The Mentor’s Guide Book Review

The Mentor’s Guide was always an exceptional book. In this third edition, just released, Lois Zachary has been joined by her talented and dynamic daughter, Lisa Fain, CEO of Center for Mentoring Excellence. The book reflects a modern model of mentoring, grounded in adult learning theory, as a self-directed multidimensional relationship of mutual exchange.

The new edition includes essential updates and expanded discussion around virtual mentoring and inclusive mentoring, covering gender, sexual orientation, race, power, culture and generational differences.

Packed with exercises and tips, as well as interesting and real mentoring scenarios, this is an extremely well-written, easy-to-read book.

The first part introduces the reader to the meaning and context of mentoring, setting the scene for the second part, which is a guide to how to navigate the mentor role through the typical phases of a mentoring relationship. It invites the reader to go on a journey of self-reflection, itself an exercise which is critical for masterful mentoring. Prepare to be confronted by some of these exercises, including a self-awareness reflection exploring underlying biases and stereotypes.

I am not a great supporter of the SMART goals model for mentoring, especially at the beginning of a mentoring relationship.  This is because mentoring goals can take time to emerge and creating specific goals too early can bypass some essential exploration between mentor and mentee. However, for the those that do use the SMART model, I love the idea of the SMARTER goals framework – which adds Exciting and Risky to the acronym. I agree that challenging goals for mentees should have a slightly risky edge that puts them just slightly out of their comfort zone where the greatest learning can occur. When a goal has an air of excitement, it is also much easier for a mentee to muster energy and enthusiasm to do the work required for goal achievement. This is a useful and important addition to the model and a welcome inclusion in the book.

If there is one book I would recommend to first-time mentors, this would be it. The Mentor’s Guide is definitely the most comprehensive and up-to-date manual for mentoring mastery available today.

© Melissa Richardson 2022

Author: Lois J. Zachary
Author: Lisa Z. Fain
Center for Mentoring Excellence
in Partnership with Art of Mentoring

Two of the Art of Mentoring team looking at a laptop together.


A guide to unleashing the hidden value in your organisation through high impact strategic mentoring programs.

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the ripple effect