Business Mentoring Matters

Are Mentors Role Models?

Posted on Wed, Oct, 28, 2009

‘Are mentors role models?’ or “Are role models mentors?’ This is a question that many people ask.  Some people say that a mentor is someone who will help you advance in your career, while a role model is someone you look up to.  But shouldn’t you look up to your mentor?  Doesn’t a lot of people look up to their role models?  It’s easy to see why some people may confuse the two.  But it is evident that a mentor is someone who advises us and guides us to reaching our professional goals while a role model is a person who is a good example for other people.  However, when you are speaking of a well-known, famous person, the definition of a mentor and a role model seem to go hand in hand.  In the eyes of NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, after giving his decision to the Michael Vick incident over the summer, Roger indicated in a recently published article that “it’s a privilege to be a part of this league, whether you are a player, the commissioner, or a coach.  We are role models.  People look up to us.  I think when a high standard is communicated to everybody, people will meet it.  I thought it was important to make that clearer.”  My impression is that Roger may feel that younger adults may look up to the NFL as unofficial mentors, so it was imperative for him to show the younger generation that is not acceptable to do unethical things in your career no matter how famous you are.  Roger’s firm stand on his decision is a great way for people to see what a good mentor he has become for the NFL because his decision reached a large audience and not just the person sitting in his office. 

Tags: Mentors & Mentorees, Mentoring FAQs