This revised and updated edition offers step-by-step guidelines for creating a cost-effective mentoring program that will foster employee learning and growth. Shows how these programs can be rewarding for mentors and can contribute measurably to both individual and organizational performance.
Review By: Diana L. Mandli
04/27/2002This is an updated edition of a book that was originally published in 1991. The original work has since become a classic to individuals in management and other walks of life who are interested in facilitating mentoring relationships, either for the benefit of their organizations or for their personal benefit as mentors or protégés.
As with the first edition, the revised second edition explains the concept of mentoring, provides guidance for assessing needs and determining whether an organization is ready to take on the challenge of a facilitated mentoring program. It offers advice for structuring the mentor role, provides suggestions for evaluating the effectiveness of mentor/protégé relationships, and presents ideas for selecting protégés and making the mentoring relationship work. Further, the second edition benefits from the author’s ten years of experience since the book’s initial publication. It offers updated models (best design and practices) and examples (good and bad) based on real mentoring processes and relationships. It presents a frank discussion of gender, culture, and relationship concerns that may interfere with successful mentor/protégé relationships.
In addition, the design and organization of the second edition takes into consideration both first-edition readers and the time limitations placed on individuals in management positions across the board. To facilitate the book’s effectiveness, individual chapters were developed to “stand alone,” enabling readers to jump to areas of primary benefit and interest, and to assimilate and comprehend the information presented without having to read the book from cover to cover. In the introductory sections, the author provides readers with a roadmap to ensure that individuals interested in acting as mentors, participating as protégés, establishing mentoring programs, or learning about mentoring from ground zero are directed to the appropriate chapters of the book.
The concept of “facilitated mentoring” is intriguing. Many individuals like myself who are involved in software Quality Assurance, testing, and development, have benefited from and acted as mentors. However, of the mentoring experiences I have participated in or witnessed, all were examples of situational good fortune—mentor and student happened upon one another by luck of the draw. The author’s fundamental premise is that successful mentoring relationships need not occur by luck. Through a convincing array of logical arguments and testimonials, the author presents a strong case that with careful evaluation and a coordinated, management-supported process, arranged and facilitated mentor/protégé relationships can be established, and can benefit the participating individuals and sponsoring organization enormously. Since mentoring already plays an important role in our industry, I believe the information presented by the author is valuable, and that implementing a facilitated mentoring program is worthy of consideration by individuals in various development, QA, and testing functions, as well as all levels of management.
As I had not read the first edition, the information presented in this book was new to me. I was impressed with the author’s candid style, genuine enthusiasm for and extensive knowledge of her subject. I also appreciated her obvious effort to organize the information so it would be of maximum value to readers.
Most useful were her discussions of pros and cons of mentoring to the company (chapter 3), the protégé (chapter 4), and the mentor (chapter 5). These chapters offer balanced perspectives of benefits and potential detriments to all parties involved. That information supports the evaluation process described in chapter 7: assessing whether an organization has the need to establish and the resources to support one or more mentoring relationships. I also found chapter 10, “Involving the Boss Who Is Not the Mentor,” very useful, since in software QA and development, a mentor is far more likely to be a peer than a manager. Finally, the mentoring models presented in chapter 6 offered enough different examples of structured mentoring programs to assist the reader considerably in developing a company-specific program that will take into account the organization’s resources and goals.