Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Book Review
  The Mentors Guide (2000) Zachary

Facilitating effective learning relationships was the goal of author Zachary in writing this book. In my opinion, he met and exceeded this goal. The focus was on completing key tasks that enhance learning and facilitate processes that make it possible for each person to move through their learning experience. We have learned that the journey in any mentoring relationship is complex and is of self and other. Experience plays an important role in any mentoring relationship where both mentor and mentee stand to gain “a greater understanding of the workplace and world” (p. 3). Each has a shared responsibility for the learning setting.

I have gained much insight from reading this book. Understanding my own journey first is key to being able to differentiate between self and the other person in a mentoring relationship. Next, understanding the mentee’s journey and being able to see the relationship from their perspective is very important in the process.

Some of the concepts in these pages reflect what others have said in our various assigned reading; giving back some of the “gifts” from others that we have been so privileged to receive; the importance of reflecting on our personal journey; and the past empowers the present. Most authors agree upon the reasons for mentioning; the satisfaction of passing on knowledge, achieving recognition increasing productivity, expanding one’s own personal network, and exert a positive influence. There are four distinct phases to mentoring: preparing, negotiating, enabling and coming to closure (p. 49).

The author provided many excellent exercises and forms to use a guide to successful mentoring. One exercise that I found particularly useful was Self-Reflection: Facilitation on page 24. I am constantly being called on to facilitate someone else’s learning. This six-question exercise was helpful to take a closer look at what works and doesn’t work in this kind of learning environment. I agree that receiving feedback is one of the most powerful tools that a mentor can get in order to assist learners in meeting challenges. Zachary reminded me that it is extremely important not to always provide answers to our mentees as this “short-changes” the learning process. Mentees need to have the opportunity to discover, on their own, and mentors need to simply provide a “safe space” in order for them to flourish. Effective communication is key to any mentoring relationship. It is critical to the relationship to be a good listener; learning to be comfortable in silences.

It is ok, so Zachary says, not to know everything about our mentee; just having a good sense of who they are helps the mentor connect. Having the ability to see connections can have a dynamic impact, enabling e mentor to “look beyond the current mentoring situation” (p19). One of most common problems with mentoring is finding adequate time to give to the relationship. It is a matter of making a serious commitment and sticking to it.