Mentor: Everyone Needs One!

WLG 301
Mentor: Everyone Needs One!
Susan Gamble, M.P.A., M.S.W., WVU Extension Agent, Literacy
Zona Hutson, M.A., WVU Extension Agent, Doddridge County
Patrick Nestor, Ed.D., WVU Extension Specialist, Volunteer Development
1. Participants
will gain an
of the mentoring
2. Participants
will discover the
of a good mentor.
3. Participants
will be
motivated to
become mentors.
4. Participants will
learn the basic
steps to start
a mentoring
The word “mentor” comes from ancient Greece. Mentor was the name
of the loyal friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan
War, he entrusted his son, Telemachus, to Mentor. Since that time,
mentor has meant a wise, trusted, loyal adviser, leader, or coach.
Today, mentor means any caring person who develops an ongoing,
one-to-one relationship with someone else. A mentor listens, encourages,
gives advice, advocates,
serves as a role model,
and shares information
and experiences with
a mentee.
This topic will guide
you in developing,
encouraging, and
directing members
of your organization
to serve as mentors.
What Is
Mentoring is the process by which an experienced person provides advice,
support, and encouragement to a less experienced person. A mentor
serves as a role model, friend, or coach, leading by guidance and example.
Mentoring is becoming an increasingly popular strategy for addressing
the needs of both youths and adults. In a mentoring relationship,
the focus is on a specific area of growth in a flexible format. An effective
mentoring program can change lives by providing opportunities for
personal development, growth, and support for both the mentor
and mentee.
Mentoring happens in both one-to-one settings and groups. The process
may involve general conversations, personal meetings, e-mail exchanges,
or letters.
– continued –
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Help participants discover strengths and traits
they could share with others.
1. What am I passionate about?
2. How do I spend my time?
3. What topics do I enjoy learning about?
4. How would I describe my gifts, strengths,
and talents?
5. In what areas do I wish to grow?
Role of a Mentor
A mentor can assume different roles. The mentor’s
role depends on the needs of the mentee.
To successfully fill theses roles, a mentor should
establish a positive, personal relationship with
the mentee based on mutual trust and respect.
A mentor should:
● maintain regular interaction
● provide consistent support
● help mentee develop life skills
● help mentee become aware of community, educational, and economic resources
● realize that each mentoring experience is unique
● act as a guide, advocate, coach, and role model
● have fun!
Characteristics of a Mentor
A successful mentor is characterized as:
Supportive: A mentor supports the needs and
aspirations of the mentee. The mentor encourages
the mentee to accept challenges and overcome
Patient: A mentor is patient and willing to spend
time performing mentoring responsibilities.
Respected: A mentor has earned the respect of
peers within the organization and the community.
People-oriented: A mentor is genuinely interested
in people and has a desire to help others.
Good motivator: A mentor provides encouraging
feedback and challenging assignments.
Open-minded: A mentor is concerned for and
accepting of others.
Tips for Building
a Mentoring Relationship
1. Be there. Make time for your mentoring relationship, showing your mentee that
you care and that the relationship is a priority.
2. Be a friend, not an all-knowing authority.
You do not need to “fix” your mentee.
3. Be an individual of character. Keep your
word and have a positive outlook.
4. Choose a wide range of activities that are
of interest to both of you.
Have participants think about people who
have served as their mentors:
Name a mentor from your childhood.
Name a mentor from your high school
or college experience.
Name a mentor from your job or career.
Name a person who is currently mentoring you.
What characteristic do these people possess?
How did these mentors contribute to your
success or achievement?
WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs
Starting a Mentoring Program
A mentoring relationship is a close, individualized
relationship that develops over time. Successful
mentoring is rewarding for both the mentor and
mentee. Mentoring strengthens an individual’s
skills and confidence to face the future. Here are
some suggestions for starting a mentoring program.
of Mentoring Activities
Set your mentoring goals together.
● Attend plays at the local community center.
● Visit local libraries.
● Help a student with homework.
● Go to the movies together.
● Talk about your first job.
● Talk about balancing work and life.
● Talk about making connections.
● Cook a meal together.
● Share your culture and background.
● Do some volunteer work together.
Establish program need: Identify the needs of
the organization/community.
● Establish a balance: Mentoring programs must complement, not compete with, other activities
and responsibilities.
● Develop program goals and objectives: Decide
what you want to accomplish and how you will
do it.
● Identify the needs of the mentee: Participation
is voluntary. So be sure to understand why the
mentee is participating.
● Organize activities and procedures: Establish guidelines for the length and frequency of the mentor contact.
● Monitor the process: Stay in touch to ensure
the success of the program.
● Evaluate ongoing progress: Is it a win-win
situation for both mentor and mentee? Is the organization benefiting from the relationship?
● Revise the program and action steps: Make changes as needed based on information
received from the mentors, mentees,
and others.
Have participants brainstorm potential mentoring
What are the mentoring needs of the organization
or community?
How can you address those needs through
a mentoring program?
WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs
National Mentoring Month
January is National Mentoring Month. Its
promoters aim to raise awareness about mentoring,
to recruit individuals to mentor, and to promote
the rapid growth of mentoring by partnering with
organizations, companies, faith communities,
schools, and community groups. To learn more,
visit the Web site (
California Governor’s Mentoring Partnership (2001).
Primary role of a mentor. (
California Governor’s Mentoring Partnership (2001).
Tips for building a mentoring relationship.
Crochelt, L. and Smink, J. (1991). The Mentoring Guide
Book, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. PP. 1-107.
DuBois, D; Holloway, B and Valentine, J. (April, 2002).
Effectiveness of Mentoring Program for Youth: A MetaAnalytic Review, American Journal of Community
Psychology, vol. 30, No. 2.
Management Mentors (n.d.). Formal vs. Informal Mentoring.
Mentor (n.d.) Becoming a mentor. Retrieved November 27,
2006 from
Nestor, P., Mentoring: Treasures of the Trail, (1999), West
Virginia University Extension Service, Morgantown, WV.
U.S. Department of Labor. (2000.) Retrieved June 9, 2006
Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard
to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, and marital
or family status. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Director, Cooperative Extension Service, West Virginia University.
WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs