The term mentor, meaning a wiser and more experienced person who guides development of a less experienced person, comes from the character Mentor in Homer's Odyssey. When Odysseus sailed away to sack Troy, he left his son, Telemachus, in the care of Mentor, who was charged with the proper upbringing of the lad. And when Athena wished to advise the lad, she did so in the voice and form of Mentor.
Today, the concept of mentoring remains an important force in the development of knowledge, skills, and judgment. The terms telementoring and online coaching refer to the traditional acts of mentoring performed using e-mail, videoconferencing, and other Web technologies.
Though most implementations of telementoring have paired pre-university students with industry practitioners, its use is by no means limited to young proteges. In this section we will consider how it can be used to guide the career development of adults.
To find more examples of Web-based mentoring, search the Web for telementoring, online coaching, or mentoring.
In its most common form, mentoring pairs mentors with proteges in an ongoing one-to-one relationship. The mentor provides guidance, advice, and knowledge as requested by the protege. Exchanges can take place by e-mail, videoconferencing, or plain old telephone calls.
Beyond that, there are no precise rules for how the partners interact. The nature of the mentoring relationship is personal and dynamic. It can evolve ...