According to Haney 1997 (as quoted by Kerka, 1998) mentoring refers to a relationship whereby, an experienced person gives guidance, advice, and support to the less experienced. In an organization for example, mentoring assists in passing of the institutions' culture to the new workers, to ensure personal plus career growth and to create opportunities to those affected by organization barriers for example women and minorities. Apart from it being beneficial at work, mentoring can be used to ensure cultural awareness, consideration of aesthetic, and the ability to have meaningful lives. During the industrial age, mentoring dealt with career growth in the organizational hierarchies. Currently the information age mainly focuses on cognitive, interpersonal, and technical skills and therefore mentoring changes to provide this need.Mentoring programs may be helpful in achievement of various needs; first it can be used to increase the retention rate of talented workers helping them adapt faster in the organizations' culture. Mentoring program can also be used to improve the application rate of skills and knowledge gained from training activities. Thirdly, the process builds trust among workers and prepares them for leadership responsibilities. It shows commitment by those involved in growth of employees and finally it makes new employees adapt easily within the organization (Abudi, 2009). Generally, mentoring program teaches and coaches the mentoree on various issues and skills; it also challenges him/her beyond his/her comfort zone. It focuses on the mentoree's total development. The program has both negative and positive effects.Some of the organization trends for example, downsizing and individual responsibility for career growth encourage the use of mentoring programs. Downsizing has shown the requirement to ensure preservation of institutional memory and passing on of information that should always be in the company. As mentors the older, experienced workers can ensure continuity of the organizations' culture (Regins, 2010).With the existence of computers, vast information is passed to the public but human relationship is still lacking. Telementoring has been used by teachers and learners creating a relationship between them and those experienced on subject-matter issues who provide advice and guidance on projects. This generally means that students and teachers are connected to online mentors. In organizations this is important because it connects experts from various parts of the World. Telementoring ensures that individuals are more responsible for their career development. Unfortunately, it also creates a physical distance between the worker and his/her mentor therefore decreasing the chance of getting knowledge on craft which can only be done through physical interaction. (Kerka, 1998)
According to Kerka (1998) as per the constructivist theory, learning is increased if new knowledge and skills are passed through interaction among the experienced and less experienced. Learning is facilitated through strategies used to solve problems. Whereby, learners are guided on approximation of strategies while they articulate their process of thinking. Learners are coached using various aids which are decreased as they continue to internalize the process. Mentors provide experiential learning including interpersonal relationships bringing about social learning.According to Kerka (1998) despite learning being mainly through personal interpretation of experiences, it does occur socially making the relationship between a mentor and a mentee important. "The idea of learning as a transaction an interactive and evolving process between mentors and their adult learners is considered a fundamental component of the adult mentoring relationship" (ibid., p. 17).Mentoring has two basic functions; career and psychosocial. The career function falls on the external importance of the relationship that is, benefits from knowledge, contacts, support and guidance. Psychosocial function on the other side is internal and is mainly achieved through dialogue, thinking, reflection, and feedback (Bloom, 2010).Mentoring relationships can sometimes be difficult for mentors, mentees, and others involved in the process. In Daloz's second edition of Effective Teaching and Mentoring (1999) he explains by use of examples how mentoring can be difficult at times. These interactions may involve women and people whose ethnicity, race, class, gender, or sexual qualities might not be reflecting the dominant culture in the organization. These factors may affect their mentoring programs because they may lack opportunities to participate in the process or have difficulties. (Hansman, 2003)
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Mentors always provide opinions which can be objective, experienced and in most cases unbiased. This information can either be positive or negative and so a mentee needs to weigh. (Wong, 2009). In some cases people have more than one mentor. This can ensure that the mentee gets different perspectives which can be a positive thing especially if the mentors are from different organizations. On the other hand it can create a negative effect whereby, it could create complicated situations especially if there is existence of competition between the mentors. It is also difficult to maintain connections with many mentors, affecting one-on-one relationship thus having negative impact on productivity.Some of the negative impacts of mentoring programs include; mentors overworking the mentee, he/she may abuse his/her power over the mentee. The mentor may also inappropriately take credit for protégé's work (Eby Marcus & Angie 2004). He/she may attempt to sabotage the mentee and intentionally deceive him/her. At other times the mentor may not be available to the mentee neglecting his/her career or is too preoccupied with his/her own career growth. The mentor may also lack technical and interpersonal competences for the relationship. Finally, the mentor may have a bad attitude about the organization or job or he/she is not able to mentor as required due to personal problems. (Ragins, 2010)The Johari WindowThings we know about ourselves and others know about us.2. Hidden SelfThings we know about ourselves that others do not know3. Blind SelfThings others know about others that we do not know4. Unknown selfThings neither we nor others know about usJohari Window (1999); Famous Models (1999).The Johari window was named after its inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham.it is used to describe human interaction. It was invented in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness (Businessballs.com, 2010). According to Luft (1969) personal awareness is divided into four; open, hidden, blind and unknown. The lines used to divide the four quadrants resemble window shades that can move as the relationship progresses.The "open" quadrant is for the things that I and others know about me for example my name. The window cannot only represent factual information but also things to do with feelings, wants, desires, and behaviors. The first meeting between people makes the size of the quadrant not large but as time goes with much interactions occurring between them the window shades is forced to move down or to the right adding more information to the open window.The 'blind" quadrant represents things that others know about me of which I am unaware of. For example while eating in a hotel, I accidentally get some food on my face. This is part of my blind quadrant because I cannot see it but others can. If anyone tells me about it my blind quadrant moves to the right enlarging the open quadrant (Allen & Lillian, 2004). The blind quadrant can also be filled with more complex issues like lack of eye contact in a conversation. One may think I am not sincere, but with the help of the other person's reaction I may be able to know or in short have a question mark (Bloom, 2010).The "hidden" quadrant represents things that one knows about him/herself that others do not know. For example, one may have given the information that he/she likes ice cream maybe on the website. The hidden information here is that he/she likes "Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia" flavored ice cream. Other information that may be revealed as a result of trust growth in the relationship also falls in the hidden quadrant. This is self-disclosure where one is free to tell more personal information thus enlarging the open quadrant.The "unknown" quadrant represents things that neither I nor another person knows about me. This is mainly about new ideas not known to by any one before. The process of moving information that was previously unknown to all into the open quadrant is taken as self actualization. It can also be taken as a game whereby, the open quadrant is said to be in a win-win situation (Management Mentors, n.d).Generally the mentoring program is important in organizations because it increases job satisfaction creating awareness and therefore effectiveness at work. It should be done well and negative programs avoided like having more than one mentor in the same organization.
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