According to Schemm, R.L. and Bross, T. (1995), the act of mentoring is defined as a process where a younger individual is paired with an older, person for the purpose of attaining guidance and support. Mentoring is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s work force, and becoming more of a necessity rather than a consideration. It is likely that most, if not all, individuals will form one of these mentor-mentee relationships during some point in his or her professional career. There are several advantages, as well as possible disadvantages, to forming one of these relationships. When thinking of mentoring, a one on one relationship usually comes to mind; ...view middle of the document...
Another issue that can arise with the one-on-one approach to mentoring is when a majority of the responsibility for the success of the relationship is placed on the mentor, due to the knowledge and authority he or she may possess. This can in turn inhibit the mentee from taking control of his or her own learning process (Nolinske, 1995, p. 40). According to Nolinske (1995), one mentor simply cannot fulfill all the personal, emotional, and professional needs of a mentee (p. 40). These problems can be fixed with multiple mentor relationships; however, multiple mentor relationships can have issues of their own, as well. Nolinske (1995) also explains that having multiple mentors can lead to breakdowns in communication and unclear expectations among mentors and mentees (p. 42).
In the realm of occupational therapy, it is well known that the vast majority of practitioners are women. This can make it difficult for a new male practitioner to find a mentor; especially one he feels comfortable consulting (Schemm, R.L. and Bross, T., 1995, p.35).
Forming a mentor-mentee relationship can provide several advantages to the professional development of individuals. Transitioning to a new environment can potentially be extremely stressful on an individual. For example, it is often difficult for a student to adjust to a professional work environment. Ideally, having a mentor-mentee relationship can help bridge the gap of uncertainty that exists when students are transitioning from school to the workplace (Rogers, 1986, p. 80). Goode (2012) agrees with this statement when she describes the mentor-mentee relationship as “integral to the transition from theory to the practice setting” (p. 33). Mentoring of course is not strictly limited to helping students, as it can ease any person dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety (Goode, 2012, p.33). In formal training it is not unlikely an individual will not retain all the information given. This provides mentoring the opportunity to offer reinforcement and assistance where needed. Another benefit to a mentoring is the ability to have a less formal relationship than that of the traditional instructor-student affiliation. This will allow mentees to become more open-minded and willing to accept constructive criticism, which can help them form new opinions and outlooks in various situations (Lakoski, 2009, p. 2).
Typically, as a result of having a mentor-relationship, a sense of trust can develop that provides mentees with a safe place to go to with questions or problems they may not be comfortable asking anyone else. While mentoring can be beneficial to the mentee, the mentor can be on the receiving end of many other advantages, as well. Mentors have the opportunity to witness others succeed, as well as experience a personal growth from the intellectual stimulation that comes along with mentoring another individual (Rogers, 1986, p. 81). The privilege of being a mentor can also bring both...