Mentoring and Diversity: An International Perspective

Chapter 10: Some Key Issues For Diversity Mentoring

David Clutterbuck

In this chapter, I extract a number of themes from the case studies and, where appropriate, offer further observation upon them. The cases represent a wide variety of applications of mentoring, on behalf of a wide variety of audiences. Diversity issues are sometimes at the core of the relationship; at other times just one aspect of it. In short, we have great diversity to draw upon.

The themes I have extracted are as follows.

Power in the relationship

The expectations regarding power and the actual application of power and influence in our cases illustrate well the difference between sponsorship-oriented mentoring and developmental mentoring. In several of the cases for example, Welle s case of a gay mentoring pair, the expectation and practice of sponsorship was an important part of the relationship. Power of knowledge was also an important element in some programmes for example, help in navigating the complexities of the theatre system in England was a core activity for the disabled writers programme. In the case of Fiona and Bob, sponsorship was a key part of the mutual expectation.

By contrast, at Ealing Council, very senior people were excluded from the scheme in part because they were too powerful. Another interesting spin on the issue is Procter & Gamble s deliberate reversal of the power structure, which opened up extensive learning opportunities for both mentors and mentees. Exerting their own authority as mentors to people much more senior than themselves provided an unusual opportunity to develop leadership...

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