This one time, in school, the Chancellor made one of his very motivational speeches, and at the end, volunteered to mentor anyone who was interested in having him as mentor.
“Come to the Secretariat”, he told us. “Just tell the receptionist you want to see me in respect of the mentoring programme, and they’ll let you in to my office.” Most people thought this was highly unlikely, given the heavy security that surrounded the Chancellor, but a friend of mine decided to brave it and I remember we were all in awe of him for a while. I’ll never know what came of it though, because he left to study abroad the next semester. This would be my first encounter with the whole mentor-mentee concept.
Years later, I attended a church whose pastor worked in HR, so he sort of coached us as well. In one of those coaching sessions, he mentioned the importance of having a mentor and went on to teach us how to manage the mentor-mentee relationship, i.e. how to be a good mentee. I remember thinking it was all rather very unnecessary, a classic case of a lot of ado about precious little (maybe not nothing).
Again, recently, I attended a business development training, where the need for a mentor in your chosen business field was heavily stressed, and I wondered why there was all this fuss about the whole mentor concept. Each participant was given a mentor, but I never reached out to mine. I felt, if one read books and embraced a relationship with Google, all would be well in the world. But I was envious when I heard one of the ladies with whom I attended that training tell us much later how some of the advice from her mentor saved her from making a very costly mistake. Just how costly, you ask? How does four million naira sound to you? How? Her mentor had amassed milestones in the same business where she was a beginner, so when it came time to take a particular step, her mentor advised her against it, and showed her a better way to do it. What’s interesting is, the mentor had made that mistake in his own time, and had lost four million naira. But he saved her from toeing the same path. I’ve just given you one reason why having a mentor is important, without meaning to just yet. Oh well!