August 7, 2019

The Mentoring Paradigm Shift

Doug Lawrence






Mentoring has reached a paradigm shift that comes from mentoring being recognized as a solution to business challenges. However, some confusion exists as to “what is mentoring” and “what is the best way to apply the mentoring” concepts? Countless myths exist about mentoring and the mentoring process. Mentoring is still sometimes seen from the Traditional mentoring perspective rather than Effective mentoring.

The Traditional view sees  the mentor to be older than the mentee, to share their wisdom and knowledge more from “telling” rather than “asking a series of questions” to guide.

The paradigm shift taking place is premised on the following definition:

Mentoring is a two-way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee will learn and grow personally and professionally together.

There are two foundational pieces to consider if we want to have meaningful mentoring experiences.

First is a two way trusted relationship.
We are unable to build that two-way trust then we cannot have a successful mentoring experience. Building trust requires that we share something personal with our mentee. This trust may not happen in the first meeting, but the more comfortable you are with sharing, the easier trust is to build.

While we sometimes talk about mentoring from the “Traditional” style, we also talk about “Reverse Mentoring”, a style the younger person mentors an older person. They will typically guide them in exploring technology and how to use it. I am not a fan of this term as “reverse” means going backwards. We at the International Mentoring Community (IMC), prefer to substitute “reverse mentoring” with the term “effective mentoring.”

The second foundational piece to consider is effective communication. If we do not understand how to communicate effectively then we will struggle with building a mentoring relationship. There are 7 Effective Communication Tools:

  • Active Listening (listening and hearing)
  • Listening for trigger words in a conversation
  • Deflections
  • Pausing
  • Crucial conversations
  • Body language
  • Use of the Socratic Method

Each Effective Communication Tool addresses the definition of effective mentoring which is always a two-way trusted relationship, where both the mentor and mentee will learn and grow personally and professionally together.

The paradigm shift of effective mentoring occurs in the present and future needs of the workforce and in organizations.

With the diminishing use of Traditional style mentoring, we need to create a more modern and business focused mentoring approach.

The mentoring paradigm shift also addresses focusing on the personal growth or psychosocial needs mentees have before addressing professional growth. In future articles we will explore the aspect of personal and professional growth as part of the effective mentoring process.

Effective mentoring is the future; creating a learning and development environment benefits all.


To discuss how the Mentoring Paradigm Shift will affect your workplace or organization, book an appointment with Doug.



 Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC®.

Doug shows organizations how mentoring will encourage workforce culture to flow in harmony (mentors), improve productivity from employees (mentees), reducing costly employee onboarding improving the bottom line (organizations).

Doug is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner (ICMP), an International Certified Mentor Facilitator (ICMF), and has obtained his Certificate of Achievement – Mentoring and his Certificate of Competence – Mentor from the International Mentoring Community (IMC).

Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published “The Gift of Mentoring” in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2020.

Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally.

To contact Doug:


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