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Introduction: What is Mentoring?

Mentoring means guiding and supporting trainees to ease them through difficult transitions; it is about smoothing the way, enabling, reassuring as well as directing, managing and instructing. It should unblock the ways to change by building self-confidence, self-esteem and a readmess to act as well as to engage in ongoing constructive interpersonal relationships. Mentoring is concerned with continuing personal as well as professional development (CPPD) and not just continuing professional development. In the process,

about this - because she felt an obligation to support his father, Odysseus. Whether you draw on the 1881 translation from the Greek manuscript offered by Alexander Pope or the 1941 translation by Rieu, the story is quite clear about Mentor's (Athena's) role in mentoring. She has no intention of producing a dependent clone but she has very precise objectives in mind for the young Telemachus:

I will go to Ithaca to instil a little more spirit into Odysseus's son and to embolden him to call his long-haired compatriots to an assembly and speak his mind to that mob of suitors who spend their time in the wholesale slaughter of his sheep and his fatted cattle. (Rieu)

Meantime Telemachus the blooming heir Of sea-girt Ithaca, demands my care: 'Tis mine to form his green unpractis'd years In sage debates, surrounded with his peers, To save the state, and timely to restrain The bold intrusion of the suitor train; Who crowd his palace and with lawless power His herds and flocks in feastful rites devour. (Pope)

Mentor sets out to educate Telemachus, to support and inform him so he may rid the good-for-nothings squandering his father's estate, but Mentor has plans that go far beyond the reorganization of Odysseus's homeland:

You - my friend - and what a tall and splendid fellow you have grown! - must be as brave as Orestes. Then future generations will sing your praises. ( b e u )

Mentor is not above manipulating - but strictly for Telemachus's good! She tells the boy that she thought his father was at home when she first meets him. She is prepared to impersonate him to gather a suitable crew and vessel to take him on his travels because he is not yet strong enough to do this for himself. She allocates the manageable task of collecting provisions.AsTelemachus grows in physical and mental strength and determination, so she eases out of the role of instructor and trainer to be a more distant support and enabler, eventually leaving Telemachus to fight without her. As Telemachus grows in maturity, psychologically and physically, so the nature of Mentor's (or rather Athena's) mentoring is changed. Mentor gives Telemachus challenges of increasing complexity as he gains confidence and support is reduced.