June 01, 2016

The intrinsic value of a mentor

In Greek mythology, Mentor, a friend of Odysseus, was placed in charge of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War. Mentor was charged to teach, encourage and build the inner confidence of Telemachus so that he would be able to thrive in his father’s absence. The personal name mentor has since been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.

Good mentors share the following characteristics:

  • Committed to the mentoring relationship. They want their mentees to do well and are good role models for those that they lead.
  • Ability and willingness to share what they know. Many people want to share what they do, but skilled mentors are able to communicate so that their mentees can learn and grow.
  • Good listening skills. Excellent mentors don’t just give advice without first listening and hearing what their mentee has to say.
  • Fairness and objectivity. Good mentors withhold judgment and instead try to guide their mentee appropriately.  
  • Value ongoing learning and growth for themselves. Good mentors remain engaged in their own learning, keeping an eye on trends and topics that help them grow and the relationship flourish.

Here at the Tiger Woods Foundation, we believe in the intrinsic value of the mentor/mentee relationship. Within the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, which supports first-generation college students, providing scholars with financial assistance is only a small component of what we do. To guarantee the success of our students through college and beyond, EWSP pairs scholars with dedicated mentors who remain in their lives for four years, if not longer. For many first-generation college students or students of immigrants, mentors serve as crucial guideposts, helping scholars navigate through the new and often overwhelming world of college and career. This relationship is not only an integral and unique component of our scholarship program, but we believe wholeheartedly that the longstanding rapport developed between mentor and mentee is paramount to the scholar’s success in school and in life. 

Over time, mentoring has become a necessity across America as our nation has continued to grow and change. Mentors provide support and encouragement, serve as positive role models and help mentees recognize their potential and set positive goals. For students who are the first in their families to go to college, a strong mentor can be just the guiding force needed to ensure a successful experience. On a more practical level, mentors have experiences to share, connections for networking and can move the needle from surviving to thriving. 

Whether we are students making our way through academia, new college grads entering the workforce or seasoned professionals looking for the support to take our careers to new heights, the support of a mentor can truly make all the difference in our success. 

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.