|Mentorship, Our Hope For A Great Future|
|Tuesday, 03 July 2012 14:16|
"It is the third most powerful relationship for influencing human behaviour - after the family and couple relationships - if it is working." (Richard E. Caruso, PhD). Listening to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on the Joy FM Morning Show was such a gratifying experience especially on Friday the 15th, June 2012 when he interviewed Mr. Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, a lawyer, lecturer and an entrepreneur.
One part of the discussion that touched my heart was the issue of mentorship and I was extremely happy when it was mentioned in the discussion that mentorship also involves the actual hand holding and guidance of the mentee from the very fundamental stage to a life-long relationship.
According to Mr Kuenyehia, the lack of mentorship is a real challenge in today's business environment, especially in the area of entrepreneurship with a lot of people having no physical mentors they can look up to. For Mr Kuenyehia, mentorship is as good as capital in business.
And with that, I must congratulate Joy FM for their mentorship programme , 'MY BUSINESS' which seeks to empower young entrepreneurs through lectures and one-on-one mentoring sessions from leading businessmen for a full year on how to succeed at doing business in Ghana regardless of the obvious challenges.
Mentorship is not a new concept in Ghana and it has much in common with the apprenticeship system that we have in most informal sectors of the economy.
It may be defined as a relationship between a Mentor and Mentee where the mentee is developed under the close guidance of a mentor who knows how to navigate within the culture of the mentee's environment and organisation so as to strengthen competencies needed to enhance performance and progression.
A mentoring relationship is one key intervention that has proven highly effective and has brought a lot of people closer to the level of success. And for me, the earlier Ghanaians begin to develop a very serious attitude towards this kind of relationship, the better for our aspirations and that of posterity.
For the purposes of this article, I decided to contact some few friends of mine about how they feel about mentorship in Ghana and how far it can help influence human behaviour as well as shape the lives of young people for the future.
With the increasing rate of unemployment in the country, I believe if mentorship is introduced at the basic school level, it would provide a guide for young people through their Junior High School days and as they grow by shaping their minds and attitudes on the way to go when they become of age. It is also hoped that this relationship would continue to the profession or business they choose, thereby helping to address the problem of youth unemployment, especially for those who decide to take the entrepreneurial direction.
Taking a closer look at the unemployment situation in Ghana, it was clear from the onset that some young people entered school without any guide from a mentor, who would have helped them to identify their skills, knowledge, and goals and how to achieve them. This is because, as soon as you are about to complete your Junior High School, the mentor would sit you down and provide guidance, share information, as well as give feedback on some unwritten rules that can help you achieve success within the environment which you live. So, before you decide to choose schools for your Senior High School and subjects to read, you already have a clear path you want to take.
Although as a student, a mentoring relationship may not solve all your problems or automatically open doors for you or get you a job; a mentor would assist you in the facilitation of your personal and career development through a relationship with him/her. This would expose you to the professional community and give you all that would make it easy for you to move from the level of a student to the work environment as well as expand your horizon. Every step you take in life can make or unmake you. Your future and successes are developed based on what you do and the kind of people you associate yourself with as you grow up.
It is therefore crucial to have the right mentor to guide you throughout the process. In choosing a mentor, one must consider someone who is respectful of individuals and enjoys helping and watching others achieve their goals. For me, age does not matter. The person must be committed to the mentoring relationship. A mentor should also be a good listener, knowledgeable and maintain a balance between praise, criticism and advice.
This will go a long way to help the young person benefit both personally and professionally from the relationship. It would also allow the mentor to learn or refresh their knowledge simply by having to teach and answer questions; so that in the end, a mentoring relationship would be rewarding for the mentee, the mentor and the nation at large.
By Charles Nii Ayiku Ayiku