Power and Equality in Mentoring Relationships
Pamela J. Kalbfleisch University of Wyoming
Joann Keyton University of Memphis
Why do we keep losing talented young women?
-- a senior manager quoted in Parker and Kram ( 1993)
Being a mentor with young adults is one of the most significant relationships available to a man in middle adulthood.
-- Levinson ( 1978, p. 253)
Relationships between mentors and their proteges have been chronicled throughout human history and mythology. The term "mentor" takes its origin from the "original" mentor described in the mythical account of Odysseus who trusted the instruction of his son Telemachus to his perceptive and trusted adviser, Mentor ( Homer, 1960). This form of helping, guiding relationship reemerges in mythology in the form of the magician Merlin and his protege King Arthur ( Mallory, 1969), and more recently in the pairing of the deceased but still present, Obe Wan Kenobe and the young Luke Skywalker in the movie, Star Wars.
In history, United States president's have had mentors and proteges. In fact, two of President Thomas Jefferson's proteges, James Madison and James Monroe, became United States presidents themselves ( Bushardt, Fretwell, & Holdnak, 1991). Other prominent mentor-protege relationships include famous psychologists, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung; civil rights lawyers Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall; Daytona 500 race car drivers Dale Earnhart and Ernie