Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today I was asked about how to be a good mentor. the person in fact wanted a mentoring manual. She has been invited to mentor young professionals in Nairobi and thought I would provide the best insight.

Well lets just start by saying that the inquiry really did massage my ego! I have been a mentor to a couple of people but even I at the beginning sought out manuals and articles on mentoring even in the internet. I got quite a bit of information but did not feel really satisfied.

However after swimming in the joy of being considered a man of such high wisdom , I gave my friend just three things I thought were worth considering when it came to mentoring:

That 1. a mentor is very much like a counselor. Your duty is not to provide answers or direction but to help the mentee see clearly or with another eye, things that may be obscure. The mentor may also help the mentee see these issues from different angles. eg if it involves job development, to be able to see it from the managers perspective. 2. that the mentor must start with what the subject knows and build with what he has. There is no point telling the person that 'you know what lets talk after you acquire a degree'. or lets talk after you get 3 years experience. 3. That at the end of the relationship, the mentee should be able to say she/he made the decision, or he achieved this or that. If she says you helped her or held her hand or showed her this or that then you shall have failed as a mentor.

Finally i thought time with a mentor needs to be as brief as possible. I normally meet with my mentor for less than 20 minutes at any time. I normally initiate the meetings and I always come out feeling I drove the meeting and made the decisions. My mentor often asks very few but thought provoking questions and his examples or pointers are normally very brief but sharp. He often has an easy eye contact and is often looking quite at home with anything I say.

Having said that, mentors are great people to have since they actually give you a great shortcut in life, they help you see the ditch which may have been veiled as a soft landing patch. they help you see the thorns in the greener grass yonder and so on.


  1. Great post odegle,as ususal you are in your true element with thought provoking topic.Good to know you are a mentor to someone and a great responsibility it is.

    I normally enjoy your blog anonymously and religoiusly without leaving a comment.

  2. Thank you annon. Thats very kind of you and good to know that you are always here!


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