New Program Helps Guide Sailors

Story Number: NNS030320-11Release Date: 3/20/2003 1:44:00 PM
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By Journalist 2nd Class (SW) Erin M. Tholen, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) -- Webster's Dictionary defines a mentor as, "a trusted counselor, guide, tutor or coach." That is exactly what the new Navywide Mentorship Program will provide for all Sailors.

The Navy Mentorship Program was recently implemented with the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) 2003 guidance. Still in the beginning stages, individual chains of command will determine how one goes about choosing a mentor.

"There is still no set way to go about it just yet," said Senior Chief Navy Counselor (SW) Timothy Adams. "For right now, we are having every Sailor choose a mentor and (have it) documented in division officer notebooks. As time goes on, lessons learned will be published with further guidance."

As per the program, Sailors are given the opportunity to choose a mentor of a higher rank, and they will continue to keep in touch as they move through the fleet. The goal of the new program is aimed at providing a positive influence on all Sailors in developing their personal and professional lives.

"When new Sailors come into the Navy, it's all brand new. It's a whole different world," said Adams. "Although boot camp is a transition period, you get out to the fleet, and there is this new Navy out there that has thousands of programs that you don't know anything about. With a mentor, you have somebody there to help guide you along with your career."

Mentoring is not designed to detract from the chain of command, however. It is meant to add another means of obtaining advice and support.

"Mentoring has been around for many years, in the sense that a Sailor will look up to someone, someone they went to for advice or someone they modeled their own career after," said Adams. "What the CNO decided to do was to formalize something that has already been in existence, give it a name and have Sailors document who their mentors are. You can talk to them about professional or personal situations, so choose someone that you trust."

Adams said that many experts agree there a number of personal benefits for mentors, including a sense of loyalty and appreciation of another's journeys, the ability to enable others to realize and develop their full potential, a strong sense of heightened self-esteem and a humanistic style of leadership, guidance and teaching that benefits all.

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