Book by Anne Chan
Review by Helen Wilson
Wayne State University

Anne Chan’s book talks about the essentials of mentoring. Throughout the entire book, she gives case examples of specific mentoring practices, an explanation of why the practice matters as well as a section of practical strategies for implementing the practice with students of protégés. Advisors will find the practical strategies at the end of each chapter to be specifically applicable to their work with students.

The theme of establishing the mentoring relationship and building trust mentioned in the beginning of the book focuses on the importance of maintaining good communication, talking about race and culture, listening and providing emotional support among other topics. In the section of practical strategies for talking about race and culture, there is a table focused on obstacles to listening and talking about race with a column to identify how an individual can overcome the obstacles. This table is practical for advisors to use in understanding their own obstacles in listening and talking about race and culture with their students. In addition, there is a list of suggestions for being more comfortable in talking about uncomfortable topics relating to race and culture that advisors will find helpful in working with their students.

The theme of developing the protégé’s skills, knowledge and competencies in the next part of the book is especially pertinent to the advisor role with taking the initiative to do the following with students: discuss dreams and goals, build skills, build confidence with positive words, give quality feedback, give practical support and overcome self-limiting beliefs. I liked the section on building confidence with positive words since it was a good reminder that it is important that advisors need to give positive feedback to students. Chan states, “It means a lot to know that someone cares” (p. 82). 

Of the numerous mentor strategies that help facilitate socialization in the third part, the strategy of building community is relevant to the advisor role in significant ways. Chan states, “As a mentor, you play a vital role in helping your protégés integrate successfully into their school and work communities. . . . You are helping them feel a sense of belonging” (p. 122).

The role of institutions in supporting outstanding mentoring highlighted the importance of mentoring with better overall student and employee success, better rates of graduation, higher levels of employee and student engagement with the institution. Certainly, these are benefits of mentoring that positively impact students as well as advisors at their institutions.

This well-written book is easy to read with practical strategies that advisors can implement in their own advising work with their students. While the book does not address every aspect of advising or focus on advising specific student populations, it does give practical strategies for handling cultural differences with students and protégés.

Inspire, Empower, Connect: Reaching Across Cultural Differences to Make a Real Difference (2010). Book by Anne Chan. Review by Helen Wilson. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littefield. 174 pp. $33.95, ISBN # 978-1-60709-604-7
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