Book by Lois J. Zachary
Review by: Rachel Fatto
Housing and Residential Education
University of South Florida

Lois Zachary provides a guide for any department which is interested in starting or revitalizing a mentoring culture within their office. Even mentors need mentoring, and this building block approach helps professionals on all levels learn about techniques and ways to implement mentoring into their everyday work. Creating a Mentoring Culture is of high interest to the organizational leaders, but this book can also be used as a tool with tips and templates to help other professionals learn about what the department is working towards.  This is more than a book; it is a guide with resources and tips, which includes downloadable forms on the CD.

Broken up into two sections, the first section speaks to the values of mentoring.  The reader first reflects about where their organization is with mentoring, and then the author lays the groundwork for understanding.  Section one also starts the planning process of starting a solid mentoring culture.  As the author discussed the theory, it is not only explained but applied to the process.  There is a plethora of goal alignment and self-reflection throughout section one.  The majority of section two reviews in depth the eight hallmarks of mentoring; infrastructure, alignment, accountability, communication, value and visibility, demand, multiple mentoring opportunities, and education and training.  Section two also explains the infrastructure once the framework is set up, including training and possible roadblocks. The conclusion of the book discusses mentoring in the future and how it will integrate and affect the workplace. 

Throughout the guide there are brainstorming questions, checklists, and sample agendas to set readers up for success.  All the examples in the book are also able to be reproduced using the CD.  The author gives relatable, easy to use tips for implementation.  The step-by step guidance and engaging examples keep readers attentive and excited about the process.  A strong point is the book’s depth into the subject, although the book covers a great deal of material, more than the surface issues are addressed.  There is also a long list of additional resources to support the organization along the way as it is transformed into a mentoring culture.

Zachary is able to build professionals mentoring competencies and help readers work toward mastery on all levels.  While each organization is different and will be at a different place concerning mentoring, the book is able to be used at all levels.  Although the book is applicable to the role of an advisor, the book is not the best tool for mentoring college students.  The book is truly designed to help the environment of the workplace; however many of the skills and practices the author teaches could be transferable in advising sessions.  With all the resources inside the pages of Creating a Mentoring Culture, this book is a great purchase for organizational leaders who are interested in working towards a mentoring culture within their office. It is not a quick read but the content is interesting and full of information making each page enjoyable to read.

Creating a Mentoring Culture: The Organization’s Guide (with CD) (2005). Book by Lois J. Zachary. Review by: Rachel Fatto. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass 306 pp. $45.00 ISBN # 978-0-7879-6401-6
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