What is a mentor?

One of the interesting things about going through the EQmentor program is that I am seeing mentors everywhere now and often in unexpected ways and places.

I have quite a few informal mentors. Each of these people has different skills, knowledge, and abilities. The key is knowing who to go to and when.

For instance I have one friend/colleague who I can go to any time I have a problem where I’m just not sure what to do and where to start from. Another friend/colleague is always there when I need someone to vent to or just to listen. Yet another friend/colleague is well versed in how to get people to say yes.

Notice I refer to each of these people as friends as well as colleagues. This wasn’t always the case. I have been burned in the past by friends on the job, but I have found through our professional/work/mentoring relationship a friendship has developed. I’ve come to realize that this is not a bad thing. We spend nearly 1/3 of our lives at work so doesn’t it make sense to carefully establish some friendships.

Ironically I bet none of these people realizes that they are acting in a mentoring capacity. In fact if you look at the traditional mentoring definition these relationships may not even qualify.

Dictionary.com defines a mentor as:

  1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher
  2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter

EQmentor is redefining mentoring as a process and not an outcome–“to get knowledge to those who need it so that they can make better decisions. With this definition, we should be open to multiple sources of knowledge.”

So who is your mentor? Where do you go to find out the things you need to know? Who or what is your source of information?

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