CXO

Web site offers extensive information on mentoring

Encouraging a formal or informal mentoring program can be a good way to spread knowledge and increase productivity. This Web site offers in-depth resources on the benefits of mentoring.


Although the Beatles told us that “all you need is love” in our personal lives, love is not enough when it comes to our business lives. Both formal studies and strong anecdotal information show that highly successful people have had mentors to help them attain higher levels of personal skill and performance.

This is certainly true for training professionals. If we have a strong mentor, our professional growth will be enhanced. Additionally, organizations are increasingly using mentors to improve learning and performance in organizations. Lastly, every trainer I know has been approached for mentoring by students, so the idea is applicable to most everyone. Mentors are the focus of this week’s site, Peer Resources.

Getting started
The site opens with a choice of English or French text—a nice feature, especially since the site is based in Canada. My review is of the English version, and I assume the same materials are available in the French version. After selecting your language, you get a straightforward page with many options. Following are descriptions of each section.

The content
The first page of the site after the introductory page has 15 topics listed with radio buttons and a short description of each topic.

Learn
This is the place to start if you want to learn more about mentoring, read tips on being a better mentor, or find examples of mentoring relationships. This section alone is worth a visit to the site, especially if you have been charged with building a mentoring process inside your organization.

This page has several interesting sections about mentoring, such as:
  • A discussion on the origins of the word mentor—possibly from Homer, more likely from a French writer in the 18th century.
  • A list of common myths about mentoring, such as, “The best mentors are those who set out to be mentors,” and reasons why the myths aren’t true, such as, “The majority of mentoring occurs without conscious knowledge of either party.”
  • A Mentor Hall of Fame that includes Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars characters), Margaret Mead and Gail Sheehy (anthropologist and writer), and Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak (Israeli Prime Ministers).

Take
This nonscientific “test” shows you how successful you would be as a mentor (of course we all have room to improve and become more effective mentors!). The 15 questions, presented in a fun format, give you a good idea of some of the most important attributes of mentors.

Events
Here you will find a chronological listing of conferences, seminars, and workshops related to mentoring. Events from around the world are included as well as information on past events.

Links
This long list of links has e-mail addresses and reviews of each site. Very impressive! The list includes the Hewlett-Packard Telementoring Project, Technical Peer Mentoring, and the Women’s Executive Network.

Resources
The editors of the site have selected books about mentoring which are reviewed and discussed. The site has affiliations with both Chapters (a major Canadian book chain) and Amazon.com, which makes getting these books a breeze.

Ask
If you have a question about mentoring, you can ask it on this page and receive an e-mail response within 24 hours. This page also lists a number of other sites where you can get advice (and not just on mentoring).

Profile
This section would be better named, “Find a mentor.” Four areas are explored here, including lists of available mentors, tips on finding a mentor, and a profile to help you identify possible mentors.

Search
You can search this extensive listing of documents available for download and find the most relevant information for your needs. The documents range from articles to more academic pieces. Some are only available to members of the Peer Resources Network.

Find
If you are looking for a mentoring organization, this is where to start.

Question
This is an ongoing discussion of a topic related to mentoring. The current question is, “What evidence is there that mentoring makes a difference?” Add your thoughts, and view the thoughts of others. Answers to previous questions are here as well.

Read
The difference between this and the Resources section is that these resources exist somewhere on the Internet, rather than on this site. While I’m not sure this needs to be separated into two sections of the site, the information available here looks very useful.

Benefits
This portion of the site is password protected and open only to members of the Peer Resources Network.

Join
This page describes the benefits of joining the Peer Resources Network (including getting access to the rest of this site). There are student, individual, and institutional memberships at $21.40, $53.50, and $107, respectively. You can join from the Web site, using the online membership form and a credit card.

List
If you offer products or services for mentors, you can list them here for free. Of course, if you are looking for resources, this would be a great place to go as well.

Coaching
The site calls coaching mentoring’s “cousin.” This section leads to a big listing of coaching resources, but sticks out like a sore thumb on this otherwise highly focused site.

Final impressions
It is hard to imagine a more complete site on the topic of mentoring—I haven’t seen one. In fact, I haven’t seen many sites that have such a tight focus on one topic and do such a good job covering it. As organizations continue to search for ways to build the skills of their employees, mentoring will become even more popular. If your company is looking to build a mentoring program, or if you are looking for a mentor or being asked to mentor someone else, visiting this site will be a great investment of your time.

Here is Kevin’s review of mentors.ca.

To comment on this article or suggest other Web sites to review,please write to Kevin with your ideas.

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