Center for Mentoring Excellence

Mentoring Matters

May 2014
Volume 5 | Issue 5
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On April 10-11, 2014 over 130 participants from various regions of British Columbia attended Teacher Mentorship: A Provincial Conversation, in Richmond, BC, Canada. The conference aimed to launch a province-wide dialogue about cultivating a professional mentoring culture within the BC public school system. Dr. Zachary's full day presentation, "Mentoring: Deepening Our Practice, Creating Momentum" addressed organizational approaches to culture building as well as specific mentoring skills and strategies. The conference was a collaborative endeavour of Teacher Mentorship BC, The British Columbia Teachers' Federation, The New Teacher Mentoring Project, and The University of British Columbia Faculty of Education.   



Books that Dr. Dominguez Recommends!
Coaching and Mentoring: Theory and Practice

Mentoring: Strategies for Success Trainer Certification Program
September 29 - October 1, 2014 - Tempe, AZ
Banner Trainer
The first 10 people to register by June 30, 2014 receive a Mentoring Excellence Toolkit. 
Our 3-day trainer certification program prepares experienced trainers, program coordinators and mentoring coaches to facilitate our popular one-day mentor training program Mentoring: Strategies for SuccessCandidates for certification will experience the workshop as a participant on day one. During the second day, we explore the conceptual framework of mentoring and walk-through the training materials, choreography and curriculum content. On the final day, participants engage in teaching simulations and role play, receive peer and instructor feedback on facilitation of the workshop and receive their certification. 
Want to send more than one person from your company? We offer a discount for multiple registrations, contact us for details. 

Interview with
Dr. Nora Dominguez, Ph.D. 
Director of the Mentoring Institute at University of New Mexico and President of the International Mentoring Association.
MM: You are invested in mentoring in multiple ways: as a program provider, association president and as a mentor. How did that happen? 

ND: I was introduced to the Anglo-Saxon approach to mentoring while studying organizational models as part of my doctoral program. I realized that mentoring, as an organizational strategy, has the potential to create and sustain a learning organization. Through the dialogue that takes place in a mentoring relationship, members identify the skills and competencies that constitute their personal mastery. Through critical reflection, mentors and mentees make explicit their mental models and create the synergy necessary for collaboration, team work, and the development of a shared vision.


I have seen many benefits of mentoring in the careers of students, faculty, and staff. Their stories are appealing, motivational, and inspirational. My own career success has depended on many multiple mentors. Dr. Patricia Boverie took me under her wing, challenged me to pursue a doctoral degree, and made me feel welcome in a foreign country that has since become my home. Dr. Joe Pascarelli (now deceased), a former president of the International Mentoring Association, was and still is my role model. I will always remember his passion to help others, his kind words, and guidance. I have personally received so much from my mentors that I feel compelled to contribute to the field of mentoring in any capacity I can. I want to make others aware of the opportunities for growth and learning, and facilitate the establishment of developmental relationships to honor the many mentors in my life. My passion and belief in mentoring pushed me to further the integration of mentoring best practices and assist in the establishment of formalized mentoring programs.

MM: As the leader of two mentoring organizations, the Mentoring Institute and the International Mentoring Association, what can you tell our readers about the differences between them? Who should attend?


ND: The annual University of New Mexico Mentoring Conference held at the Student Union Building on UNM's main campus during the fall semester brings national and international researchers and practitioners together for the purpose of sharing and disseminating mentoring best practices. With annual attendance of more than 600 participants, the conference has become the place for students, staff, and faculty to exchange ideas for knowledge creation, transfer of know how, and innovation. The program is of academic nature and focuses on higher education. Approximately 70% of proposals are in the areas of college readiness and attainment, faculty, and staff career development in academia; 20% center on general mentoring practices and program development in K-12 settings, non-profit, and governmental institutions; and, 10% on business and corporations. 


The International Mentoring Conference is sponsored by the IMA. It is scheduled in the spring and provides a broader forum for both researchers and practitioners. It offers a wider variety of themes and topics in the areas of program development for K-12, business/industry, government/military, and heath care/human services. Additionally, the majority of participants' roles shift from research and teaching to program administration, human resources, management, and technology.


Both venues offer a well-rounded set of keynote and plenary sessions, individual, panel and round table presentations, and networking opportunities. Participants who attend both events have an opportunity to extend their own personal networks among people invested in mentoring.

MM: As part of your doctoral research you completed an important study on mentoring. What were two or three key findings from that work? Were there any surprises?


ND: The field of mentoring has undergone dramatic growth in the past three decades. My goal was to reveal an organized framework of the theory and practice of adult mentoring in academic and workplace contexts. I examined aggregated data from 588 articles in adult mentoring and a bibliography of 500 books for a general overview of the literature. Out of these, I selected 25 books and 80 articles published in peer-reviewed journals between 1978 and 2012 for a deeper examination. My selection was based on the number of times the item in question was cited in other publications.  


Interesting findings occurred in the area of mentoring functions. Despite 30 years of research in mentoring, Kram's (1983) model summarizing the multiple activities performed by mentors in two broad categories, career functions and psychosocial functions, is still prevalent and the most applicable model. Further research has proposed minor changes and/or additions to Kram's model but have not been significantly used based on the number of citations. From the analysis of mentoring functions, I proposed a model for empirical testing with six distinctive functions: a) primary functions (career, academic, and psychosocial functions), and b) general functions (skills development, sponsorship and networking, and modeling). Primary functions define the purpose of the mentoring relationship. The general functions are expected to happen at different times as the mentoring relationship develops. 

MM: One of the things you discovered was that there are multiple definitions of mentoring, particularly cross-culturally. What advice would you offer for individuals engaged in cross-cultural relationships?


ND: After analyzing 467 mentoring definitions, I concluded that mentoring is a very complex phenomenon.The very existence of so many definitions indicates that different authors focus on distinctive sets of functions, activities, and outcomes that shape the nature and the scope of the mentoring relationship. Each person brings their own personality and individual culture, making every mentoring relationship a cross-cultural one (which includes visible and invisible aspects), shaped by internal and external factors. In formal mentoring, the organizational culture also plays an important role. People engaging in mentoring relationships should always clarify their assumptions about mentoring and diversity with their mentoring partner.  


Language and cultural dimensions increase the complexity of mentoring relationships. However, the more differences that exist among participants, the greater the possibilities are for transformative learning to occur. It will likely take longer to discover a common ground and to develop the trust needed for a high quality connection, but the time and effort invested in dialogue and deep listening to identify the uniqueness of every person will result in a more meaningful and satisfying relationship. 
MM: What books are you reading now that you would recommend to our readers?


ND: I have become very interested in the difference between the American and European perspectives on mentoring and coaching. Currently, I am examining a collection of six books titled Fundamentals of Coaching and Mentoring edited by Bob Garvey (2014). 


Garvey presents culturally relevant essays, which demonstrate the importance of context and the multiple and varied uses and purposes of these fields in corporate and academic settings. While mentoring and coaching are both oriented toward the same goal- the development of the employee towards a more satisfying and fulfilling career- each approach will produce distinctive results, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, in an organizational context. 


I find that Garvey's selection of articles serves the dual purpose of examining various definitions, conceptualizations, and characteristics of mentoring and coaching, and providing an overarching view of the collective development in both fields. The collection of books provides a broad examination of theory and practice in order to clearly delimit and distinguish mentoring from coaching, while exhibiting the intricate overlap between them.

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 A Note to Our Readers:

We believe that leaders cannot be effective without a strong and ongoing commitment to mentoring excellence. This belief, our passion for mentoring excellence, and our extensive experience in the field with organizations led us to create the Center for Mentoring Excellence. At our virtual center,, you will find mentoring tools and resources, expert advice and a forum for sharing best mentoring practices. We hope that you will visit us there and let us know how we can continue to help you raise the bar on mentoring in your organization.