Book Review: The Heart of Mentoring

Recommended: Mentoring is more than technique—it’s a passion for developing people.

You want to invest in the lives of others, but… how? That is the question at the center of The Heart of Mentoring by David A. Stoddard (with Robert J. Tamasy).

In ten fast-paced chapters, Stoddard makes it clear that mentoring is not about technique, goals or curriculum. It is about relationship and a passion for developing others on a professional and personal level, as illustrated in ten principles for effective mentoring.

According to Stoddard, effective mentors…

1. …understand that living is about giving
2. …see mentoring as a process that requires perseverance
3. …open their world to their mentoring partners
4. …help mentoring partners find their passion
5. …are comforters who share the load
6. …help turn personal values into practice
7. …model character
8. …affirm the value of spirituality
9. …recognize that Mentoring + Reproduction = Legacy
10. …go for it!

With insight from his own experiences as both a mentor and mentoring partner, Stoddard explains each principle, letting readers into his world as he shares his successes and failures as a mentor.

There is one point made that gives me pause: That it is acceptable for a mentoring relationship to exist between members of the opposite sex. I cannot agree that this is appropriate (even on a “purely professional level”). Even if both the mentor and mentoring partner receive approval from their spouses, it is unwise. For the Christian, it appears to run contrary to the principles taught in Titus 2 (that older women should train younger women and, by implication, older men should train younger men). Some might see this as a niggling disagreement, but it struck me funny.

Stoddard’s love of mentoring is tangible—and contagious, building a desire within the reader to give their lives away in service to others, without burdening them with “how-tos.” As one who can easily get distracted by “how-tos,” it’s a message that I need to hear and read repeatedly.

Read the book and have your passion for investing in others ignited.

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