The Original "Mentor"

The story of Mentor comes from Homer’s Odyssey

When Odysseus, King of Ithaca, leaves to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusts the care of his household to Mentor, the teacher and overseer of Odysseus’s son, Telemachus.

After the war, Odysseus is condemned to wander for ten years in his attempt to return home.

In time, Telemachus, now grown and accompanied by mentor, goes in search of his father. 

Eventually, father and son are reunited and together they cast down many who wished to lay claim to Odysseus’ throne and Telemachus’ birthright.

The word "mentor" has become synonymous with trusted advisor, friend, teacher, wise person.

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The Mentoring Relationship includes a Mentor and a Mentee

What is a Mentor?

A mentor is “Anyone who has a beneficial life-or style-altering effect on another person, generally as a result of personal one-on-one contact.” Or, “One who offers knowledge, insight, perspective, or wisdom that is helpful to another person in a relationship which goes beyond duty or obligation.”

What is a Mentee?

A mentee is “Anyone who wants to learn from someone who knows and seeks their valuable advice in order to grow professionally and/or professionally and/or personally.” Or, “anyone who has the desire to gain from someone else’s experience through  a period of guidance and support.”

The Relationship
  • Mentors provide a safe environment in which employees can reflect introspectively without being judged.
  • Mentors provide accurate feedback rather than advice.
  • Mentors listen, collaborate, challenge and uncover ways for employees to become self-directed.
  • Mentoring is built on a relationship of trust and values.
  • An important step in the process of developing a good mentoring relationship is to move from a problem orientation to a vision orientation.