Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Book Review
  Power Mentoring: How successful mentors and proteges get the most out of their relationships by Ellen Ensher and Susan Murphy

Chapter one provided an excellent introduction to the concept of power mentoring. Ensher explains that work is of central importance, especially to Americans. A clear definition of power mentoring (in this important environment) can be found on page 2, "Power Mentoring is about helping you gain more fulfillment at work by showing you how to actively develop and improve your relationships with others... having a network of good mentoring relationships can make your work environment, your job, and your career better." But looked at more definitively, power mentoring is about having a variety of mentors (sometimes a whole lineage) provides more benefits than a traditional mentor model.

This book was extremely helpful with my mentoring relationship. Having been both a mentor and mentee, Power Mentoring, is helping me develop and improve my relationship with others at work and with my Cadre. Establishing a network of good mentoring relationship has improved my academic performance and my career. The authors seemed to disagree, at least to some extent, with other required reading that we have had thus far in the OMET program. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, in their book Situated Learning, place value on older, more experienced mentor taking a younger protégé under their wing, whereas Ensher and Murphy see a variety of mentors being more valuable. I understand both camps. The traditional arrangement of the older mentor has benefited many diverse cultures including our own. Today, in our high tech world, it is imperative to have many mentors of all ages and all walks of life.

Without abandoning traditional mentoring, Ensher and Murphy use several impressive mentoring relationships to drive home their point of the importance of creating a network of power mentors. Having access to a diverse group of mentors can “help a person stay ahead of change” (p. 17). The thing that set these people apart from others not mentioned in this book is their “intense passion for their mentee’s work and success” (p. 6). Good mentors provide both emotional support and career help.

I learned that mentors can, and should, benefit from the mentoring relationship as well as the mentee. Good mentoring relationships should be reciprocal. I share, as do the authors, Erik Erikson’s seventh developmental stage of generativity, or giving back to the next generation of workers. We must not forget the concept of reverse mentoring where a younger employee mentors an older person. This has much value especially today with new technologies advancing at a break neck pace. Youth were born into this environment and are more comfortable finding their way around it quickly and with little assistance. They can be of great help to someone less familiar with technology.

Parts of the book seemed a little conflicting. The idea that an altruistic attitude towards mentoring is not enough, yet they claim that “paying it forward” is a motivator for becoming a mentor. To me, these are both a selfless display of the desire to help someone else. It does feel good to give back. This best thing about reading this book, is that I found many concepts that will help me with my action research project: the importance of being a corporate citizen; putting employees in contact with more experienced personnel increases the total number of qualified employees; and, connecting individuals to the right people who can help them—delegated mentoring.