Power Mentoring

Power Mentoring

How Mentors and Protégés Get The Most Out of Their Relationships

Jossey-Bass, 2005 more...

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


To demonstrate how "power mentoring" works in practice, authors Ellen Ensher and Susan Murphy provide down-to-earth interviews with about 50 pairs of high-powered mentors and their protégés. The conversations offer useful nuggets of insight about office politics, job advancement and successful networking. In addition, unlike many books on the topic, this one provides a useful snapshot of the issues, dramas and special challenges women and minorities in the modern workplace face - and the picture is not always pretty. The book’s biggest flaws are its redundancy and use of boardroom clichés. Still, getAbstract recommends this personalized, practical book to potential mentor-protégé teams.


"Power Mentoring" and "Traditional Mentoring"

In a traditional mentoring relationship, an established leader guides the career of an apprentice. However, the changing work world, with its longer hours, increased job-hopping and greater diversity, has rendered this old-school model obsolete. Traditionally, tutors select and nurture protégés who are similar to them in terms of race, gender, education and economic background. In contrast, power mentoring links networks of people. They may have different backgrounds but their goals are compatible.

Traditional mentoring and power mentoring differ in other ways as well:

  • Unlike traditional "one-on-one" mentoring match-ups, power mentoring can involve a single mentor who influences teams of protégés. This model creates a "lineage of mentors." For example, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch created an entire galaxy of star protégés - including current top executives at NBC, Tupperware, Scott Technologies and other leading companies - who now have their own students.
  • Knowledge and benefits flow in both directions. The tutor learns as much as the student does.
  • The student often selects ...

About the Authors

Ellen Ensher is associate professor of management at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Susan Murphy is associate dean of the Henry R. Kravis Leadership Institute in Claremont, California, and associate professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College.