The concept of mentoring goes all the way back to ancient Greece when Odysseus asked Athena to take on the form of Mentor and guide his son Telemachus while he was away at the siege of Troy. Over the years this has been an important relationship for apprentices wishing to learn a trade as older journeymen take on the role of teachers and guides encapsulated in the concept of mentorship. Mentoring is also an important role that teachers and instructors in adult education can play in the lives of their students as this can be done outside of the classroom and after the student has graduated from the institution of learning.
Mentoring is also important to successful organizations wishing to educate and develop their employees. Traditionally junior employees would look to one senior employee to act as a sponsor and guide them in their career. In this article Drs. Kram and Higgins, two of the foremost researchers into the role of mentors discuss how the role of mentors is changing in our rapidly transforming society.