Break the Mentoring Mold

by Jennifer Miller on May 4, 2011

in Learning, Personal Effectiveness

According to author Anya Kamenetz, people need to rethink mentoring. In the Fast Company article The Republic of Mentors, Kamenetz says,

We need a new model of mentorship. We’re living in an age of networks, not hierarchies; knowledge and wisdom is distributed, rather than concentrated among the gray hairs. The new model has to be more flexible and forgiving to allow for the fact that mentorships, like any relationship, come in different flavors and change over time.


Here are two things I liked about the article:

  1. Mentoring is framed as a self-initiated activity. I’ve never been a big fan of formal corporate mentoring programs, so by re-thinking mentoring as an act driven by individuals, it seems more organic and therefore more palatable.
  2. I strongly believe that a person can learn from a variety of sources, be it someone’s 80-year-old mother or a teenage boy. The key is to broaden one’s definition of “mentoring” to include those random opportunities for learning. “Mentoring” as I see it can last only moments, or endure for years. Either way, accepting the ebb and flow as Kamenetz advises is sound advice.

What have been some of your most valuable mentoring experiences?

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