Professional Mentoring Resources

How to Get a Mentor – Tedx Talk from Ellen Ensher

Thank you for your interest in mentoring resources and mentoring success strategies! There is A LOT of great information out there on mentoring and this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Instead this an evolving list in which I wanted to share some articles from great minds in mentoring, links to some organizations and resources for mentoring, along with a few of my other favorite exercises, movie clips etc. If you have a mentoring resource that you would like me to include please send it to me and I will be happy to consider adding it to this page. Also, I am doing this as a service and I am certainly not receiving any money, kickbacks, or freebies from listing these- so these are simply some resources that I like and hope you enjoy. Happy mentoring!

Ellen shares her 8 Tips For Finding a Mentor on

Continue reading →

How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps in 3 Weeks: First, Know Thyself

Recently, I gave a Tedx talk at Loyola Marymount University about how to get a mentor. The hardest part about doing that talk was distilling 20 years of research and practice down to 15 entertaining minutes. So, this blog is … Continue reading →

How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps in 3 Weeks: Step 2: Reflect on Who to Reach Out To

A 15-minute Tedx talk is a viciously short amount of time to detail how to actually connect with a mentor so I am doing a series of blog posts to provide more detail about this important skill. To recap the … Continue reading →

How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps in 3 Weeks: Third, Connect with Courage

If mentoring is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? In twenty years of doing research and working with clients, I have noticed that people don’t get involved in mentoring often times because they are afraid. How do you overcome the fear … Continue reading →


Talking Power Mentoring with Women’s Leadership Success Radio
February 2014.

Ellen explains the ins and outs of mentor-protégé relationships using her personal stories and research.

Suggested Readings from Professional Mentoring Scholars and Consultants

Professional Mentoring As A Bridge To Understanding Cultural Difference
We all know that our workforce is more diverse than others and I think for most of us we still feel a little shy about discussing these issues with each other. And if you survived corporate America in the nineties you may have suffered through some painfully obvious early renditions of diversity training. One of the best ways for people to learn about diversity is through relationships with each other. Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard has written a terrific article that outlines how professional mentoring can be used as a bridge to understand cultural differences. This article is thoughtful, intelligent, and has some great discussion/reflection questions at the end that can really be useful for anyone grappling with these issues.


Taking A Hard Look At Formal Mentoring
What’s better? Formal mentoring programs or informal relationships? I get asked this A LOT! “Taking a Hard Look at Formal Mentoring Programs” is a terrific academic article by Stacy Blake-Beard that sheds some light on this question. Dr. Blake-Beard identifies five considerations for women getting involved in formal mentoring relationships to consider (although these are also helpful for men as well). The five consideration are” 1) unrealistic expectations, 2) lack of attraction/ or opportunity for identification, 3) managing the developmental dilemma, 4) unbalanced focus on the protege, and 5) forging a post-program relationship. In sum, there is no simple answer to this question as so much depends on the expectations, structure of the program, and how the program is managed. In general, having a network of mentors is best as a formal mentor can be really helpful but cannot be expected to satisfy all one’s needs. This article provides a way to understand these issues more deeply and some great food for thought.


Mentorship Behaviors And Mentorship Quality Associated With Formal And Professional Mentoring Programs: Closing The Gap Between Research And Practice
Clients often struggle with how to make formal mentoring programs successful. It always sounds like a great idea to match up mentors and proteges but sadly like blind dates, sometimes these matches don’t always pan out. This terrific scholarly article by Tammy Allen and associates looks at what really matters in making formal mentoring programs as successful as possible. Simply put, control matters. Or more specifically, a protege’s perceived input into the process of matching has a lot to with determining how successful the match and hence the formal mentoring program will be. But what about training- how much does it matter? In fact, I spend a lot of time helping clients develop training and training my students so this questions is very compelling. Allen’s research demonstrates that high quality training for the protege’s can make an important impact but less so for the professional mentor and the caveat here is the training needs to be perceived as high quality. But how much does proximity, being from the same department, or a host of other factors matter when designing formal mentoring programs? Not so much really- instead help your proteges to have some control over the process and get them prepared and chances are your formal mentoring program will be much more successful.


Career Benefits Associated With Mentoring For Proteges: A Meta-Analysis
Popular wisdom tells us that mentoring matters and that people with mentors derive many important benefits from their relationships. However, what kind of benefits do they receive and does hard evidence support this popular wisdom? Mentoring researchers, Tammy Allen along with four colleagues (Lillian Eby, Mark Poteet, Elizabeth Lentz, and Lizzette Lima) take a rigorous empirical look at the benefits associated with mentoring for proteges. To do so, these top researchers aggregate a large body of academic research and reach some interesting conclusions. These research find that mentoring matters and that the type of mentor one has (i.e. whether one has a professional mentor that tends to provide more career or emotional support or both matters as well). In general, studies bear out that people with mentors do experience greater job satisfaction, career satisfaction and overall have greater positive feelings towards their career. There’s still a lot we don’t know however and this article also provides a great impetus for future research on benefits.


An Interdisciplinary Meta-Analysis Of The Potential Antecedents, Correlates, And Consequences Of Protege Perceptions Of Mentoring
Lead author Lillian Turner de Torme Eby and colleagues provide a rigorous look at what really matters in terms of protégé experiences with mentoring. These authors have conducted a meta-analysis which is basically a statistically aggregate approach to examining a large number of published articles in order to reach a consolidated understanding. If you want to really understand the underlying processes for what is important to protégés in terms of attracting and retaining their relationships with mentors, then this is your go-to article. One important headline is that perceived deep level similarity between mentors and protégés is one of the most important variables that impacts attraction and retention. So, when you do training and education for mentors and protégés, focus on giving them skills to go deep and find areas they click on such as goals, personality, and values so they can really connect.


David Clutterbuck, Mentoring And Coaching: A Commentary
Remember Rodney King (RIP) in the Los Angeles who asked “Can we all just get along?” I begin my reflection about the differences between mentoring and coaching with this question. In this article, I was privileged to write a commentary on David Clutterbuck who is one of the great minds of mentoring and examine some of the what we know about coaching that can be applied to mentoring.


The Impact Of Prior Mentoring And Computer-Mediated Communications Experiences On Willingness To Participate In E-Mentoring
People get therapy online, meet their soul-mates online and have all sorts of relationships online so why not mentor online? In fact, online mentoring is thriving as a practice but less is known about how it works theoretically. In this research, my co-author and I, Marty Thomas who is a math professor and MentorNet mentor, take an empirical look at the variables impacting e-mentoring relationships. Here’s what matters: people who are used to using forms of computer-mediated-communication with higher forms of social presence were more willing to engage in e-mentoring. Simply put, if you are putting together an e-mentoring program, one would be well advised to include a hybrid approach to communication so that email gets augmented with FtF meetings, skype, and chats.