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April 3, 2020

The Role of a Mentor

When you think of a mentor, you usually think of a trusted advisor, confidant, cheerleader and support system. Mentoring is a longer-term relationship, sustainable through the good, bad, highs and lows. A mentor is meant to be there through it all.

Irene Asare

Mrs. Irene Asare, Founder of CarvinClay People Development, is quite passionate about grooming the next breed of critical thinkers and highly talented Human Resource professionals for Africa. On the 3rd of September 2019, she hosted the mentors of the second cohort of the HR Mentoring Programme inside a cosy conference room at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

The event kicked off with introductions and sharing of personal mentoring experiences from some of the mentors, many of whom served as mentors during the first cohort in 2017. In attendance were Dela Quayson, CEO/Lead Consultant, Aristotle Consults LTD; Christopher Mills, HR Director, Expro Gulf; Kwame Annor, HR Director, Jospong Group; Emmanuel Korsah, Ghana Water Company LTD; Isaac Sackey, Council Member, IHRMP; Emmanuel Akoto, OA Consult; Dora Siaw-Lartey, Plan International; Andy Osei Okrah, Founder, Alica Consulting LTD; Rita Kusi, CEO/Snr Consultant, Keeping "U" Simply Intact (KUSI) Consulting; Austin Gamey, Deputy CEO, Gamey and Gamey; and Dzifa Mensah, Head of HR, Enterprise Life Ghana. Also in attendance was Prof. Mathew Tsamenyi of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Accra, a partner of the program.

As part of the introduction, the mentors expressed joy at the opportunity to influence and impact the next generation of HR practitioners. Mentors who were part of the previous cohort shared their experiences of mentoring the previous group and the changes they saw during and after the program. Numerous mentors spoke passionately about the importance of having a mentee and the impact it has had on their careers and personal lives.

They had the opportunity to reflect as they watched a highlight video of the heartfelt testimonies captured during the Alumni Reflection program organised by Mrs. Asare in early August (click here for more).

In her address to the mentors, Mrs. Asare highlighted the significant differences between mentoring and coaching, as well as the expectations and preparations of effective mentoring.

With regards to the differences, she reiterated how the HR Mentoring Programme was more aligned to mentoring than coaching. In that, mentoring connotes the long term, constant developmental relationship whereas coaching is more short term and not necessarily suited to specific goals of the coach or mentees for that matter. She specified the mentor’s roles, which are in these three areas:

  • Serving as a source of wisdom
  • Teaching
  • Support (cheerleading)

“An experienced and trusted advisor,” is how Mrs. Asare described the mentors as they set off on the one-year journey to impact, empower, transform and change the lives of their mentees. She reminded them of their responsibilities as an experienced and trusted advisor, consultant, and guide.

Speaking on what mentoring is not, Mrs. Asare brought to the fore, the importance of the mentees serving as a guide and not counselors or therapists. She referred to mentors not providing mentees with answers but rather teaching them how to learn and encouraging them to think critically while becoming decision-makers. Adding his voice, Prof. Mathew Tsamenyi reiterated by sharing his experience to help mentees learn to defend their solutions.

The meeting progressed with past mentors sharing lessons learned, experiences and providing tips to the newly added mentors. In conclusion, the breakfast meeting wrapped with plans and suggestions on how mentors can stay in touch, expand their HR knowledge and appropriately impact the mentees of the second cohort. They all obliged and were eager to meet their mentees the following week.

Mrs. Asare closed the meeting by appreciating the mentors for their time, support, and willingness to continue. She urged them to keep up with the outstanding work, in hopes it creates a wave of change in HR within Ghana and by extension the whole of Africa.

Article by Wilhemina Enam Agbozo.


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