Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Book Review

  Tao Mentoring (1999) Huang & Lynch

This was an interesting read; nothing that I would have personally selected. Since it as an assigned book, I tried to keep an open mind to what the authors, Huang and Lynch are trying to portray. Cultivating collaborative relationships in all areas of your life through Tao mentoring was not as difficult to appreciate as I thought it would be. There is a time-honored process of mentoring which the authors feel is lost. Partly because of fear of appearing unknowledgeable to others and it is too uncomfortable to handle being a mentor or mentee. Sharing the wisdom of knowledge through the use of Tao mentoring can be a safe and rewarding experience. The “two-way circular dance” provides both giving and receiving of knowledge without limitations or fears.

Tao mentoring offers a humanistic style of leadership, guidance and teaching that can benefit all in my circle of influence. Many symbols and characters are used in this ancient art to help one understand how to best be partakers in this giving and receiving of wisdom.

One of our first reading assignments was to read “Gu Shen, the Spirit of the Valley.” Here we learn about the learn-teach-learn cycle of Tao. We become aware of the gaps in our own knowledge by mentoring others. And “Wu Dao, The Dancing Wu Ji Mentors” that in order to be a good teacher, one must be a good student. Healthy mentoring relationships share universal attributes of mutual respect, humor, trust and accountability. The Tao virtues see people in a positive light that we are all capable of “just about anything” (p. 22).

An important concept that I share with the authors, and with Tao mentoring, is the idea is that to attain true knowledge and wisdom, “we must remain open and empty in order to allow ideas from other people to rush in” (p. 29). But the section on integrity was the one I found to be the key to having a good mentoring relationship. Although I do not believe in Taoism, for it is a religion focused on the self and it emphasizes inactivity and not being involved with the world, I do subscribe to the thought that “We must maintain our integrity at all costs by identifying and cultivation our deep-rooted values. Only by knowing what they are can we act with integrity” (p. 41). Having a moral compass is necessary, not only in mentoring, but in life as well.