UK, and some parts of Europe.

Early eMentoring

Many early eMentoring programs used email communication to link mentors and mentees. Telephone communication was also occaionally used, known as telementoring. One of the first eMentoring programs was developed in Canada in 1990, where teachers from schools in British Colombia were given online support and training by experienced peers. The teachers and peers never met in a face to face context.

Web-based eMentoring

Modern eMentoring projects tend to rely on web-based solutions, particularly if children are involved. Online software allows both mentors and mentees to log into a secure online environment where they can converse under supervision of moderators and coordinators.

Controversy and debate

Online mentoring is occasionally compared unfavourably with face to face mentoring. The medium limits the ability to pick up on visual or social clues, makes immediate feedback difficult and can often be seen as impersonal.

However, eMentoring can make participants more willing to offer honest feedback. It is also being embraced more readily by those in business who want to become mentors, as eMentoring is less time-consuming than face-to-face mentoring.


It has been suggested that the quality of the mentoring relationship is heavily influenced by the amount that the mentor and mentee have in common. As such, most charities and businesses that offer eMentoring programmes require some shared interest between the mentor and mentee. It is also generally accepted that any mentoring relationship is most effective during a transitional period in the mentee's life, such as applying to university or making decisions about future careers.

Mentoree (or mentee)

The student of a mentor is called a protégé or mentoree . More accurately, for the recondite, the protégé would be called the telemachus (pl. telemachuses or telemaches ). Sometimes, the protégé is also called a mentee . The -or ending of the original name Mentor does not have the meaning of "the one who does something", as in other English words such as contractor or actor. The derivation of mentee from mentor is therefore an example of backformation (cf. employer and employee ).

Source: www.reference.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentorship
Further reading:
1. Huang, Chungliang and Jerry Lynch (1995), Mentoring - The TAO of Giving and Receiving Wisdom, Harper, San Francisco.
2. Murray, M. (1991). Beyond the myths and the magic of mentoring: How to facilitate an effective mentoring program. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
3.Daloz, L. A. (1999). Mentor: Guiding the journey of adult learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
4.L. A. Daloz, Effective Teaching and Mentoring,San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990,
5.http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2009-08-04-female-executives-male-mentors_N.htm (2009 USA Today article on how successful women are almost always mentored by men!)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi dr.
it's really good composition over MENTORING.
Today it is a key part of Corporate Culture and Global Business.
It is a subject of HR Department and comes across of every employee.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:11 pm    Post subject: Have an INHOUSE (Within yor company) MENTORING program. Reply with quote

Dear  Dr.  Subramanian,  
Here is something on MENTORING from people who are running large Engineering companies . After I read this latest article,  in my opinion Mentoring of new engineers or less experience engineers boils down to having an INHOUSE  MENTORING program.  It  will cost good amount of money and time to train  new engineers and to ask  him or her to do real world Structural Engineering.  Most of the time in India we  end up blaming our Engineering Colleges/Universities  for not giving good Engineering education during  their  B.E. (Civil) program.  

From: ASCE  SmartBrief:  July 25, 2016  

Engineers reflect on recruiting, training fresh talent :  
Engineers speak from experience to offer their ideas on finding and training promising engineering talent and then keep them around. They review on-boarding training programs, mentoring initiatives and the tools used, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of recent hires.  


Consulting-Specifying Engineer/CFE Media  


Vasudeo Pandya P.E.  
Structural Engineer

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 4:18 am    Post subject: SHORTAGE OF SKILL WORKERS IN USA CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY . Reply with quote

Dear Sefi Engrs ,
From  Latest  ENGINEERING NEWS RECORD ( ENR )  :  18th April 2018 .
" How to Achieve Consistency in Finding and Developing Talent :
Talent may be the most coveted commodity for contractors today, but a new study says that many firms have yet to craft strategies for attracting and developing individuals who will make up the next generation of leaders. And that, experts say, increasingly threatens those contractors ability to compete and ultimately to survive.
A recent construction industry survey from management consultant FMI illustrates the severity of the talent development shortfall. Nearly 90% of the 245 architecture, engineering and construction firms surveyed said they face talent and workforce shortages. Yet more than half (55%) reported having no formal processes in place for identifying and developing high-potential employees.
And even firms that have identified their future leaders may be falling short in preparing them for new responsibilities. Although three quarters of FMI survey respondents report changes to their companies training and development programs over the past two years, 43% dont budget specifically for such efforts. "

We have discussed this issue in SEFI quite a bit but Construction Industry is still facing this problem at least in USA.  I Hope we are doing better in Indian construction Industry  than USA  construction Industry .


Vasudeo Pandya  P.E.
Structural Engineer

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:57 am    Post subject: Latest from ASCE on Mentoring / Training new Civil Engineers Reply with quote

Dear Sefi Engineers ,
latest from ASCE on Training / Mentoring new Civil Engineers :  


Last edited by VPandya on Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:26 am; edited 6 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:15 am    Post subject: Latest from ASCE on Mentoring / Training new Civil Engineers Reply with quote

Dear  Sefi Engrs ,

Latest from ASCE on Mentoring/Training new Civil Engineers :

Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge
Preparing the Future Civil Engineer
Third Edition

PREPARED BY Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 3 Task Committee SPONSORED BY Committee on Education of the American Society of Civil Engineers


Vasudeo Pandya P.E.
Structural Engineer

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