University of Pittsburgh associate professor Audrey Murrell has a new book on effective mentoring and gave a noon-time lecture on the subject today. She says there are some myths about mentoring. First, there is no one perfect mentor for any employee. She says people need to have a variety of mentors. She says she has also found that while some people have an affinity for finding mentors of the same race or sex, that is not an indicator of how successful a mentoring relationship will be. She says studies show that you are doing yourself a disservice if you only link up with mentors of the same race or sex.
Murrell says a variety of studies show mentoring programs are extremely important to the life of an organization and to an individual’s career. She says among the things a good mentoring program can do for a company is develop leadership and innovation while retaining organizational knowledge. She says any mentoring program must include both formal and informal mentoring relationships, and they must be both inside and outside an organization.
Murrell says mentoring can be done in both large and small organizations. She says it may be even more important in smaller organizations, because they rely so much on personal relationships. She says most people do not understand how powerful mentoring is and how under-used the tool has become.