Book Review: The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You
Tiffany Chan, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
New professionals are told by others to seek out a mentor to enhance their professional development as they begin their careers in higher education; what exactly is a mentor? Because the term mentor is often used loosely to refer to various learning relationships, it is important as you set on your path as a mentee to understand what mentoring is and what it is not (Zachary, 2009). In order to have a meaningful mentoring partnership, both the mentor and the mentee should establish goals and expectations for the relationship and determine what effective learning in the partnership will look like. According to Lois Zachary (2009), in The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You, a good mentoring relationship must have the following elements:
• Reciprocity—“equal engagement on the part of you and your mentor” (p. 2)
• Learning—“the mentee gains expanded perspectives” (p. 2)
• Relationship—interactions built around trust
• Partnership—both are “knowledgeable and attuned to each other’s needs” (p. 3)
• Collaboration—there is a sense of sharing and consensus building
• Mutually defined goals—goals are clearly delineated
• Development—“the focus is on the future” (p. 4)
Zachary asserts (2009) that as a mentee, these elements are important to consider as one develops a mentoring relationship.
In her book, Zachary (2009) outlines a framework for mentees as a reference to enhance their developing relationship with their mentors. The framework includes four basic steps that eventually lead into other mentoring relationships and an opportunity for the mentees to become mentors.
Preparing: the getting ready phase
In the preparation phase, mentees should reflect on their individual needs, such as goals they hope to accomplish, and set expectations with their mentors. To find the best fit mentors, mentees should create a criteria-based list of specific needs and learning goals. This is an opportunity for mentees to reflect on their personal development and review skills or qualities that need strengthening.
Negotiating: the establishing agreement phase
In this phase, mentors and mentees should discuss basic details and agree upon goals, processes, and ground rules. This phase is an opportunity to build trust between the mentor and mentee. It is important in this phase to have a trusting relationship with a mentor. A trusting relationship is important during this phase as this is the opportunity to lay the foundation and for both mentor and mentee to learn more about each other.
Enabling: the implementation or work phase
This phase could be the longest part in the mentoring relationship because this is the phase where the relationship attempts to meet the goals of the mentee. Throughout this phase, terms are negotiable because goals and objectives are constantly changing between the mentor and mentee. This phase requires much needed care and attention.
Coming to Closure: the integration and moving forward phase
This final phase is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the relationship. Mentees should review the goals they developed in the beginning to see if their expectations were met. If the mentee’s goals were met, then the relationship was successful.
The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You (2009) is a helpful resource for readers to understand how to develop a successful mentoring relationship. In particular, the example handouts in the book are good references to measure mentees’ goals. This book is a great resource for young professionals seeking mentors as they begin their careers because it is important for mentees to know what their needs are and where they are at developmentally for the relationship to be successful.
Zachary, L. (2009). The mentee’s guide: Making mentoring work for you. San Francisco, CA: Wiley and Sons, Inc.