Mentoring has existed in Europe since the Ancient Greek times

Mentorship is a personal development relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn. It involves the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and psychosocial support.

Mentoring has existed in Europe since the Ancient Greek times, but in the 1970s spread to the United States of America as business and employee mentoring (and subsequently to the rest of the world).

The five most common business mentoring techniques are:

  • Accompanying – Taking part in the learning process side-by-side with the learner.
  • Sowing – Preparing the learner before he or she is ready to change.
  • Catalysing – Here the mentor chooses to plunge the learner right into change, provoking a different way of thinking, a change in identity or a re-ordering of values.
  • Showing – This is making something understandable by demonstrating a skill or activity.
  • Harvesting – The key questions the mentor asks are – ‘What have you learned?’ ‘How useful is it?’

There is no doubt a good mentoring relationship produces results. A Harvard Business Review Survey of 1,250 top executives published in 1979, for example, showed that most had been mentored or sponsored and that those who received such assistance reported higher income, a better education, a quicker path to achievement, and more job satisfaction.

Every State Government provides business mentoring programs which can be accessed through the Business Enterprise Centre.


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