From Page 1 of the Introduction in this book, “Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring”, the title lives up to its promise. Written for both the mentor and mentee, it begins: We each bring who we are to our mentoring relationships, yet “who we are” is composed of several elements. Who we are is determined by the many factors that shape our identity culture and worldview. Our differences rest between us, not within us. Why the illustrative “bridging” differences? A bridge is a structure that connects two distinct things. A bridge requires a solid foundation in order to stand securely. Building a bridge requires the help of other people. It is an active process involving connections bonding and collaboration; working together, we build a newer and richer mutual understanding.
This book functions as a guide to learn then immediately identify ways to develop that element of conversation, relationship, perspective, stewardship, and growth needed to improve the mentoring experience. The authors could have used the title, Handbook of Mentoring, but it wouldn’t have expressed the depth and expanse of the premier coaching readers will receive when they practice what they learn in “Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring”.
Part One – Lean Forward into Differences prepares mentors and mentees for the process. The work they do here to identify, accept, and recognize ways they are different begins to build the bridge of the mentoring experience as they come to understand each other. Topics include: Building the Framework; Culture; Identity; Bias and Privilege
Part Two – Learn from Differences is the strength, in my opinion, of the theme of the book. Differences can attract or differences can ostracize. What you learn here will be key to helping you recognize differences, get past assumptions, discover truths about each other, and create a compelling communications dialog for growing together. Topics include: Relationship preparedness; Getting to know each other
Part Three – Leverage Differences is where the hopes and vision of the mentor/mentee relationship is formed as a partnership. The partners know each other now, set goals together and plan tactics for accountability, review, and advancement. Topics include: Agreements, Enabling Growth, and Feedback
When you read this book, you will notice quickly that it is not an employee handbook, nor is it a self-improvement guide. Peppered throughout each section notice the “Your Turn” questionnaires. Do not skip over these opportunities to reflect on, and work through what you’ve read. The exercises confirm and reinforce your knowledge and prepare you to take advantage of what you are learning in real-time. This book is intended to be used in bridging differences and applied as a playbook for establishing and developing a solid, mature mentoring relationship. Mentoring is common in the workplace, but as you will see, the principles here are universal.
Look it up on Amazon, or wherever books are sold. “Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring” could change the trajectory of your life.