I was just reviewing a resource that was published in 2007: The Handbook of Mentoring At Work: Theory, Research, and Practice edited by Ragins and Kram. Although a lot of the information is theoretical so not a great resource for practitioners, it was nice to see on article on Relational Cultural Theory because as I read it I began to see that what we at Management Mentors have been doing for 22 years is what is called Relational Mentoring.
The article presents a contrast (not a contradiction) between what is traditional mentoring and what they call relational mentoring. Here are a couple of examples:
Traditional mentoring: The focus is on the self (mentoree)
Relational mentoring: The focus is on the self-in-Relation
Traditional mentoring: One-directional learning
Relational mentoring: Two-directional mentoring. I have found this true in each of the programs we've done. Successful relationships report that both mentors and mentorees gain and learn through the mentoring experience.
Traditional mentoring: Hiearchical mode of influence
In relational mentoring, growth occurs in connection with the partner; whereas in traditional mentoring, it's the mentor conveying his/her experience and expertise to the mentoree to assist in the mentoree's development.
It was satisfying to read the article and recognize that theory is finally catching up to practice.