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November 2011
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TD Magazine

Keys to a Learning Partnership

The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships (Second Edition)

By Lois J. Zachary

(Jossey-Bass, 288 pp., $36)

Because the practice of mentoring continues to evolve, mentoring expert Lois Zachary has written a second edition of her practical workbook for new mentors to reflect the latest knowledge.

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This new edition includes two full chapters about the context of mentoring that cover the need for mentors to be sensitive and knowledgeable about the many potential differences between the mentor and mentee, and the various types of mentoring that exist today.

To ensure effective mentoring relationships, mentors need to be culturally aware—be that in dealing with mentees from different countries; with a different sexual orientation, gender, or ethnicity; or of a different generation. The book discusses the generations in the workplace today and the newer forms of mentoring, such as reverse mentoring, as well as what mentors need to keep in mind to facilitate effective virtual mentoring situations—which are more and more common.

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What makes this book really shine are the examples of dilemmas and successes of real-life mentoring pairs. Its likely that all mentors and coaches have been in these situations—and Zachary deftly includes stories to bring these situations to life. Even with uncomfortable situations, such as those dealing with cultural stereotypes, Zachary goes there with her stories and presents solutions based on the scenarios. In addition, the book has a user-friendly layout and is replete with useful checklists, charts, and worksheets.

The traditional stages of the mentoring process also are covered, including two chapters with advice for effectively navigating the enabling growth or the work phase, which Zachary says is the stage when mentoring pairs are most vulnerable to the obstacles that can contribute to derailment of the relationship.

Both new mentors and experienced mentors looking for specific advice on certain dilemmas or just interested in sharpening their skills, will find something of value in The Mentors Guide. One of the most important points that Zachary makes is that this learning partnership is not only valuable for the mentee, but benefits the mentor as well. In fact, when facilitated effectively, the mentoring relationship often proves to be one of the most transformative relationships in the mentors professional career. I give the book four cups.

About the Author

Phaedra Brotherton is a trained career development facilitator and certified professional resume writer. She is former manager of ATD’s Career Development Community of Practice, and was previously senior writer/editor for ATD.

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