Mentors and Mentoring
Although there are many definitions of mentors and mentoring, there are certain common themes across the many definitions. For example, someone who coaches and tutors is often called a mentor. Someone who advises and assists in both the individual’s personal and professional life is often considered a mentor. There are cases where an organization and/or an institution serve in a mentoring capacity. The important point is that in all cases, a mentor makes an individualized, personalized effort to assist someone in achieving their goals, reaching their objectives, and/or becoming successful. And, although there are often common themes, it is the individualization of the efforts that makes mentoring really work, especially, as mentioned above, for the disadvantaged individual, regardless of how that disadvantage may be exhibited, e.g., educationally, socioeconomically, etc.
So what is a mentor (and the process of mentoring) and why do we hear so much about this, not only from professors and other academicians, but also from athletes, celebrities, organizations, companies, and all kinds of other groups?
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