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Mentor Question Archives

Visitors who have responded to previous questions are immortalized on these pages. In most cases their answers have been left unedited. Questions have been repeated.

The previous questions include:

  • What would you say was the key difference between a mentor and a coach? (View responses)
  • What was the most difficult thing you had to do as a mentor? (View responses)
  • Name a mentor/partner pairing where at least one of the persons might be considered well-known or famous. (View responses)
  • What evidence is there that mentoring makes a difference? (View responses)
  • What mentor sites on the Internet would you recommend and why? (View responses)
  • What is your favorite or most valued definition of a mentor? (View responses)
  • What advice do you have for a person seeking a mentor? (View responses)
  • What was the most influential comment a mentor made to you? (View responses)
  • What are the the best instruments for matching mentors with partners? (View responses)
  • What are the advantages or disadvantages of matching males with females in a mentoring relationship? (View responses)
  • The person receiving mentoring is often called a protege, mentee, or partner. What term would you choose and why does it make sense? (View responses)
  • If there is not personal chemistry in the mentoring relationship, can the pairing still be effective? (View responses)
  • Does a person who is self-directed need a mentor? (View responses)
  • What are the differences between coaching and mentoring? (View responses)
  • As a mentor what questions have you asked that proved to be the most engaging or valuable? (View responses)
  • What are some successful and unsuccessful ways of ending a mentoring relationship? (View responses)
  • If you could select anyone to be your mentor (from history or living today), who would you select and why? (View responses)
  • Not all experts agree on the best way to match mentors and partners. What method would you suggest and why? (View responses)
  • What action should a mentor take when he or she learns that his or her mentoring partner has acted in an unethical way, such as making false statements about qualifications on his/her resume? (View responses)
  • The catastrophic events in the United States on September 11 caused much anguish, pain and grief. In what way did (should) your mentoring relationship manage this unprecedented horror? (View responses)
  • What is the most important thing you have learned as a result of a mentoring relationship? (View responses)
  • If you were to select a quotation to share in a mentoring relationship, what would it be? (View responses)
  • What evidence can you site that shows that mentoring works? (View responses)
  • At least two published works on mentoring have suggested that individuals can be mentored by events, writing of others, nature or other circumstances that do not involve a personal, one-to-one relationship. Describe how you have had such a mentoring experience. (View responses)
  • What would you suggest as one of the best Internet resources on mentoring and why did you select it? (View responses)

 "What would you say was the key difference between a mentor and a coach?"
Wendy Echlin-Black from wrote:
Although both roles are highly respected, a coach works with an individual or team to reach a defined goal, such as winning the gold or selling the highest volume of lemonade out of all the city's stands. The coach does not necessarily have the skills or ability to reach the goal, but the coach knows how to get the team to the finish line by maximizing their own skills and abilities. A protege looks to a mentor to acquire skills, knowledge or experience that the mentor already has. Although the experience starts out with an objective in mind, it is more of a teaching and learning experience that does not have a painted finish line.

Jim from wrote:
A mentor imparts wisdom gained through knowledge used in the "battlefield" of work/life. He builds a relationship with his protege unlike any other where growth is taught through example, listening and encouraging. A coach is motivational, pushing you along and getting you fired up to succeed and overcome obstacles.

Joy Cavanaugh from wrote:
A mentor is someone who may challenge you, steer you and guide you along a path they have traveled. A coach is one who will inspire and motivate an individual.

Paul G. from wrote:
The key difference is that a mentor has a pro-active hands-on approach in dealing with their proteges; they are personally involved. A coach, on the other hand, suggests possiblities and doesn't need to be as personally involved as a mentor. A coach "defines", a mentor "guides".

Brenda Selph from wrote:
A coach counsels or addresses a specific area, while a mentor acts as a guide in many areas.

Marguerite Tennier from wrote:
A mentor is a more experienced person in one field - usually the same as you - a mentor has a "protege" - he/she takes you under his wing - passes on her knowledge and wisdom. A mentor often gives answers. A coach does not need to have experience in your field- she will help the questions so you will find your answers.

Humberto Jimenez from wrote:
I myself am a mentor and I would say that difference is that a mentor is there to listen and lend a helping hand. A mentor also gets closer to the mentee and builds a better relationship. On the other hand a coach's biggest concern is winning. Unlike the mentor's concern which is the well being of his/her mentee.

Lisa from wrote:
The key difference between a coach and a mentor is that where a coach is assigned typically to teach a particular skill, a mentor is more like a role model whose influence is much more subtle. A mentor typically has influence in many areas of a person's life.

John O'Brien from wrote:
I am both a mentor and a coach. I differentiate between the two in the sense, in my own lexicon, in the following way: My mentoring activities are less structured, are volunteer, less demanding of the mentees participation (i.e. more responsive than proactive, perhaps), and usually involve supportive guidance of someone following career path that aligns with my own in some way. My coaching activities tend to be structured, sometimes highly so, form part of my paid work, and involve proaction and facilitated self-discovery and learning on the part of individuals or teams that may be pursuing very different career interests yet who have needs and that fit my values and competencies. There's a qualitative difference in the experience. I think we all benefit from both mentors and coaches in our lives.

Rebecca Judd from wrote:
A coach is interested in the success of the team scored against other teams. A mentor is interested in an individual's success without comparison to others.

Owen Mitchell from wrote:
We use them interchangeably, so I can't really say there is a difference that is noticeable.

Kelly Arliss from wrote:
Coaches are typically paid a fee; whereas mentoring is a voluntary activity.

What was the most difficult thing you had to do as a mentor?
Wednesday, November 29 at 08:43 AM:
Rachel Hart from wrote:
I currently mentor two young women ages 17 and 20. The most difficult thing I have to do is remember that I am not their mother, I can not tell them what to do, just show them the options and possible outcomes on any given situation. And in my own motherly way try to guide them in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 28 at 10:49 AM:
Lynn Carlson from wrote:
I guess still being rather new to the mentoring scene, I haven't truly encountered any real difficulties. However, from my perspective so far, the most difficult thing for me to master was silence. Allowing my mentee the opportunity to speak without interruption or judgement, I've found is the best gift I can give her. So, I've been practicing my listening skills and have realized just how difficult it is not to try to solve her problems for her or even just not to minimize the importance of issues. The more I allow her to talk, the more she is able to work through her problems on her own and with minimal direction, solve and resolve them. This gives her back her feeling of self-efficacy and raises her self-esteem.

Sunday, November 26 at 07:13 AM:
Laurie Brand from wrote:
Does who you know count more than what you know? I had to tell the students to always do their very best at whatever they were trying to accomplish. Eventually the right person would see them for who they really were and all the good things they had to offer the world. This was just after I had just been turned down for a job. I knew that I was the best candidate and the employer knew it, but I did not have the hiring "connection". The hired candidate did not meet expectations. Who you know may get you hired, but what you learned to do on the way and when you get there, is just as important.

Monday, November 20 at 10:54 AM:
Wanda Ashford from wrote:
The toughest decision I had to make involved whether I should reveal information that my protege told me. The information concerned some attitudes or perspective that I believed were dangerous to his coworkers.

Saturday, November 18 at 02:47 AM:
neil ford from wrote:
Dealing with the conflict of direction between my 'mentee' and their line manager. For whatever reason their manager did not believe that our organisation would provide financial support for their management development, when we believed - if asked - that they would. Fortunately, we stuck with it, and the 'mentee' is now studying as a mature student with a local university, working towards an MBA!

Tuesday, November 14 at 11:22 AM:
Robin Kean from wrote:
Being a mentor to women on welfare, and mentoring them on goal setting and how to make good decisions, I find it extremely difficult to accept a final decision on something that I know is bad decision, that they think is right. Then mentoring them throw the consequences of that bad decision, without saying I told you so!"

Monday, November 13 at 01:08 PM:
Carrie Biggs from wrote:
I have to listen to many people tell me there problems while I have my own stuff to deal with.

Sunday, November 12 at 03:49 PM:
Lonnie Dayton from wrote:
I volunteered to mentor one of our junior staff members. It was part of a majory strategy our company had put into practice as a way of retaining employee and helping them to develop their career paths through our management system. In talking with my protege over several sessions, I started to realize that I had lost my passion and connection with work. Here I was trying to help my protege and I wound up asking myself the same questions I was asking him. Only I wasn't able to give any answers. Two weeks later I sent in my resignation and after a severance deal went into business for myself. My protege is still with the company and the last time we talked, he told how valuable our conversations had been for making his own way.

Tuesday, November 07 at 02:27 PM:
Gail Charette from wrote:
The most difficult thing I've found is to refrain from just providing a solution to the mentored person's problem. Nobody grows and learns how to deal with problems on their own simply by implementing someone else's solution. It's a challenge to maintain enough distance and self control to be able to help the person review all avenues of solution and support them while they select their own, rather than imposing my own judgment on the best road to take. In the long run, though, the reward is in watching him gradually increase his analytical abilities, develop solid judgment, and exercise control over his own actions and decisions.

Thursday, November 02 at 11:26 PM:
Wendy Conway from wrote:
Our company started a formal mentoring program and all executives were "expected" by our CEO to take on at least one person to mentor. I didn't really want to participate for a number of reasons, but I agreed to accept a woman who appeared to be on the right track. Actually she selected me. After a few sessions I found out why she had selected me. She thought that I would act as an advocate for her career promotion because we shared the same ethnic background. When she told me I was "obligated" to give her a hand up and do PR for her, I blew up and all the anger I had I rained on her. I wouldn't treat a dog the way I treated her, but here I was taking out my frustrations rather than helping her see that advocacy was not part of the mentor program vision.

Wednesday, November 01 at 12:11 AM:
Charmaine L. Billups from wrote:
I am in the Military and only a daily basis I mentor soldier's. Well this particular soldier I consider my protege', this soldier had a lot to offer the military and the Army had alot to offer her. She was well-rounded and quite educated. Her knowledge on military issues and platforms would astounish the average. Well one day she came to me and told me she was pregnant and confused on what to do. Knowing this soldier was not married and knew she had no plans of getting married I advised her on her options, however did not voice what my heart wanted to tell her. Being a single parent in the Military is difficult. This soldier had a great deal of potential and I hated deeply the fact that I could not just tell her my heart. Today she is a civilian because she choose to keep the child. I do not recent her decision, I just hate not being there truly when she needed me on the "IMPORTANT" issues.

Thursday, October 26 at 06:19 AM:
Kevin Chappell from wrote:
Mentor someone who I felt could not grasp the concepts I tried to impart. I was patient and thorough in my guidance and instruction. Mistakes were made, but in the longrun I proved myself wrong. Patience is the key.

Monday, October 23 at 07:48 AM:
Peter Samuels from wrote:
As the manager of our IT Division, it was both part of my job and my passion to act as a mentor to people in my department. One of our employees was a high potential person and I entered into a mentoring relationship with her. At first this seemed to be an excellent relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and a focus on learning. I learned, however, that she was providing information about our IT work to another company. I might handle it differently today, but I had to fire her. I lost a lot of sleep over this and I felt so stunned by it, that I have yet to engage another person in mentoring.

Saturday, October 21 at 11:28 AM:
Vladimer Horowitz from wrote:
I had a very promising protege who was my piano student. He was beginning to shine in recitals and was even considering starring in his first public concert. The morning of the concert I came to his apartment to wish him luck, and I found him on the floor in a drugged stupor. I had no idea he was using narcotics. I called 911 and went with him in the ambulance to the hospital. He was raging at me and said some nasty things about how I didn't have faith in him. Rather than truely listen to his anxiety, all I heard was his anger. I told him I would have no more to do with him and I never spoke to him again. Today he is one of the most well-known and respected concert pianists and has written many works for others.

Name a mentor/partner pairing where at least one of the persons might be considered well-known or famous.
katie from wrote:
Robert Altman (director/producer) has mentored Tim Robbins (actor/director). Robbins has been a regular actor in Altman's films and you can see it in Robbin's work as a director. Sorry I can't offer any citations other than observation.

Marcel Robilliard from wrote:
I was watching a documentary about Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the interviewer stated that Quebec labour leader, Jean Marchand was a mentor to the former Prime Minister. I didn't know this, but I can also say that Pierre Trudeau was also my mentor although we never met. I followed his career closely and tried to model my own spirit after his. I am exceptionally saddened by his death, and I cannot imagine that there will ever be another political figure of his stature.

Jane Kreiner from wrote:
In the media, at the end of the school year, there was news about Prince William and the activities and hoddies he has. One article explained that he had not decided on his plans for this fall in regards to school. My son, who is the same age as Prince William was reassured that even somebody of Prince Williams status could be as confused about his future as my son is.

Grant Geissman from wrote:
I've become a pretty popular and innovative guitar player and most of my music is based on jazz, soul, R&B, blues and rock music. So I would say that among my mentors are B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. I think most people would agree they could be considered famous. My source is my own experience with B.B as well as the music I have written as a result of their influence. You know, come to think of it, I'm not sure either of them knows that I consider them to be mentors.

What evidence is there that mentoring makes a difference?
Jeanette Cournoyer from wrote:
Look around and think back to times when you needed guidance or support in your life. Chances are, someone was there to help out or provide a word of support. I had the pleasure and blessing of a mentor for 8 years in my work as a family counsellor. Without his guidance, support, and challenges, I would not be the same person today. Though I have moved into a different profession now, the effect my mentor had on my life is still present. Mentoring does make a difference

Stephanie Brasher from wrote:
I think that a comment from a recent mentoring program graduate sums up the answer to this question. She said that she now truly feels like a valued employee and that she is less likely to consider leaving the bank. In addition to making the participants feel like valued members of the organization, mentoring provides growth opportunities for both the mentor and the protege.

lynn doud from wrote:
Look at what young people have accomplished even with outstanding odds. All it takes is a person who is willing to give a few moments to listen or encourage an individual. In these hectic times, where everything is go, go, go; we all need someone to just tell us we're okay. It doesn't have to happen now, just have faith that if we don't give up, it will happen. I wish i had someone who would have told me that i didn't have to be perfect, just me.

lindie sothondoshe from wrote:
The evidence is seen in high performance, self esteem and morale. There is a positive difference in personal and career growth. Problems are seen as challenges and positive self-talk becomes a motto whenever faced with difficult situations.

Ruben Blades from wrote:
There have been many influences in my life and I can easily identify those Cuban musicians and Puerto Rican musicians who have helped me along the way. While this may not be direct evidence, I can attest to the fact that I wouldn't be where I am today if I had not studied with Tito Puente or Johnny Pacheco.

What mentor sites on the Internet would you recommend and why?
Suzann Sykes from wrote:
This is a great site. I am currently working on the research of setting up a mentoring network for start-up technolgy based companies. I just found this site. I have found the best info to date for our project at

Sarah Vernon from wrote:
I enjoy the resources available at the

Helen Baskeville from wrote:
I like this current site; however, I like the site for the National Mentoring Project. You can use their database to find mentoring opportunities right in your own neighborhood.

Jay Shandler from wrote:
Is the right answer: Peer Resources? After all this is your site. I'll be glad to let you know my mailing address so you can send me the CD and pin.

What is your favorite or most valued definition of a mentor?
Becky LaCoste from wrote:
My most valued definition of a mentor is: someone who loves. A mentor is someone who genuinely, deeply loves and is concerned for people, without condition.

Tuesday, May 23 at 09:23 AM:
renee from wrote:

Tuesday, May 16 at 04:47 PM:
Julie Traenkenschuh from wrote:
The people who have mentored me represent the very best of my chosen profession (and life in general) and have taken it upon themselves to see to it that I have every opportunity to be the best that I can be. They have nurtured and guided me (not done my work for me)in a caring and sincere fashion and have helped me set high standards for personal and professional integrity and continued growth. The best mentors also instill in their proteges a desire to mentor others.

Saturday, May 13 at 01:43 PM:
Diane McGee from wrote:
My favorite mentor was my Grandfather. He is most valued because of the lessons he taught me at a tender age that have endured the test of time and in turn has made me a valued and trusted mentor. His lessons were:

I value the lessons of wisdom and the time my Grandfather shared with me and strive to do the same for my Grandchildren.

Sunny Varghese from wrote:
A person who has gained your trust and confidence by guiding you through times when you were at cross roads and could not decide for yourself which road you needed to take.

Laura from wrote:
A mentor is the reliable soul who offers unconditional guidance and support that is respectful of the youth's culture, values, voice, and strengths and certain of the youth's promise.

Sarah Byers from wrote:
A mentor is anyone who has affected or changed your views in a way that has had a positive impact on your life and your views

Kathleen Meadows from wrote:
I am a mentor
I am here to listen...not to work miracles
I am here to help you discover what you are feeling...not make the feelings go away.
I am here to help you identify your options..not to decide for you.
I am here to discuss steps you can take...not to take the steps for you.
I am here to help you develop your own strengths..not to rescue or cure you.
I am here to assist you with helping yourself...not to take responsibility for you.
I am here to provide support, understanding and acceptance.

Andy Roberts from wrote:
Although it is not as 'spiritual' as some definitions I have come across, the following definition I located after applying an 'evolutionary concept analysis' approach to the review of 157 articles on mentoring covering nursing, education, business and the social services world - 1978-2000:
A process whereby a more knowledgeable and experienced person actuates a supportive role of overseeing and encouraging reflection and learning within a less experienced and knowledgeable person, so as to facilitate that persons’ career and personal development.

Richard Brautigan from wrote:
Someone with whom you have a reciprocal relationship who inspires, challenges, corrects, validates, guides, helps make informed decisions and stimulates intrinsic change.

Tweedy from wrote:
Someone you connect with who enriches your life.

Julio Illala from wrote:
A person who exhibits a common passion which enables two people to relate to one another in a way that is unique to them and results in mutual positive growth.

Sharon Pfieffer from wrote:
An individual who guides you through the maze of life.

Dorothy Littlejohn from wrote:
A mentor is a person who provides a safe, comfortable relationship for the exchange of ideas and experiences or a person that exhibits behaviors that serve as a role model.

Arnie Prior from wrote:
Anyone who provides an opportunity for leadership; there is rapport, the person is respectful, approachable, values your opinion and sees the relationship as a two-way street.

Lydia Dorsey from wrote:
Someone who helped you over the bumps and listened really well, not just to what you say, but also to what you mean.

What advice do you have for a person seeking a mentor?
Steve Sax from wrote:
When I had trouble throwing to first base, teammates and players on other teams initiated the term Sax disease whenever they experienced a similar problem. When I talked to my teammates about it and how I felt, they seemed to dismiss my concern and for the most part laughed it off. I think, though, it scared them. They were too close to the problem and worried that it might happen to them. I finally found someone who could help me: it wasn't a physical problem, it was mostly mental, but the person who could help needed to have some distance from my situation. My advice is to find a mentor who can have compassion and understanding, but is far enough away from your situation that they will not be secretly frightened by it.

Margaret Atwood from wrote:
My writing for the most part has been a solitary undertaking. But I have sought out the counsel of other and I can name at least two people I would consider mentors. They didn't start out that way. One was a lover and the other was someone I respected for the tough stand she took on a feminist issue. In both cases I was very explicit about what I needed. That's the advice I would give: don't be afraid to state clearly what it is you need to make your spirit fly.

andy roberts from wrote:
My advice would be to search out what a mentor is and is not; what mentoring aims to do and how. Then, stop and ask yourself 'why do I want a mentor?' Do I really need one? Wanting a mentor to help you 'get ahead' may prove disappointing. I am not sure you will find a mentor can guarantee you will achieve or succeed. If you simply want to share the benefits of the experience of others and be encouraged to reflect on what you do and why in a safe and trusting environment, then mentoring is for you. I would read the advice offered by others and then I would ask myself 'how comfortable did I feel with my potential mentor?' Mentoring is about humans sharing and communicating, so do not underestimate those first impressions - go with them!

Justice S. Parazo from wrote:
You have a right to choose your mentor. When you do, choose wisely by doing the following: (1) Conduct an interview prior to selection or assignment of your mentor. (2) Have and use a written list of criteria for choosing your mentor that at least includes:

  • Compatibility issues (education, intellect, etc...)
  • Influence (Can your mentor help you advance or provide assistance in advancing in your job?
  • Do your schedules match?
  • Does the mentor have prior experience in mentoring?
  • Does the mentor take a genuine interest in you as the protege or mentee?
  • Is the mentor easily accessible to your either face-to-face, telephone or via e-mail?
and (3) Assure yourself that you have a realistic need for a mentor and feel confident enough in yourself to be able to seek help and assistance from another person?

Alyssa Schultz from wrote:
Ignore their outside appearances (clothing, race, age) and listen to what they have to say. If what they say (or their views) intrigues you, makes you think, or gives you insight about what you were thinking yourself, they may be good mentors. Make sure you feel at ease with them and trust them to help you empower yourself.

What was the most influential comment a mentor made to you?
Rey Carr from wrote:
Wayne Dyer was one of my mentors. I had been teaching a basic communication skills class for a number of years. Often students in the class would meet with resistance when they applied the skills at home. Sometimes their attempts would be met with really negative comments. They would return to class and talk about their various feelings. One day, Wayne Dyer was on a radio talk show and was asked by one of the callers: "I have been learning a number of new communication skills and when I get home my spouse says, "Don't try that psychological garbage on me". What do you suggest?" I thought to myself, "Wow, now I will be able to learn what my mentor would say about a situation I have faced many times." Dyer was silent for a moment and then told the caller: "My advice to you is: don't hang around with losers!"

Sonja Nybo from wrote:
My 8th grade teacher once told me that I would make a great First Lady. I looked at him and said, "First lady? I'll be first lady president!" I didn't realize at the time how empowered that sentence made me feel and how is innocent comment helped me to realize that the sky is the limit. At the end of the year, that teacher presented me with a student of the year award saying that he believed I would go places and that meant the world to me because it gave me the motivation to do well in school, go to college, and chose my career as a school teacher. I'll never forget Mr. Axton and I try to keep in touch with him now and again because he meant/means so much to my motivation.

Kim Plascjak from wrote:
Performance, yours and that of others, should be your focus if you want to be successful at whatever you choose to do.

Richard Sperling-Jones from wrote:
I was vice-president of an entertainment company and responsible for network programming. My mentor was a former national newscaster who had retired from active on-air work. I was having difficulty making some tough decisions that would result in people losing their jobs. I discussed my dilemma with my mentor. He encouraged me to look within and go beyond being "competent" and capable. He asked me: "When your kids are adults, what perspective do you want them to have about you. What legacy do you want to have them live with. Because they will hold onto that viewpoint long after the people in your oganization have moved on."

What are the the best instruments for matching mentors with partners?
Jenifer Van Deusen from wrote:
While not an instrument exactly, partner choice of their mentor can be key to the development of a robust, profound relationship. The partner's perception of their own needs, both in terms of the content the mentor has to offer as well as the quality of their personality, enables her/him to make a reasoned choice about a relationship they can then enter into gladly and openly. We find, in using teachers to teach other teachers, that the mentor almost always learns as much form the relationship as the partner. Synergy abounds!

Carie from wrote:
Some instruments would include personal profile forms, and pre-match interviews with both the mentor and the participant. The key is to make the match fit the mission of the program.

Pearl Sundstrom from wrote:
While not exactly an instrument, I use intuition as a way to match. I have a conversation with each person and then based on their stated goals and interests and my intuition about a sense of fit, I introduce them to each other. From there it is up to the partners, but after a couple of years of doing this, it seems to work most of the time.

What are the advantages or disadvantages of matching males with females in a mentoring relationship?
Bill Clinton from wrote:
Men are less able to distinguish between caring and attention and attraction and lust. This might lead them to confuse boundaries and turn the role of mentor into the role of predator. I think it is safer if men mentor men and women mentor women.

George Smokler from wrote:
If the match is being monitored so that each person in the match can discuss any difficulties openly with a third person they trust, there will be no risk to anyone in the match.

Greta VanEerden from wrote:
Women often seek male mentors in executive positions because they think it might help them move up the career ladder. However, some males may confuse a woman's interest in professional advancement for interest in them personally and they may engage in inappropriate behavior.

Ovelia Barton from wrote:
Advantages: It allows both sexes to gain a better understanding or new perspective on the opposite sex's point of view. Disadvantages: Depending on which sex is the mentor, it can cause a the protege to feel inferior. For instances, if the female is the mentor, the male may not want to look to the mentor as a person who has more knowledge or expertise in that particular area.

The person receiving mentoring is often called a protege, mentee, or partner. What term would you choose and why does it make sense?
Kurt Langenback from wrote:
I would use the word "contact" for the person receiving mentoring because you are the one contacting with their feelings and also expressing your's with them.

Shawn Woodin from wrote:
In a strucured mentoring format I believe each person should be referred to as a participant. Without dedicated commitment to the program, little can be accomplished through an artificial relationship. Thus, "participant" implies active involvement on the part of each person.

Rey Carr from wrote:
In today's society I think it is important to use a term that reflects current views and trends. Three trends in mentoring influence my decision: respect, learning, and mutuality. That's why we decided to use the term "partner.""

If there is not personal chemistry in the mentoring relationship, can the pairing still be effective?
T N Praveen Kumar from wrote:
No, because the mentor may not understand the real urge of the protege. For example, if the protege wants to achieve something, then there is a motive behind that, if the mentor understands that motive he or she can be of great help to protege.

Kenni Spencer from wrote:
The potential for success is not as great, yet it can be effective given mutual respect between the mentor and protege, as well as, the ability not to allow lack of chemistry to interfere with the goal.

Nikki from wrote:
Every personal mentor connection serves a valuable purpose, each person can learn alot about thier own personal leadership philosophy. Although the chemistry might not create a viable connection, perhaps the best choice is to glean all that is possible from the relationship. Then, search out another mentor who perhaps follows the mentee's ideals more closely, so they can then model this person.

K Shue from wrote:
I believe the effectiveness of a mentoring relationship comes from the inherent respect each person has for the other. Mentors demonstrate their respect by being open to and assisting the goals and dreams of the mentee; the mentee, by valuing and modeling the skills and knowledge of their mentor. It is not necessary to have a personal chemistry to respect the other and this respect is the basis for the postive outcomes of the relationship.

Jay Leno from wrote:
I used chemistry quite often in a personal way in school when I was a student; you know, stink bombs, exploding toilets, that sort of thing. But seriously folks, every person I ever stole, I mean learned a joke from had some kind of glue or attraction. I guess it would be called chemistry today.

Does a person who is self-directed need a mentor?
Shawn Woodin from wrote:
A self-directed person knows what they want to acheive and is able to find the path to reach their goal. When obstacles arise, a mentor can guide them in their path. Does a self-directed person need a mentor? No. However, a self-directed person certainly could benefit from the friendship and support a mentor offers.

Trish Candler from wrote:
No. A self-directed person has goals far beyond the walls of corporate America. A self-directed person is disciplined, willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill happiness, and understands self promotion. To quote Tom Peters' article, The Brand Called YOU, "We are CEO's of our own companies, Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called YOU." A self-directed person does want to go the same way the predecessor (or mentor) has gone. A self-directed person creates the map, charts the course, and sets sail.

Michael Landers from wrote:
Yes even self-directed individuals will benefit from mentoring. Remember a mentorhas generaly been there and done that. They are an invaluable source of information and the mentor can help you avoid all the gremlins that attempt to delay or prevent you from achieving your goals.

Anne Sutton from wrote:
YES, a person who is self-directed still needs a mentor. On the US Department of Transportation internet site, there is a description of self-mentoring. In my opinion, this phrase contradicts itself. The purpose of mentoring is to share one's experiences. Self-mentoring implies that if you talk to yourself, you can succeed. To me, this sounds like reflection - not mentoring. The concept of mentoring should involve other people.

Kiss Tamas from wrote:
I think the answer is definitely YES. Learning to be a professional is a very challenging task and even the most self-directed might need some support. It might not necessarly be specific advice on how to proceed. Learners sometimes need only an informed acknowledgement of what they are doing from a distinguished member of the profession. This is what a mentor can also provide.

George Lucas from wrote:
I always considered myself highly motivated and confident. At the same time I was always open to learning. So my answer is yes, as a self-directing person, I have used and can continue to use a mentor.

What are the differences between coaching and mentoring?
Danielle Washam from wrote:
It seems to me that coaching is a form of leadership, while mentoring is a form of friendship.

Deborah Nechay-Hoer from wrote:
Coaching is a skill good mentors use and mentoring is a process

Carl A. Lindberg from wrote:
Mentoring is a personal longterm relationship of two people in which the mentor imparts their broad organizational and/or life experiences to the mentee. Coaching on the other hand, is less personal and more professional in which the coach focuses on impart particular skills to a coachee. Coaching, along with tutoring, sponsoring, are some of the major sub-roles of a mentor.

Beth Chiu from wrote:
Using map reading as an example, a mentor tells the mentee which direction to look for routes that can lead to his/her destination. A coach shows him/her how to arrive at the destination he/she wants. In organizational context, many people tend to view a mentor as someone higher in the hierarchy acting as general pointer for individual career development and occasionally with emotional support and encouragement. Whereas a coach always situates at the operational management and be charged with the responsibility for day-to-day performance and developmental progress of individual.

Tim Gallwey from wrote:
A coach helps somebody do what they already know is the right thing to do. A mentor helps you to determine the right thing to do.

adel domingo from wrote:
Mentoring gives a personal touch. It's just like an advise of a bestfriend while coaching is just for the sake of the job.

Monica Lewdinsky from wrote:
A coach can keep you from getting into trouble, while a mentor may lead you to the trouble.

Alvin Toffler from wrote:
In the future making distinctions between terms such as these two will prove futile and unproductive. Fewer people will be interested in definitions and roles and more people will be interested in results and practicalities.

Kiss Tamas from wrote:
I think that the most significan difference between the two terms is the relationship between the people involved in the 'trainnig' process. Coaching is a direct approach where the coach tells the learner or novice practitioner what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Whereas in mentoring the mentor tries to establish a relationship where mutual trust enables the participants to explore issues that are necessary for the mentee's development. In that sense mentoring is rather a voyage of discovery into the expertise of the profession with the guidance of an expreienced and trained leader. If we want to sum up the main differences in a couple of key contrasted key words, i would say that mentoring (M) is non-directive while coaching (C) is directive. M is exploratory while C is deductive. M is based on mutual trust where the mentor can learn as much from the mentee as the mentee while in C-ing usually the learner profits from the 'master'. Coaching is a bit like sitting with Nelly to learn the profession.

Rey Carr from wrote:
I've been both. As a coach I often feel responsible, in part, for the outcome. As a mentor, I usually feel more concerned about the relationship.

Ann Quinn from wrote:
Coaching sees that you do "it" according to the plan; mentoring helps you see the outcome and lets you do it your way.

Melissa Bachman from wrote:
I use them synonomously

Phillip Eisen from wrote:
The key difference is that mentoring is voluntary and coaching is typically either a paid activity of part of a job responsibility.

As a mentor what questions have you asked that proved to be the most engaging or valuable?

Loretta Grimmer from wrote:
I find myself just asking about their day in general. I find the more willing you are to listen, the more willing kids are to talk.

Ann-Marie Mitchelmore from wrote:
While working with youth I always ask them how they feel about things that happened in their past? What would they like to see changed? What things they can do to make things different?

Joanne Welton from wrote:
Do you feel good about you and what you accomplished today? If yes, why is that? If not, why is that?

Laurel Jones from wrote:
How do you feel about they way things went today and what would improve your day?

Mike Gardener from wrote:

  • How things are going?
  • What do you want to talk about that's most on your mind?
  • What do you hope to do in the coming days?
  • What help do you need and how can we get this help for you?
  • What can you do in the process?

Hank Saarinen from wrote:
As a coach I've asked parents critical of their child's perfomance to laud what their child did well before they go on to tell their child what they SHOULD have done to be better.

Lori Bazan from wrote:
I ask youth "What have you done well today?" By focussing on ones positives first it helps self esteem.

Marilyn Larsen from wrote:
What would you like to be doing a year from now? Five years from now?

Janice Cournoyer from wrote:
How would you like to be remembered?

Julie Falardeau from wrote:
The most engaging and valuable question I have ever asked the youths I have worked with is as follows. "Tell me about you, your life, your hopes and dreams, your goals?"

Donna from wrote:
What was it that motivated you? Can you try to reflect upon that and stay motivated? If you thought you could achieve your goal before, what has since changed your mind?

Ardith Davenport from wrote:
What do you see yourself doing in 1 year? In 5 years? In 10 years?

Jean Cooper from wrote:
Why? Sometimes, just probing with that same simple question helps the person get in touch with his deepest motives and sense of direction.

Marc Rush from wrote:
What detours have you taken in your life and what have your learned about detours as a result?

Kelly Butt from wrote:
Although none of us like to think about dying, when I ask people what they would like said in their eulogy, it makes them think beyond current skills and more importantly beyond their career aspirations.

Diane Williams from wrote:
Yes, but what do you really want to do with your skills? Where would you like these skills to take you? I find that most people don't think past the initial skill set and the immediate job. Answering these questions can make all the difference in a career that will truly make you happy.

Al Gore from wrote:
And I responded to Dubya, "How interested are you in knowing what I have to say?

George W. Bush from wrote:
I asked Al Gore, "How much do you really want it?"

What are some successful and unsuccessful ways of ending a mentoring relationship?

Brian Rogers from wrote:
In a mentoring relationship the sensitive mentor should be prepared to take the initiative. If the mentor is truly listening then the demise of the relationship should provide ample time to prepare response for the mentee. The ending of a strained relationship can, in and of itself, be an important, powerful mentoring tool!

Daniel F. Bassill from wrote:
My organization promotes site-based mentoring, supported by a core staff. We've close to 100 pairs of students/mentees involved at any one time. While each student is matched one-on-one with a primary mentor, he/she also has dozens of aunts/uncles who they meet while participating in weekly sessions and enrichment/learning activities.

In this processes the loss of a primary mentor does not cause the mentoring experience to end for the youth. The other mentors provide transition support. In some cases one of them becomes the primary mentor.

Our web site also serves as a home-base. As mentors leave the program due to job changes, etc. the program serves as a connecting point between them and the students they've mentored.

This is a long-term model of mentoring where the end goal is that youth end up in jobs and careers. By creating a way for the volunteer to stay involved, even if not physically part of the weekly sessions, we create the potential for the volunteer to become a supporter in other ways, and for a future opportunity for the volunteer to open doors for a job interview.

You can read more about this at and

Renee Trass from wrote:
1. Allow the relationship to naturally evolve into a peer- or friendship-based relationship.

2. Allow the mentee to wind the relationship down as they increase their skill set.

3. Assist the mentee into a relationship where they are now the mentor and this one will take over in significance to your partnership.

Denise Paranthoiene from wrote:
Relationship being the key word, communication being the essence, when both the mentor and the mentee are comfortable with an ending is surely the best end. Perhaps there will be no end but simply a lessening of contact or support in order to facilitate the growth for the mentee. Each relationship is unique and so the ending will be.

Jinaki Flint from wrote:
There are no successful or unsuccessful ways to end a mentoring relationship because these relationships should never end. The correct mentor teaches and learns. He/she gives and takes, just the right amount of information and guidance. Personally, if someone is a mentor, I consider that person a valuable part of my spiritual family. Therefore, seeking to end the relationship would not be the ultimate goal. There is no graduation ceremony for learning, for it is an infinite process.

Jake London from wrote:
Ellen Goodman, a US journalist once said: "There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its value." I think this is the simple truth in mentoring: preserving the sense of value. Too often endings in other relationships happen when one or both of the parties is disvaluing or even resenting the other person.

Vic Crane from wrote:
One very unsuccessful way: abruptly and without warning. So, a successful opposite to this would be that the relationship needs to be ended with time for reflection and evaluation for both the mentor and mentee.

Mentor relationships should begin with honesty and should end with the honesty also.

Josh Stettner from wrote:
I think that the most successful way to end a mentoring relationship is to do it gradually. In a way I look at it as someone who is trying to quit smoking. If a person is being mentored, and going for help, they cannot one day just stop. The example of smoking is that it is easier for a smoker to slowly go off of it, instead of quitting "cold turkey." If someone is being mentored, they are better off coming less often to see the person who is helping them, until finally the mentoring process can be eventually stopped altogether. A person become dependant on the mentor, and it is best to do things gradually.

Tuesday, April 03 at 01:05 PM:
Janet M. Tarlton from wrote:
I am a mentor coordinator and if the mentor or mentee are not happy with the relationship I encourage them to call me and I take it from there. I stress from the beginning that the success of the mentee is our goal. So when I speak to either the mentor or mentee about ending the relationship there is no blame and time was not lost as the experience helps us to better match them to someone else.

If the relationship is ending because the mentee is ready to go it alone, then we discuss this at our monthly mentor/mentee meetings and they get the chance to say if they want to continue or not.

denise hunter from wrote:
A successful way to end a mentoring relationship is knowing when the mentee has taken charge of their life, and through the support and encouragement of the mentor, has achieved their goal/s.

An unsuccessful way of ending a mentoring relationship is overstepping the boundary, and trying to offer advice outside of the mentor's capability. The mentor must know when to refer to other agencies who specialise in the particular needs the mentee may have.

Tom Peters from wrote:
My mentor asked me to do small jobs for him. At first I thought it was an opportunity for learning. I soon found out they were mostly errands and minor clerical jobs that I could get done sooner than his secretary. I didn't know how to challenge him on these "assignments." I was afraid to engage in any conflict dialogue. I just stopped showing up to meetings. I got transferred to another department.

J.K. Rowlings from wrote:
Endings have always been difficult for me. A mentor taught me, however, one of the best ways to deal with endings was to face them directly. He said to me one day here's how I would summarize our progress; how do you see it? How would you assess what you have gained from our connection and to what degree are you ready to move on.

Alan Muriera from wrote:
If a mentoring relationship is not meeting the expectations of either party, communicating the problem and providing a time frame (let's give this one week to see if we can work it out) might be one way of ending the relationship. Quitting a relationship cold turkey leaves both parties questioning their ability to mentor or be mentored. Providing closure is key.

Mark K. from wrote:
A healthy approach to ending a mentoring relationship would be to put words to the situation. This may not be comfortable in many cases but the act of doing this will "work out" a character muscle. Next time it may not be so difficult as a result and you will have the satisfaction of treating your mentor with dignity. Not doing so denies each of you the uncomfortable situation you may grow by.

David Crosby from wrote:
As far as knowledge goes, I grew beyond where my mentor could take me. I just stopped meeting. We saw each other less and less. The relationship just withered away. We never actually talked about it. I still haven't learned much about endings. I just avoid the feelings.

If you could select anyone to be your mentor (from history or living today), who would you select and why?
Joanna Barker from wrote:
M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, because of his open mind and willingness to learn from others. He is the first to admit that he's not perfect and that he has struggled with numerous issues throughout his life. His background as a psychotherapist, scientist, and theologian make him uniquely qualified to mentor those in need.

Satnam Singh Hundgenn from wrote:
Nelson Mandela. Because he demonstrated the perseverence to struggle, wait and finally acheive what he wanted and then gave it away to younger generation to manage for future.

Douglas Lafreniere from wrote:
I would choose Albert Einstein as my mentor. Having read all of his written works and many biographical renderings about the man, I would love to share his intelligence, wit and humour on a daily basis.

Jim Arthurs from wrote:
Former Prime Minister Trudeau, his insight of Canada and Canadians was nothing less than fantastic. His views would be invaluable when coupled with those of Ed Broadbent thereby providing a "human" side to the overall equation. In the end, no one person would suffice as a perfect mentor.

Laurie Herring from wrote:
Linda Ellerbe. Ms. Ellerbe was my idol or role model. She had broken thru the male-dominated journalism industry at the time I was going to college in the early eighties. She was true to herself and had a sincerity and finely-honed sense of the ridiculous which still comes thru her reporting today.

karen from wrote:

Donald Belkin from wrote:
The character Shane, played by Alan Ladd in the western, Shane. When I first saw the movie I was about the same age as Brandon De Wilde, who played the kid. I wanted to have someone in my life who cared what you had to say and could handle a gun like Shane. What a combination! Someone told me later that because Alan Ladd was so short he had to shoot most of the scenes standing on a box so he could be taller than the female lead, Jean Arthur. I would have liked to have known him in person to learn how he dealt with such a dilemma."

Rebecca Duncan from wrote:
I have not thought of this question before but without a doubt, the first person who came to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt. What a fabulous woman. Her gift to the world was a willingness to give to others in uncommon ways. By that I mean she had money, prestige and power (the ear of the President), but she used those things to benefit people who had no one to speak for them. An early advocate for Black people, poor people and women, she made her life count and often suffered public ridicule in so doing. But she didn't give up. My favorite quote of hers, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," must have been learned first hand. I know she had a great education and she was born into a time when it was not common for women to have a strong voice in public affairs. She is also a role model for women to take good care of themselves. I believe she learned, as many women do, by suffering heartache, to invest time in nurturing her self. She wasn't the best mother, but then again, who can be all to everyone? She is still an inspiration.

Jennifer Spencer from wrote:
I would want Princess Diana to be my mentor because she was a very compassionate soul. I would love to be able to learn from her and teach others how to be elegant in stressful situations, patient on hectic days and wise in the face of ignorance.

William Thorsell from wrote:
The person whose writing I admire most is F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would have liked to get to know him. I think he could have taught me how to make my words and phrases seem like songs.

Rey Carr from wrote:
John F. Kennedy. He was a great listener and radiated warmth and friendliness. He had ideas, yet always wanted to know what others had to say as well. What I liked the most about him was the sense of confidence and courage he exhibited in such a natural way. Being in his presence was like being in the eye of a hurricane; there was a sense of calmness and focus.

Not all experts agree on the best way to match mentors and partners. What method would you suggest and why?
Kari Ann from wrote:
I think that a lot of people would say to go by the gender and ethnicity, etc. of the mentors/mentees. However, I've had more success with my boys than with my girls (I mentor 15 middle-schoolers full time). Also, three of those children are black children and I'm white. They were way more open to letting me work with them than the other children were and we have a more open relationship. They come to me for help more often and are more cooperative. Aside from that, to match up the "one hour a week, one mentor/one mentee" pair, I would have each of the potential mentors and mentees fill out a "Getting to Know You" type of work sheet with questions about their hobbies, favorite shows, books, sports, etc. Then I'd match match them up according to shared interests. Also, on the mentor's work sheet, I would include a section on any specific experiences they've had that would be helpful to someone. For example, if you have a kid who's heading down the 'gang path' you would do better to match him/her with someone who's had gang experience and now wants to help kids make better decisions in that area. In my mentoring we can't do that, because I'm the only mentor and the kids are stuck with me, but I use a work sheet like that as an ice breaker. Then I know some things about them that I can relate to-we can share favorite shows, or sports heroes or music and that's my 'foot in the door.

I know that some people think that people shouldn't be matched up according to what they have in common, but I think that they should have SOME things in common. People are diverse enough that even with some things in common, there will be plenty of other things that are new to each other, keeping the relationship fresh and interesting. Also, this pairing by interest is really just somewhere to start. There are always going to be people who don't get along no matter how much they have in common. I think that the mentor has to do more to make the match work out than the mentee, but it just might not be possible (been there). You just make another match-up. And hope it works.

Bonnie Leigh from wrote:
I think the best method would be to get to know the mentee through survey and by personal contact with them; then have a number of mentors in mind whom they may get along with. I think of it in the same way that you might introduce friends to other friends. If they get along, that's great! If they don't, then try again, this time taking more time to further find out why the first mentor didn't work, and what they really want in a mentor.

Heather from wrote:
The mentoring program that our company is going to roll out is for career development. Employees working here for a few years who want to explore a different job skill can choose a mentor who's strength is in that job skill. Therefore, our mentors and partners are matched voluntarily. The mentors volunteer to be mentors and the participants choose which mentor would increase their career development interests.

Syed Sherazi from wrote:
Do we really need to match Mentors with Mentees? Having mentored a wide variety of people from different nationalities and cultures, I don't think it really matters who you are mentoring. To me mentoring is a voluntary act; therefore there should be no question of who one would or would not mentor. The mentor must have the skill and the desire to mentor somebody, to help them perform or feel better; therefore, the only thing that matters is the mentor's level of commtiment towards the mentee.

Joan L Stevens from jlsteven wrote:
As individuals are paired with other individuals, each one brings to the relationship their own unique experience. Some might think the best way to pair mentors with mentorees is to link two people with similar interests, goals and personalities, etc. Others think that pairing similar people might make the relationship stale and unchallenging. So there really isn't any right answer. It is a mystery what makes two people a perfect match. What good will a match be if there isn't any chemistry?

I believe a mentoring partnership should be between two people who one, want to work together, two, are willing to listen to each other and three, can learn from each other. Also, why limit a partnership to two people? A partnership among two or more individuals who have chemistry and a feel for partnership is few and far between. On the other hand, the partnership must also include the same goals. Is it logical to pair up a medical student with an inspiring actor? Maybe, maybe not. The medical student certainly doesn't know anything about landing a movie role. But a pairing of such different people can lead to amazing chemistry. This can snowball into a partnership that allows the individuals to inspire one another. Considering all the different ways mentoring partners can be matched, I think the best way to match mentoring partners is to allow mentors and mentorees to meet and get to know one another before making a long-term committment whether or not this is the right match for them. Pairing up people by computer programs or screening might not be the best solution. All relationships, whether it is friendship, love or employee/employer involves careful consideration by both partners. Why not have a gathering of potential mentors and mentorees so that they may chat with one another before making any further decisions? This way, if a partnership is formed, it will be a comfortable and productive relationship. Their fondness for one another will be the drive behind the program.

Althea Barnett from wrote:
I match mentors and freshman or transfer potege's in higher education. It is a three tiered match with a potege', a peer mentor (upper-classman student), and a professional mentor. I believe that the best way to match peer mentor and potege' is by things they have in common, ethnicity, gender, hobbies, etc. The best way to match professional mentors with a potege' is by career/professional interest. If the student has indicated an interest in a particular field, try and match them with a professional mentor who is working in that field or one closely related. For example, a student interested in nursing would be matched with a nurse, nurse practioner, or someone in the medical field. It helps if the peer mentor is also studying something close to what the student is interested in. This may give the student a chance to shadow their professional mentor and see if this is the career they really want to have. A peer mentor is someone who is close to the student's age and may possibly "look like them," so the potege' is more comfortable talking over confidential issues with them.

JoAnn Tsonton from wrote:
The match process starts at the time the mentor or mentee apply for mentoring. I believe that prior to the match, both mentors and partners (mentees) should be appropriately trained, screened and oriented to their role and the rules and regulations, policies and procedures of the program. Then they should be interviewed to determine their background, interests, reason for wanting to be involved in the program, what they hope to gain from the match, strengths, weaknesses and any other information you feel is important to know about the participants based on the purpose of the program itself.

I would not accept either a mentor or mentee into the program until they have been through this process. The interview should come last. At this point you have had a chance to observe the applicants (mentor or mentee) through training and orientation and have some ideas about them as individuals. At this point, also, they have had a chance to spend some time with you as the program administrator and feel comfortable with you and your staff. They are more likely to be open in an interview when they feel at ease in your presence. It also helps to have two staff people doing the interviewing. What one may miss, the other will pick up on.

Let us assume that you have a group of prospective mentors and mentees. At this stage you are playing matchmaker. Without all the above information to work with you are taking a shot in the dark. I would look at all the candidates, mentee and mentor, and make the match based on like interests, goals and personalities, expectations, and your professsional gut! Once you have made your selections, discuss your choices with the mentee and mentor. Gain acceptance. If either has reservations, make another selection. The success of the match depends on the appropriateness of the match!

Dan Shipley from wrote:
After experimenting with inventories, we decided to try an intranet-based system where mentors and their partners posted information about their interests, skills, and goals. We left it up to the individuals to make their own matches from the posted information, often supplmenting it with questions or interviews. Much to our surprise we had many more successful matches than when we used a more "scientific" method. We still, however, use what Rey Carr recommended: supportive monitoring to determine match progress and troubleshoot specific challenges.

Jeanine Dunhill from wrote:
We have contracted with a company that provides assessment forms for mentors and partners. Both parties complete the form and then there is a matching based on learning style preference, some personality factors, interests, and goals. The form takes about a half-hour to complete. I'm not sure how long the processing and reviewing and eventual matching will take. I like the system because it gives us a sound basis upon which to make the match and it is likely to decrease the time we have to spend correcting problems as well as dealing with perceptions that matches fail to gel.

Arthur Meaghers from wrote:
We use the mill-around method. All the mentors who have been selected and all the proteges who have requested mentors get together in a room and we tell them they have so much time to find a partner, initiate a conversation and determine whether the match is going to at least start out on a satisfactory basis. This saves us a lot of time, and although it might sound chaotic, it actually works pretty well. At the end of the time period, if there any people who have not made a preliminary match or could not find a satisfactory match, then we interview them to determine more details.

Jack Welch from wrote:
We find executives who are missing key skills in information technology and match them with mentors who are typically younger and have not been with the company as long. We call this reverse mentoring. The way the match occurs is through requiring each executive to find a mentor in this area.

What action should a mentor take when he or she learns that his or her mentoring partner has acted in an unethical way, such as making false statements about qualifications on his/her resume?

Rabia Siddiqui from wrote:
Since I am the mentor I need to know why he lied? Is the information correct about lying? If correct I quit.

Maureen Weber from wrote:
I believe that gentleness and understanding of the faults of others is the first consideration. Instead of acting in frustration and anger, I would confront the individual in as non-combative a way as possible in order not to create a strained atmosphere. I would calmly and without accusation tell the individual that I was aware of the situation and what could I do to help them rectify it. If it meant going with him/her to the proper authorities or just listening to him/her as to why he/she felt it necessary to lie. I would assure the person that they had many talents to offer so there was no need for deception. I would also attempt to assure the individual that I was not there to make judgment but rather to make him/her aware that the lie was known by me and perhaps others and that it would be in his/her very best interest to tell the persons in charge. I would remind the individual that one cannot mentor when the entire idea of mentoring is to be honest, forthright and Christian. In essence, I would ask them to examine their conscience, think of what Jesus would do, pray on it and then act accordingly and ethically. I would also ask them gently but firmly to please do the right thing so I wouldn't have to. It would be so much better for him/her to set the record straight for others and for her/himself.

jacqueline m. hare from wrote:
If I found this out, the action I would take would be of an adult manner, calm, collected, graceful, yet strong in a unintrusive way. Straight from the hip, place the resume in front of the individual, and ask the magic question: Do you have something to tell me about this? Give the individual a chance to redeem him or herself. This person has already breeched the character and intregrity bases by ethical standards. The trust factor has been breeched and this behavior is unacceptable in your space and to others.

Paul Rose from wrote:
The mentor should find out why the protege has "lied" and if so, make the protege aware that such behaviour will have a profound negative-effect on the high basis of trust needed in a mentor-protege relationship. The reasons for the "lying" should also be analyzed in order to help the protege. The protege should be made aware of his/her actions as well as possible consequences.

amanda musch from wrote:
The mentor should then remind the one in error that by falsifying their qualifications they are going to look bad for lying and not knowing what they are doing and will then lose their job. Instead of lying they should of asked where they could get training to learn what they didn't know to begin with.

Edward A Bouquillon from wrote:
The mentor relying upon the trust that has developed over the course of the relationship and to build the trust in deeper ways is called to quietly confront the protege regarding this behavior. A lack of response on the part of the mentor would be (in itself) an unethical act that dis-honors the mentor-protege relationship. If the relationship is a formal one (somehow managed by the organization) and the mentor may not have the confidence in the power of the relationship, the mentor may need to ask for help from the mentoring program coordinator or other resource to facilitate the "quiet confrontation". I would emphasize the low key approach to the unethical behavior described, due to the potential variation in perception of the behavior. Depending upon the "false statements" made; the protege may not perceive the behavior as unethical, so a dialogue must be allowed to develop as the issue is worked and understanding, and perhaps correction are implemented.

Alvin Mitchell from wrote:
One should first be sure that the information received was correct. Assuming it is correct, the mentor should first confront their mentoring partner accused of making the false statements and find out the circumstances surrounding that action.

L. Ioccoca from wrote:
A design engineer I was mentoring during the creation of Mustang revealed to me that she was having an affair with an intern from the community college. I had never encountered this kind of situation before and was stymied as to what to do about it. In those days we didn't have any policy regarding this type of interaction, but it seemed clearly inappropriate and unethical. Because I was so uncertain about it and somewhat shocked, I asked the engineer what was it that she hoped would happen by telling me about it. She told me more about the turmoil she was in and that she wanted to talk to someone to figure out how to proceed. She felt she had betrayed the trust of many people as a result of this affair and wanted to work on a plan to remedy the conflicts she created. Together we developed a number of steps which she courageously carried out. By not taking on the problem as my own but also by expressing acceptance of her dilemma, I think I empowered her to develop the best solutions for her circumstances.

Theda Spracklin from wrote:
I would suggest that the mentee go to wherever he or she sent the resume and fess up about the false qualifications listed on it. At the very least I would advise the mentee to correct the resume before it is submitted again. I would also ask the mentee why they felt they had to lie about themselves. From that question I think many issues could be resolved, or at least brought out into consciousness.

Bob Hughes from wrote:
In this case, the role of the mentor is not to be critical of the protege, but to help the protege move towards self-criticism as an avenue for improvement. In the current example, the obvious action is to initiate a discussion with the protegee on the ethics of the protege's action. Whether or not the mentor should end the relationship would depend upon the outcome of this discussion. The protege needs to demonstrate, through the discussion, an understanding of why their actions were unethical.

JoAnn Tsonton from wrote:
The role of the mentor is like a mirror: to reflect the behavior back to the mentee. The mentor should approach the mentee in a questioning way that does not show judgment, but causes the mentee to think through their behavior. This is basically a values clarification exercise for the mentor and mentee. The value drives the behavior which results in consequences. The mentee is better able to process through the situation when looking at it in terms of consequences, rather than being judged morally or ethically. A series of open-ended questions will help the mentee to realize the potential negative consequences of this behavior. This can then lead to a changing of the value and correcting of the behavior.

But let us assume that there is no change in thought process and the mentee sticks by the unethical behavior. The mentor has no choice but to let it go. Confidentiality requires that the mentor cannot tell anyone. And ultimately the mentee is responsible for his/her own behavior.

Kari Ann from wrote:
Well, I work with middle school-aged children, but I suppose this subject could apply to them as well. If I knew that they had cheated on a test or had been copying their homework off of someone else, that would be similar. Everything that is between the mentor and mentee is totally confidential unless what the mentee is participating in is harmful to themselves or others. This, although being unethical, isn't putting them in danger, so must only be discussed between the mentor and mentee. As mentors, we are to set a good example to the mentee and when a behavior comes to light that isn't acceptable, it may be because they don't know any better. It's the mentor's job to bring it to their attention and show them the right way to handle things. If the mentee doesn't take the mentor's advice, then there's not much that can be done. If the mentee is discovered, they will have to deal with the consequences. That's life, unfortunately. In the mean time, the mentor should continue to be a good role model and hope that what they have taught will eventually sink in.

Pam Mahal from wrote:
First and foremost, as a basic courtesy, the mentor should speak with the colleague to give him/her a chance to explain or clarify the "error". It would be a good time to discuss the situtation together and find a way to rectify it in a reasonable and not too humiliating manner.

Try not to be too judgemental because the false statement may have been made for supposedly the best of intentions, however, make it clear that the onus of clearing it up rests on the colleague and not the mentor. Try to set up a time frame for the colleague to have the situation remedied, and decide on what should be done if it is not done. The best course of action of course is for the colleague to rectify the situation him/her self, but if the need arises, then the mentor, as a responsible adult has the obligation to make it known, to perhaps only those who really need to know. There is no need to broadcast the information for everyone to mock the colleague. Hopefully, this will result in a better understqanding of what is and is not acceptable to both the mentor and the colleague.

Donna Bialik from wrote:
The mentor should let the mentoring partner know what he/she has learned, giving the partner an opportunity to respond to the allegation that he/she has behaved unethically. Perhaps the mentor has received inaccurate information. If the allegation turns out to be true, however, then the mentor should convey his/her disappointment and encourgage the partner to take steps to rectify the situation.

Alexandria Leynes from wrote:
I was assigned as a mentor to a younger female executive. I asked her if it would be ok for me to review her resume so that I could get a better idea of her experience and where she went to school. She had a graduate degree listed from a school that I also attended. However, in asking her about it, she was unenthusiastic and vague about the degree. I found out through other means she hadn't actually completed all the degree requirements. I wasn't sure how to bring it up, but I wanted to. I was more interested in what was happening for her that she believed it was necessary to falsify her status. Eventually,

The catastrophic events of September 11 in the United States had a powerful impact on many people. What did (should) happen in your mentoring relationship as a result?

Claire Stuart from ( wrote
Our North American personal needs in response to this event seem insignificant. The people of Afghanistan have needs that seem greater- they are being attacked by us, through no fault of their own. I would counsel caution regarding the advice of those who advocate war. (When was war ever a good idea?)

Olusanmi C. Amujo from: Odo Ere, Kogi State, Lagos, Nigeria ( wrote:
First of all, the event was a grevious assault on mankind and modern civilisation. In the course of my mentoring relationship, my mentor made me appreciate the horrific event as one of the failures of humanity. He said it was a collective failure of humanity to resort to a dastard act of terrorism as that of 11 September to settle political scores. He made me realize that it was not a fight against the USA alone, but against mankind.

He encouraged me not to entertain any anxiety. That it was one of those challenges of modern international politics and diplomacy. We concluded that it would lead to a large scale war with Afghanistan because it was the greatest assault to the integrity and pride of USA in recent history. Nothing can compare with this horrendous act in the history of the Cold War. We deducted that the US would take war to the corridors of the Talibans for two major reasons: to destroy all terror machines and networks of al Qaeda and overthrow the barbaric regime of the Talibans. Subsequent events in Afghanistan have proved our deductions right. At the end, my mentor took care of my emotions, feelings and misgivings.

Alan B. Muriera from: Raleigh, NC ( wrote:
Despite being a horrific event, it is also an opportunity for mentoring relationships to help each other understand the causes of the event and why anyone would want to take this type of action against the US. It is also an opportunity to explain that this type of event is not uncommon in other areas of the world. Young children live with the anxiety of war everyday and given the events and post events of this tragedy our young population will also experience this anxiety in the days to follow. Mentors should encourage normal activities but also be forth coming with feelings and emotions. Depending on the age of the person being mentored, they will deal with this event in different ways. Mentors must be observant and also quick to address the feelings of their partners. I have three children of various ages and mentor other youth. We have all sat down and talked about this incident in a group and in one to one conversations. I think they all felt better when they knew they were not alone dealing with this and that others their age also had the same feelings. Support is the key and education is the door.

Mechthild Meyer from Ottawa ( wrote:
Most people I work with are immigrants to Canada, like myself. I am in a way mentoring a group of Spanish speaking women through a process of gaining their first university credit course here in Canada. Many of them experienced some sort of déja vu which brought back lived experiences of war and destruction of a similar, and often even more devastating magnitude (family members were killed, their livelyhood was destroyed, and they had to leave their country of birth). Others grew up after the war, walking to school through ruins with the constant threat of World War III predicted by their parents. Siren tests were a monthly occurrence. The awareness that missiles were pointed, ready to 'rock' at any time were known early in childhood.

What we as immigrants discovered together was, that most of us, coming from Latin America and those of us coming from Europe had lived with a constant kind of fear, and had not grown up as 'care-free' as people here in North America. In some ways we could relate well to the feelings of powerlessness that many experienced here for the first time. We almost had been 'well prepared', as part of subconcious life skills training.

We also were able to tell people who lived all their lives in North America, that many of us immigrants had been able to survive our fears, have become stronger as a result, and that surviving is possible. What did we get in return from our Canadian-born friends and families? A greater understanding, why we had been, in the past, more intense, more politically interested in what shapes the society around us, more often seeing the 'problematic sides' when we had the choice of just skipping over. The event has led to a new understanding among 'us and them', we will see if it will bring us closer. I also gained a more indepth knowledge about what has shaped my life and why I became who I am.

Peter Dobrah from ( wrote:
I was meeting with my mentor on Sept 11. We both heard about the events at the same time when someone knocked on the door to let us know what was going on. She asked me if it was ok for us to pause and watch the news coverage. We both along with several other people in the office stood stunned as we watched and gasped at the horror and unbelievable events. I don't remember which one of us started to cry first, but we had tears. I asked her if it was ok for me to hold her hand. Everybody in the office held hands in a circle. My mentor took a deep breath and said we are all going to be suffering from this, is there anyone who needs to take action right now to check on others? I appreciated the way she expressed a caring for others, took charge of helping people move out of their stunned and helpless state.

What is the most important thing you have learned as a result of mentoring relationship?

Katherine Marchand from Richmond, British Columbia ( I have learned that I have a lot of knowledge that I have been able to share with others and have found this very rewarding. It feels good to have others look up to you and also that it makes them feel good about themselves as they too can now share your knowledge.

Fred Eidson from Denver, Colorado ( Being a mentor allows me to give back for all of the blessings I have received over the years. I try to combine the best qualities of the best people who have influenced my life. and pass on these qualities to the people I am trying to influence. Doing this helps me focus on what is important: caring, helping, and learning!

Deborah Calderon from Vancouver, British Columbia ( That we cannot be carbon copies of each other, but we can learn from our mentors. My mentors have helped me see the unique strengths I have, and have helped me to be like others I admire. For this I thank them.

Seun Arowosafe from Nigeria ( Well, to be a mentor is to act like an unofficial leader. It helps me to build self confidence, knowing people look up to me. Every single step I take helps them to make important decisions in their life, and above all, it helps me to show how much I care for everyone.

Dayle Anderson-Scherber from Warren, Minnesota ( I have realized that even though youth in my area have at least one parent and most have both they are truly in need of someone else to trust and to go to. Parents have become so busy that it seems they need to make more time for work than for family. It seems to happen without them realizing it. The youth are smart enough that they try not to interfere with the parents hectic lives even though they are in need of that adult time and guidance. Through being a mentor, I have found that the youth have, if nothing else, become more relaxed and comfortable with problems they face in their own lives by just realizing that there is someone else there for them - not replacing their parent, but just someone else to trust and go to.

Denise Lawson from Winnipeg, Manitoba ( The most important thing I have learned is how critical it is for each of us to have someone in our lives who recognizes our potential. Too often we do not realize what we are truly capable of becoming. We settle, we hesitate to take risks, we minimize, or we deny our true aspirations - dismissing them as foolish or impossible. A mentor's value lies in their objectivity - as it relates to our goals and the perceived obstacles - and their subjectivity - in their singleminded ability to push us to reach for the stars, and with them, our potential.

Sharon Wilcox from Victoria, British Columbia ( Throughout most of my life I have found myself in numerous situations where either I have been sought out for help and assistance to others, or I have sought out people to assist. I believe everybody has strong mentoring abilities at different periods of their life. I believe that everybody has strengths and certain paths in life that are unknown to them. It is in recognizing these strengths and abilities in people that allow us to give a true gift to another thereby giving ourself a true gift. Therefore, the most important lesson learned by myself is not judging others for where they are, but rather where they can go in both their personal and professional life.

Brynda Grubb from Burlington Jct., Missouri ( The most important thing I have learned being a mentor is that in the process of helping someone else I find a change in me and it is always a change for the better. I have acquired more tolerance, more open-mindness, more laughter, more appreciation for what I have, and that love can sometimes hide but it is never completely hidden!

Elaine from North Battleford, Saskatchewan ( That sometimes you are the "giver" and sometimes the "taker" and both roles are of great value to the people involved.

Twerner from Illinois ( The most important lesson I've learned would be how necessary it is to remember what it was like to be a kid. I am constantly reminded that although it seems kids are growing up faster in today's society, many of the issues they face are still the same as when I was a kid.

If you were to suggest a quotation to use in a mentoring relationship, what would it be?

Julie Ismail from Dola ( Sacred cows make the best burgers!

Mary from New York ( If you give a man a fish, you have fed him for one day. If you teach him how to catch fish, you have fed him for a lifetime.

Deborah Calderon from Vancouver, Canada ( Oscar Wilde said Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Connie De Leon from New York City ( We are in this together, we will accomplish together.

Mattie from Texas ( My first quote comes from Romans 8:28: All things work together for the good of those who love God, those who are the called according to His purposes. Then, my former pastor said, Nothing is wasted in God's economy. I use these two quotes often. I believe if we know that the things we are facing have life value and purpose, then we face them differently.

Lis from New Hampshire ( For me this quote sums it all up, "There is nothing we cannot live down, rise above and overcome." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tracee Schulz from Nebraska ( I actually have two quotations to cite. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthen 6:34) The other quote is "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." (Joyce Meyer)

Erika Alama from Becker, MN ( You can start your day over anytime.

Christopher Conklin from Eau Claire, WI ( These are some words of wisdom that I gained from my freshman history teacher, Mr. Gossen. "It's up up to you to determine your mood. To improve it, change your physiology, change your focus and ask yourself better quetions." Through application I've realized this to be true, if you stand up straight, focus on the positives and ask how you can make things better, there is nothing that can slow you down.

M. Pinkney from San Francisco, CA ( "Determine the price you are going to have to pay to achieve your goals, and then resolve to pay that price." Someone sent this to me a few years back. I apply this to my professional and personal goals. By evaluating goals as a cost (sounds strange, I know), it motivated me to focus on (and be precise about) the goals that were worth it. That is, the goals directly related to my core values. Precision is a wonderful thing. The money analogy worked for me.

Brian Easley from Beltsville, MD ( "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair", Langston Hughes poem, "Mother to Son"

Elizabeth Reyes from Fort Myers, FL ( "This world is but canvas to our imaginations." (Henry David Thoreau) and "America's greatest natural resource is the mind of our youth." (Walt Disney)

Shakeema Howard from Durham NC ( Every one needs help every now and then it's okay because we are human and mentoring is when one decides to open up that helping hand and it's a beautiful thing"

Kaye from Iowa (Little_foot Everything happens for a reason.

David Still from Atlanta, GA ( My favorite saying use to be, "The harder you work, the luckier you get." I applied the quote and found myself very successful working from 8am to 11pm every day. During a salmon fishing trip to Alaska with come clients, I came across a quote in INC magazine that changed my life. It stated, "Success is the residue of good planning." This quote was quite different from my usual, hard work, many hours quote. It said to spend more time planning for success, not working the many hours to succeed. Both quotes achieve similar results, but the latter will greatly enhance your whole life experience. One does not have to live and breeze success in every waking moment. Make time for Self, Family, Fitness, and Faith. Without this balance, your success will only result in a shallow, unsatisfying victory.

Sam J. Winkelspecht from Killeen, Texas ( My own quote: "I use to look at life and say: If it's this bad, it can't get much worse. Now I look at it and say If it's this good, how much better can I make it? Because I've realized throughout the years that I'm the only one who can make it better!

Peter Richmond from Plattsburgh ( We used a quote from Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic: "The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility. Without a global resolution in human consciousness nothing will change for the better and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed will be unavoidable."

What evidence can you site that shows that mentoring works?

Patrick McCauley ( My work at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Winnipeg has shown me continually the degrees to which mentoring can work. All I have to do is look at the boys and girls that I have worked with who are matched with caring volunteers, and see the many positive changes and strong relationships that have established themselves. That is my evidence that mentoring is so beneficial and needed both for the children that have been our clients and the volunteers who spend time with them.

Edel Marie S. Subida ( The fact that people are adept and equipped to do the work they are assigned to do is the most concrete proof that mentoring does work. I believe though that mentoring is not merely passing on skills so that the next generation can move on and even do things beyond what we can do. Mentoring's effectiveness is seen in the character and values passed on from one generation to another. That makes mentoring a very valuable vehicle by which we leave a good legacy for the generations to come.

Peter Beck ( Having personally run a graduate development programme in a large financial institution and 10 years later seeing several of the mentees in senior positions or alternatively meeting them outside the business where they are running their own businesses is sufficient evidence for me. This was a fast track development programme in a very structured hierarchial culture.

Barry French ('s a saying in Ireland: "You can't put an old head on young shoulders." Yet that is exactly what mentoring does, matches enthusiasm with wisdom to continue to push the envelope of job performance and satisfaction. Evidence? Look to history - Mentor was entrusted with Ulyssess" son. Or look to the here and now, for every leader in business, politics, or any organization that requires that the knowledge of the many be brought to bear on important decisions you will find evidence of mentoring working.

Que Banh (qbanh@shaw): I am living proof that mentoring works, it has taught me to appreciate what I have, to work with it and to push forward with my goals. Mentoring has also instilled in me a deep love of nature, culture, arts and literature. My most meaningful mentors were two elementary school teachers and my mother. At the time I did not think they were mentors but now that I look back I can see that they truly are mentors because of the impact they have had on my life by sharing with me their own life experiences and passions. One teacher taught me that although I may be disabled I can still be involved in sports, she gave me the job of managing the volleyball team because she could see I loved the sport but I couldn't play it. This teacher also taught me to love nature, my first time camping was when she took our entire class to a Gulf island. She was also an avid reader and my love of books stemmed from her introducing me to literature in a fun way. This teacher knew I had problems with self esteem due to bullying in my early years and helped me to understand that there was nothing wrong with me. She took time to take me to a rock shop and taught me to make my own jewelry because she knew my parents and I didn't have money to buy any fancy gifts for me. My other teacher mentor was a woman who taught the art class. She was a First Nations woman so she also taught us about her culture. She taught me a lot about tolerance between different cultures and people, she instilled my love and appreciation of all kinds of art. My mother has been the biggest mentor of all. She has had a hard life and she taught me that tough times don't last but tough people do. My mom taught me to never give up if I truly believe in something. She taught me that even without a lot of money your life can have a lot of luxuries that not even the richest people enjoy. She taught me that I am a strong person to have been able to beat the polio dragon once and I will be able to fight him again in my post-polio years because I have that strength of will in me. She has always been supportative with my goals in life and she encourages me to keep my head up when things are not going very well.

Leona Hladiuk ( My personal experience as a mentor as well as the mentee has convinced me that this type of relationship is important in all facets of our lives, not only our paid employment but in our volunteer, cultural, spiritual and recreational lives. I have benefited by tremendous wisdom and sharing of a mentor in the workplace. She helped me through what could have been a very difficult career transition but resulted in a very positive experience and gaining of a position at an organization that has given me great personal satisfaction. In my volunteer and spiritual activities I have had the opportunity to be a mentor for a great number of young people who are now proving to be great assets to our community and our church organizations. Mentoring is a "win - win" situation, everyone benefits not just the parties involved in the relationship.

S S Sarma ( I have during my previous employment mentored three of my juniors. They became almost identical to me in approach to work, ability to shoulder responsibilities and the willingness to take an additional step anytime. They have progressed very well in their professional field, I must say, at a better rate than me.

Tyler Collie ( Here are some remarkable improvements reported by manangers who use a mentor to coach them along in their business practices: (a) Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives); (b) Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%); (c) Teamwork (67%); (d) Working relationships with peers (63%); (e) Job satisfaction (61%); (f) Reduction of conflict (52%): (g) Organizational commitment (44%); and (h) Working relationships with clients (37%). My source is:

Jennifer ( According to Andrew Mecca of the California Mentor Foundation--A study performed by Public Private Ventures found that youth experienced a 52% rate of reduction in absenteeism and improved school performance. The "Sponsor A Scholar Program" in Philadephia found that mentored youth had higher grades in the 10th and 11th grades and were more likely to enroll in college. Little Brothers and Little Sisters matched with mentors were 46% less likely to start using illegal drugs. They were also 27% less likely to start drinking alcohol. Teen pregnancy was also reduced to 1.1% in mentoring programs as compared to 26% for peers. Delinquent youth in mentoring programs reduced recidivism by 65-75%. Mentored youth in the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters program were 34% less likely to hit someone. In California, the percentage of dropouts in mentored youth is half of that in the general population of youth. The rate of drug use in mentored youth is less than half of what is reported in the statewide student survey.

Joan Hay ( Having had opportunities to work with individuals in a mentoring programme, I can only site my own personal experiences of the successes that mentoring brings. Being able to listen to people, to listen to their fears, their issues, their hopes and aspirations and in return being able to support, encourage and motivate them and then to watch the personal growth begin to take place within them is the evidence that I can share. My evidence does not come from documentation or any other persons mentoring experience - it is purely based on my personal experiences and successes as a mentor. When I watch an individual grow from strength to strength in their self esteem and their own decision making, this is evidence enough - for me anyway.

At least two published works on mentoring have suggested that individuals can be mentored by events, writing of others, nature or other circumstances that do not involve a personal, one-to-one relationship. Describe how you have had such a mentoring experience.

Bary Herbert Parmeter from 12 miles north Of Canada ( A rather fragilely put together young lady survived a devastating childhood by finding comfort in the leaves on the trees outside her window which were always non-intrusively there for her; they would often gently wave to her and no one could take that source of her sense of well-being from her.

Jade from Canada ( We can be mentored by Near Death Experiences, dreams or spiritual exercises (example: chanting a spiritually charged word each day for 20 minutes or so). I had this happen to me 20 odd years ago when I had a Near Death Experience. It completely changed my life. I was "told" many things that are unknown to the general public, and have been following a spiritual path since then, going within for answers to life.

Suzi Hushen from Palmerston, Ontario ( In my own experiences, I have become a mentor inadvertently through some casual comments I have made in a larger Internet group forum. I have lost 120 pounds and kept it off successfully for four years. The response from the group was overwhelming (despite the fact the group had nothing to do with weight loss) asking me to outline how I had achieved this goal. Months later, I received personal messages from individuals telling me that my conveyance of my experience had encouraged them to pursue a renewed program despite (or in spite of) the fact that I did not know them personally. It really gave me a sense of accomplishment!

Fernando Bobbio from Perú - South America ( It was back in 1986, when I had to go to the Andes. The town was called Santa Rosa and there were only 300 inhabitants. There was no electricity and not that much means of communication. The people around there only spoke Quechua and my family and I, only Spanish. There was no way of communicating with the people there, but the surrounding made us realize how interesting life could be without the means or media of a big city. We had to learn to survive, for we had to stay there for a whole year, and nowadays, when I have a problem, I just think about the time I spent there and the ways I solved problems, for example, education, for I was still at school and I only had to read a lot to learn. No one would supervise me, and no one would be able to help. For me, that was a nice and rewarding experience, where my family and I had to mentor ourselves, through reading and deep thinking.

Kelly from New York ( I read about something and tried it. The author relayed a technique he used called a personal board of directors. He made a list of people he would have as the board of directors of his life. Then whenever he had questions, reservations, needed advice, he would "ask" his board of directors. This asking took the shape of journaling. I tried it and continue to use it. My board of directors includes my mother, Oprah, Brandeis University professor Jyl Lynn Felman, my aunt Jenny, and author Alice Randall. When I feel the need, I take out my journal and ask them a question. I then proceed to write what I think they would say to me about my situation. This is a really helpful technique and is basically mentoring by people who you may have never met, but know enough about their beliefs, strengths and values to surmise what wisdome they would share with you if you could in fact, sit down and talk to them. I highly recommend it. Who would be on your personal board of directors?

Posha Eliza Green from Los Angeles ( I have read many books on divorce, unhappiness, job success, and how to raise your children. You name it, I have probably read it. There are good life stories out there that will encourage you to heal in any hardship or just put your life on the path it was purposed for when you were born.

Julie Henderson from Victoria, British Columbia ( Stretching beyond my past, changing what I believed about myself was done through mountain climbing. Eighteen years of moving toward my goals in the mountains has provided me with a depth and breadth of mind, heart and soul. I am now the person I want to be and approach the summits of my career and personal life with the same mantra. Calm, caring, concerned and complete.

Deborah Calderon from Vancouver, Canada ( I have to agree. There has been many a time I have gone to a good book for counsel. When I get in a flap and start worrying about trivial things, it can slow my life down and paralyze my work. At times like these I go to an old favourite book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" and I am comforted. Just picking up the book calms me and I know that somewhere inside I will find the advice I don't even know I am seeking. Having a book that helps in your life is like having a mentor there always when you need one most.

Ghislaine Meilleur from British Columbia ( I thought I would go into the mentoring I felt from the writings of Alice Miller, a Swiss psychotherapist, who has published many books on the childhood roots of long-term problems. I could have mentioned how these books helped me solve some lifelong problems I couldn't see for myself. It is nevertheless the case that I am the product of the University of Toronto and the majority of my formation was enabled not only by the written page, but mostly by people who were already dead. I came to treasure reading lists as representations of the people behind them, and I use books and reading lists in my mentoring of others. However, I realize not everyone can glean needed information, feedback and comfort from such an elite source. I've never had a book just make me a cup of tea, and listen to me.

What would you suggest as one of the top Internet resources on mentoring?

Harold Atkinson from: Plattsburg ( Comment: I like this site at Mentors/Peer Resources (

Laverne Brown from: New York, living currently In Illinois ( The wealth of information that we pooled from the Internet was astounding. We received most of our information from the National Mentoring Partnership ( We were able to look at a Faith-Based Mentoring Programs as well as other type programs. They provided a history of mentoring, the icon (Double Omega) and history of the double omega. If I had to choose just one website this would be it

Steve Hutchinson from: Cameron, MO (Hutch@ PV.Cameron.K12.Mo.US). This website (

Jesse Michaud from the University of Southern Colorado ( I believe that the Internet has greatly helped our program. But it wasn't just one website that made all the difference. We looked at other schools' webpages and their programs and we took something unique from each one. Everyone has such splendid ideas on how a peer mentor program should work. The only way we can evolve is to take the best parts of a wide variety of programs. With any good program research is the first and most important step.

Chavallia Anderson from Chicago Illinois. I think that is the best web site because they provide lots of interesting ideas and events.

Donald Averhill from: London, England ( I have been searching the Internet for about 2 months and this site, Mentors/Peer Resources (, has the best combination of sources for what I need. I really liked the book reviews and mentor program tips. I will consider becoming a member so I can access the program information details.

What, if any, is the relationship between gender and mentoring results or outcomes?

Chico Dedick from British Columbia: I feel the relationship between the same genders is probably more beneficial as there is more chance of bonding.

Vineshree Pillay from South Africa: Society has placed different expections on men and women, so the measure of success will differ as well. However, I feel that looking on a finer note, personal success for almost every individual is the same, everyone wants to be in peace and harmony with themselves and the rest of the world.

Jenny Lomas from Pendleton College: Whether the mentee is male or female the mentoring process is still subject to the same possibilities of failure or success. It largely depends on the effectiveness of mentoring strategies employed and the individuals involved in the process.

Diane McGee from Angus, Ontario: I have found when "Mentoring" someone of the opposite gender that the results have been very positive. The secret is you must win their confidence and trust. Many times if a man has not had a good relationship with females in his life he might be reluctant to open up and be comfortable being "mntored" by a female. I have had much success with men who often sell to females and who realize they need to develop "Female Think" if they wish to be able to sell to the 80% decision maker (women). We as women buy differently then men and if you are stuck in a place where you don't try to understand women, then sorry guys, you just might lose that sale.

Doretha Newkirk from Maryland: There should be a good outcome between the two individuals when the client is responding positively within a certain period.

A major mentoring organization is proposing a set of standards for mentoring programs. In what way(s) might such standards help or hinder the development of quality mentoring programs and services?

Chico Dedick: I believe it would hinder. We need diversification.

Laura Davis from Ohio
Comment: I attended a training recently entitled "Communicating and Coaching" and was surprised that the trainer did not know that there was a distinction between Mentoring and Coaching. That said, setting standards might set some clear guidelines for program development and for evaluating a program and obviously for defining terms. However, some key components of a successful mentoring program are customization, diversity, and agreement between participants. One might wonder if standards get in the way of these qualities.

Patti Martin from: New Port Richey, Fl
Comment: Setting standards for mentoring programs has the potential to help or hinder the development of mentoring programs and services. Standards are often a nice starting point for developing programs. They can serve as guidelines for a comprehensive program. When used as intended, standards can prevent program developers from overlooking important aspects of mentoring. As long as standards are not limiting, they can be beneficial.

At the same time, standards can be detremental if viewed as the final word on how a program should be implemented. Mentoring is so specific to the person or group being served, that any set of comprehensive standards could easily be limiting, especially by those managing a mentoring program.

Standards for mentoring, like any other set of standards, are only as beneficial as the people implementing the program.

Diana Deleon from: Carrollton, Texas
Comment: Like some people say "If it is not broke, don't fix it." I can see having guidelines and standards but if you have a good program with the people and services you have and you feel if you set different standards and lose the people because they are thinking their standards aren't at a good level then would you be accomplishing the goals you are looking at?

Gayle Carwile from: Evansville, Indiana
Comment: I have found that set standards seldom benefit the majority that it is intended for. More often it is a small percentage who actually fit a list of standards because people and situations are usually so diverse. Also, if the person or people that set the standards have not actually experienced a unique set of circumstances such as those in need of mentoring, then it can be a "thorn in the side" of both those needing mentoring and those who are trying to provide that service. I believe guidelines that are developed with margin for diversity would be much more beneficial for the majority. Standards are simply stifling.

Michael Frueh from: Currently Washington, DC
Comment: There are plenty of good reasons that necessitate the development of standards against which programs can be measured and evaluated. Without constant measurement and evaluation there is a strong likelihood of the initial energy created in the inception of a mentoring program evaporating.

The main problem with proposing standards for mentoring programs is that each company's (or government agency's) objectives could differ, thus a "standard" wouldn't necessarily be applicable. For example, one company might be establishing a mentoring program with the goal of increasing diversity at the firm (ala FannieMae), whereas another company might be experiencing high attrition and lengthy culturalization of new employees, driving them to desire increased retention and shorter "break-in" periods for new employees.

I do think that developing comprehensive standards for a variety of aspects of mentoring programs is possible, and companies could pick and choose like a cafeteria plan those standards that may apply to their particular business needs (and may adapt some of their strategy based on exposure to these standards).

K. Johnson from: Sacramento, California
Comment: Help: Minimum standards enable reciepients to guage quality or degree of the mentor relationship. Hinder: Mentors may choose to quantify their relationshipp by the minimum standards only.

Ali Blaylock from: Stuart Florida
Comment: Standards provide guidlines for participants and categorical areas needing to be considered and this would help to make a newer mentorship program more well rounded. However, standards sometimes hinder by creating a percieved a ceiling of achievement that without, some mentorship programs might discover new territory or new ways of doing things that enhance success.

Gary Musicante from: U.S. Government Printing Office
Comment: I believe having a common "yardstick" to assess the effectiveness of mentoring programs would be a desirable tool. There seem to be a lot of mentoring programs in both the public and private sector. As a representative of a group interested in developing best practices, it would be useful to provide organizations and programs with not just a set of commonly agreed upon desirable program features but a heuristic to make meaningful comparisons to answer the very basic - yet essential - question, "Did we make a difference?"

Heather Floyd from: Akron, Indiana
Comment: It will set certain criteria for mentors. It will give an example of what is expected of these kinds of relationships. I don't believe any hinderance would occur.

Geri Salinistri from: University of Windsor
Comment: I believe a formal mentoring program is important for consistency and reliability. It should be assessed and monitored regularly and both the mentor and mentee must see both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards from the relationship. It should be a mutually empowering relationship. The match should be made with standard requirments as well.

Bobbie Grice from: Lebanon, Ohio
Comment: There has to be some guidelines or an outline, but strict standards would stifle creativity. I feel the mentor must have training and be willing to spend quality time, but again strict standards would take away something from the process.

Dave Taylor from: Somewhere...
Comment: In every instance where so called "standards" are enforced upon well meaning individuals that choose to contribute their time and efforts for the betterment of others the quality of the program deteriorates rapidly because the individuality of the donors is removed. Guidelines are great. Standards are ridiculous as they serve to impose the feelings of a few upon the majority.

Audrey Lawrence from: Canada
Comment: In some ways, a successful mentoring program and/or experience is as much an art as it is science. It is often a delightful mix and balance of chemistry, organization fit, and opportunities that may arise for which the person wants mentoring.

Having guidelines is very effective; however, too rigorous applications of standards may wipe out some of the most optimal experiences.

Brenda Rollins, Ed.D. from: Georgia
Comment: A set of mentoring standards could be the basis of a search for information about mentoring. This search could lead to a better informed leader/mentor and more opportunities for prospective and working mentors to learn and grow professionally. There is a chance that a preset list of mentoring activities and objectives might give the impression that what is listed is the only information and actions which are acceptable for mentoring. If I were developing such a set, I would make sure that the reader could discern the information and know that this was meant as just a beginning or a foundation upon which to build.

Angela Spiers from: Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology
Comment: In proposing a set of standards the impact can have both positive and negative issues. Let's start with the positive: In developing standards this would generally be done on an administration level. Thus, creating essential 'buy in' for the concept of mentoring and mentoring programs. In other words, improving the sustainability of the program when the top/down feels that there is some visible control in the program through policies and procedures. Furthermore, by setting standards this can also lead to goal setting for the program and a sense of acheivement once the program has reached those goals. Also, specifically for the mentoring process one would also want to have a "Code of Ethics" for mentors to set boundaries.

On the negative, mentoring should be classified as a "malleable" process. Imposing specific standards "pigeon-holes" mentoring, when in fact the process should be adaptable for cultural and social and requirements for the program in that setting where it is being developed. One would not want to compromise the natural ebb and flow of mentoring by getting bogged down by paperwork.

Elizabeth Hunter Harrison from: Birmingham, Alabama
Comment: Having a list of best practices is a good resource for Mentoring Program Coordinators. One suggestion is to make the set of standards cover a range of work settings and offer some innovative approaches that result in increased satisfaction of participants. A program might be excellent in the tools and processes but the real success in mentoring results in engaged participants who want to establish learning relationships.

Laura Winge from: Minnesota
Comment: I have found that standards don't always fit that "gray" area. Standards should be used as guidelines to help "guide" you to the hows and whys of how the program works. But give room for individual approach or other applicable approaches to reaching the same standard or outcome.

Suzanne Potts from: Southwest Virginia
Comment: Setting a standard in mentoring may help other programs by allowing the usefulness of what other groups have already experienced and found successful. On the other hand it will greatly hinder the experience because everyone has to fit their programs to their participants. My program, for instance, involves children from 10-14 along with their parents. I can not use a lot of the information I obtain from seminars and others already involved in mentoring because of the age range that I work with. Also if there is no room for creativity no one could find out new ideas that could work even better.

Jason from: Orlando, Florida
Comment: If the standards were applied to those individuals who wished to participate as a mentor or coach then it could have some positive effect. Much like too many people think they are trainers when they are not, too many individuals are under the false impression that they are good mentors. Program standards, if kept general and basic (i.e. not too restrictive as to inhibit new advances in mentor or coaching theory or pratice) could be good for the entire industry.

Suzie Jokic from: Australia
Comment: It will help by: (1) enable both the mentor and the 'mentoree' to have a clear understanding of the role of the mentor and what to expect from each other; (2) encourage a commitment; (3) result in more suitable candidates by providing better screening of mentor applicants. It could be hindered by scaring those that have a natural talent for the role but may not want to apply because of all the standards (lets face it it will feel like applying for a new job and how many people like to do that!)

Norah Prince from: Burlington ON
Comment: What type of standards? Ethics and values defined would be a good guideline to follow in support of the program.

Cynthia Muir from: Houston, Texas
Comment: I have been involved with mentoring programs, including developing and implementing them. Bottom line: They are only as good as the individuals (mainly mentors) participating. That said, I believe standards would help participants understand what is expected and define (some) measures for success/failure. For example: If you were to require mentors/mentees to meet at least 2 times per (month/quarter, whatever), for at least 2 hours, this does 2 things: It lets the mentor know the time commitment required and assures the mentee of face time with his/her mentor (with, hopefully, the exchange of valuable information -- the most important. aspect of this process). Providing assistance with the mentee is also important - such as suggesting a list of questions for this meeting to make the greatest use of the mentor's time. Or, even a pre-meeting. email or conference call to determine an agenda for the meeting. Clearly, it requires a balance between standards and allowing the free exchange of information and experience, but defines reasons and goals for the relationship.... even duration.

Dawn Graham from: Laporte, Indiana
Comment: Due to the fact that there are no currently held set of standards for mentoring programs, it may hold to help in the processing of new mentors in an organization. A standard of processing criminal background checks may be helpful, especially for newly developed programs. However, do to the nature of mentoring progressing into work environments as well as into school settings, the standards would have to be broad enough to meet the needs of mentoring programs without limiting creativity and freedom.

It's rare that mentorship is the subject of jokes or stories told by comedians. However, there must be funny stories. As a change of pace from our more serious questions, please leave a funny story or joke about mentoring.

Or from: Israel
Comment: This is a true story and it wasn't funny at the time, but now that I've had some distance from it, the event seems laughable...not necessarily funny though. My mentor was a senior professor at a university. I was working on my Ph.D. dissertation and was strongly influenced by what my mentor had to say about my research work. He was an excellent catalyst for me to think more deeply about my ideas. He listened very closely and asked very tough questions. While his listenign and questioning really helped produce and make progress, I really didn't think he thought very highly of my research. Don't get me wrong; I know he believed in me, it was just my research that didn't seem up to his standard. Man, was I surprised that after I graduated, I saw his name as the sole author of a published article that was virtually identical to my research! Some frustrating discussions led to some legal wranglings. We don't talk anymore. What an absurd ending to what proved to be a highly fruitful relationship.

Berthold Varni from: Seattle
Comment: One day when I was finishing the clean-up of my music room at the high school where I have been working for 28 years, a messenger came in with a letter and a set of keys. The letter was from a student I had mentored more than 20 years ago and he thanked me for all I had done from him while he was in high school. He needed a lot of attention to help him connect to his innate talent. He was virtually mute in class, but when he played or sang all the other students would typically stop what they were doing and listen to him. I asked him to help me clean up everyday after school as an excuse to engage him in conversation. We talked about many things, including hobbies, likes, dislikes, goals, dreams, girls, sports, and cars. Eventually he started talking to other students. Well, so far, there's nothing really funny about his growth and development. But let's get back to the present day. In his thank you letter, he recalled how important those conversations had been to the current success he experienced. And he remembered one conversation where I had talked about my dream car...a Porsche. His letter ended by saying, "I hope you still get a kick out of fancy sports cars, because this set of keys fit your new car which is now in the parking lot of the school." I took the keys and went outside and sure enough, there in the lot was a brand new Porche. I started laughing because I had also told him how much I looked forward to having a baby. I thought I'd better call my wife at home and see if she received anything.

Salah Al-Mahdi from: Sudan
Comment: My story is about a mentor and a mentee. The mentee got so influenced and impressed by his mentor to the extent that he started to copy him in every thing. The way he talks, walks, dresses, eats and even writes. At the beginning, the mentor was very pleased that he had such an impact on his mentee. But, later on, he got so embarrassed and felt that it was too much. He, the mentor, started to change some of his habits and routine. The mentee started, in a frenzy, to catch up with his mentor's new habits. It was funny because the mentor was trying to change things as fast as he could, and the mentee to imitate at the same pace!

Cassandra Bennett from: St. Augustine's College, Raleigh, NC
Comment: I was in a meeting with a mentee one day and I was in the process of encouraging her when she, expecting the opposite, stated the following: "I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now, please don't bring me down".

She is one of our program participants that has difficult with her schedule. We have been working with her in an attempt to help her understand the periods where she has down time and to discipline herself to study during those breaks.

Marna Kleynhans from: South Africa
Comment: The mentoring relationship is like a marriage-same issues-just without the sex! (Hopefully)

Sally Hartman from: Louisiana
Comment: I mentor a small group of children and we meet three times a week. One night during our first gathering, as I was going through some of my notes, I ripped out a sheet of paper and threw my paper in the trash can. When I tossed the paper to the trash can, I barely made it over one of the children's head. Ryan, the near-hit victim, quickly "ducked" out of flying paper ball's path. Dakota, another child in the group congratulated his peer, and turned to David and said "Hey Dave did you see Ryan duck?" Dave being a daydreamer quipped to Ryan, "Hey I didn't know you had a duck". The group laughed and bonded that night. Laughter is the best medicine!

Kim from: St. Ignace, MI
Comment: I have been matched with my mentee for almost two years. One thing I taught her came back to smack me square in the face. I was trying to teach her the meaning of the word "consequence." For a couple of weeks her behavior, both at home and when she was with me, was becoming a problem. I was trying to teach her that in life we all have choices to make. I told her that you alone control whether to make a good or bad choice. One week we were going to a see a movie, and I told her we would buy our candy at a store before we went to the show because it would be cheaper. All of a sudden she looked at me, put her hands on her hips and said "Think about it, Kim, good choice or bad choice? It's against the rules to bring in candy from outside, but you make the choice." Slapped right in the face with my own words by a seven year old.

Dr. Mervin Freedman from: San Francisco, California
Comment: My mentor was a university professor in a graduate psychology program. We used to meet regularily, and most of our meetings were done standing up and talking to each other. I would usually stand facing him. However, after just a few seconds he would move more to the side. I would re-adjust my position to face him again and have eye contact. Again he would move slightly to the side. Our conversations, if observed by a third-party, might look like we were going in a continuous circle. One day I finally got up the nerve to describe our "dance" to him. He laughed and said, that he was hard-of-hearing in his right ear, so it was better for him to turn his left ear toward the person he was listening to. He was a terrific listener!

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