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Gary's Newsletter 369: Modern Mentoring

Posted by Gary R Collins on February 3, 2010 Comments 0



This week I stumbled on a blog posting at where I was caught by words from an article titled "Modern Mentorship." The 32 year-old writer, Nicole Unice, argues that "perhaps mentorship has to move beyond structured systems and canned questions." Mentoring involves at least two people, one of whom, usually (but not always) the younger one, wants to spend time with a wise and trusted teacher or friend who is more experienced or knowledgeable. Depending on their personalities, some people like using structured mentoring books and programs but that's not for everybody. Here are some subjective observations about twenty-first century mentoring:

  • Many younger people are starved for mentors, especially mentors who are "real," down to earth, willing to listen, flexible, open to sharing, and available.
  • Mentoring is not age related. It can involve people at any stage in life.
  • The best mentoring may involve hanging out together, talking about life, discussing issues as they come up, giving and receiving encouragement, but not focused on trying to meet the mentor's predetermined agenda.
  • Effective mentors learn from the people they mentor. Earl Creps describes this well in his book Reverse Mentoring. I prefer the idea of journeying together because it seems more relational, reciprocal and less hierarchical.
  • Mentoring usually involves trusted mutual relationships but not always. Sometimes our best mentors are book authors, public speakers or long-gone heroes that we never met.
  • Mentors lose effectiveness when they become threatened by their protégés. Sometimes mentors feel left behind as the people they mentor begin to thrive and grow beyond the mentor. The best mentors cheer when this happens, keep encouraging, and do nothing to hinder or compete with the people who have been mentored.

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© 2014 Gary R. Collins, PhD.
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