3Q Book Review: The Return of the Mentor

June 27, 2013

The Return of the Mentor by Brian J. Caldwell and Earl M. A. Carter

What’s the point?

For me, this book really drove home 2 major points – new-comers benefit from a “guide” to help get over the hurdles of being new; seasoned folk can benefit from the energy that a new person brings.

While these relationships are difficult, and can often times only marginally help…the benefits far outweigh the risks/problems.  The book did a really good job of highlighting some of the pitfalls that can occur with any of the “mentorship” programs that are commonly used.

Further, the book uses real implementations (think – Preceptorship in the medical industry) as examples to illustrate the different stages that these relationships can go through, the different levels of participation/collaboration, and how to approach teaching/learning based on these stages and levels.

How was it?

The content was really good.  The book really made me aware of what other industries are doing to support this important relationship.  I also had a realization that it is easy to forget that teaching is a skill, just like anything else.  So if I want to be a good guide/mentor/teacher, I need to approach it like any other skill that I try to improve – practice, research/reflect, and more practice!

I will warn you, when the authors get into the different industries, there is some repetition and redundancy (likely intentional).

Who should read it?

Unless your plan is to hope for serendipity (perfect match in your relationship, perfect learning style that works effortlessly with your teaching style, perfect timing) with respect to your relationships as a leader…you should read this book.

Being a mentor isn’t easy.  There are pitfalls that we need to be mindful of.  There are assumptions we tend to make because we have been there, done that…years ago!

As with any book, there are aspects that I think are dated and/or don’t fit with our company; however, I still recommend reading this book!