The Value of having a Mentor

Main Entry: men·tor
Pronunciation: \ˈmen-ˌtȯr, -tər\
1: a trusted counselor or guide
2: Coach, tutor

Your friends and family, the Web, periodicals, and even casual acquaintances can provide you with a steady daily flow of information regarding information about cats and breeding. Networking contacts can share their expert knowledge with you regarding particular situations and needs you may encounter. But only a mentor can truly share wisdom with you on an ongoing basis.

A mentor is someone with more breeding, healthcare and entrepreneurial business experience than you who serves as a trusted confidante over an extended period of time. Why do they do this? First and foremost as a way of giving back to their community and to society at large. They may do it to develop their own skills as a teacher or breeder. And a true mentoring relationship also works in both directions—they learn about new ideas from you just as you learn timeless wisdom from them.

But whatever the benefits to the mentor, the benefits to you, the new breeder, are even greater:

Why do you need a mentor?

Where else are you going to turn?

There's no boss to turn to for advice or direction. You're flying solo. But you don't have to. Everybody needs a good reliable sounding board, second opinion, and sometimes just emotional support.

They've "been there, done that"

Learn from others' mistakes and successes. They don't have to have experience in your particular industry. They don't have to be up on the latest trends or technology—you've got other sources for that. Their role is to share with you lessons from their experience with breeding cats in the hopes that you can learn them a bit more quickly and easily.

Expand your social network.

Your mentor, being an experienced breeder, is likely to have an extensive network, and can offer you access to far more senior breeders and exhibitors, with a wealth of information, than you currently have. And they will be far more willing to open that network up to you than some casual acquaintance from a random email or phone call.

A trusted, long-term relationship.

Your mentor has no ulterior motive—no service or cat to sell you. That combined with their experience creates a good foundation for trust. And as the relationship develops over time, that trust can grow even stronger. Also, your time with them becomes more and more efficient as they become more and more familiar with you and your cats and cattery.

As you can see, the rewards are many, and the risk is non-existent. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding a good mentor. Every breeder should have one.


What do mentors and mentees do together?

Several of the common activities might be: talking together (e.g., about the mentee's past experiences, goals, plans, and skills; the mentor's current breeding / showing path; useful problem-solving strategies); attending cat shows and other events together (and discussing these later); working together on activities helping each other market cats and retired breeders; role-playing situations faced by the mentee; exchanging and discussing written materials (such as a document written by the mentee or an article valued by the mentor); co-authoring a publication; interacting with other people (including persons who could be of help to the mentee and other mentor-mentee pairs). Get involved in our Bengal organizations as a team, perhaps.


Apply to become a mentor and join TIBMA here


Mark Pennington -Mystre Bengals - Founder