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Reciprocity in Mentoring


Reciprocity in Mentoring

Lois Zachary

Lois J. Zachary (Ed.D., Adult Education, 1986; M.A., 1985) believes mentoring was written in her DNA. “My connection to mentoring isn’t an accident,” she says. “My maiden name is Menter, with an ‘e.’” Coincidences aside, she grew up watching her mother mentor many people in her community and followed her example. Zachary, who received her doctorate in adult education at TC, believes mentoring is “a responsibility of leadership”—one she takes very seriously.
“I’ve always had mentors along the way, and sometimes they raised the bar, modeled the way or pushed me beyond my limits,” she says. Since Zachary believes mentoring is a reciprocal relationship, it’s easy to understand why she loves what she does.
Zachary developed her style while in graduate school. “It really was a confluence of what I was learning at Teachers College and the idea that adult learning was so central to leadership,” she explains. “The model of mentoring that people had been using had really been pediatric. It needed to be looked at from the point of view of adult learners. It requires a shift in thinking.”
Zachary found her calling in 1992 when she started Leadership Development Services, a mentoring and leadership consulting company in Phoenix. Since then, the company has worked with everyone from Ikea to the U.S. Navy—including educational institutions from Chicago to Ontario. Specializing “in building the leadership capacity of organizations and their leaders,” Zachary has cemented the company’s reputation for developing custom leadership and mentoring programs and raising standards of quality for what she calls “mentoring excellence.”
Her words of wisdom can be found in numerous publications and several books, including the bestseller The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships. Her latest book, The Mentees Guide: Making Mentors Work for You, will be released in the spring of 2009. It focuses on how mentees can use mentor relationships and transition into being a mentor. Zachary’s innovative approach to adult learning was recognized in 2007 when she was named to the Top 100 Thought Leaders on Leadership List.
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