Excerpt from Careers Unplugged: Essential choices for a great career (Published by Blue Toffee, 2007, available on Amazon) Written by Meena Thuraisingham, BSc Hons (Psych), Founder and Principal, TalentInvest   Despite being rated as one of the top 5 most powerful development experiences by successful leaders polled by the Center for Creative Leadership, mentoring remains largely misunderstood. Through time, mentors have played profound roles and have had significant impact on the careers and lives of those they mentored – this is as true of the corridors on political power, on the sports field, in the entertainment industry, as it is in the boardroom. This excerpt explores the 6 most common myths that stand in the way of impactful mentoring relationships and will help organisations and individuals optimise the value of such partnerships. Before exploring these myths, a clearer definition of the mentor may be useful.  The role of mentor and coach are often used interchangeable but they are distinct roles. A mentor is typically someone who has been in that role before and has had benefit of role experience. Madeleine Albright for example mentored Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice well because she understood the role of Secretary of State, having served successfully in that role, producing 2 equally successful Secretaries of State that followed her. Mentoring is a partnership, more nuanced than the master-apprentice one it is often cast as. The partnership can exist between equally talented and experienced individuals, characterised by the reflection and learning required to facilitate personal and professional development of the person being mentored; So it is conceivable for a experienced Group CFO to coach an equally experienced Divisional CEO aspiring to grow into a Group CEO in time. Mentors provide non-judgmental support, encouragement and wise counsel required to better fulfil one’s career or personal potential. It may either be on a one-off or continuing basis – just one compelling insight shared in a corridor conversation can be pivotal in changing one’s worldview. We have all remembered those ‘moments of truth’. In personal life a parent or a trusted friend with different life experience can provide invaluable mentoring too. A mentor engages in empathetic listening – even ‘walking’ in your shoes for a while to develop deeper understanding of your context. A good mentor will challenge as much as support – challenging views of life and career, testing assumptions about goals and barriers, and stretching one’s thinking, beyond where one would typically be happy to go. They often provide important insight such as an ‘aha’ experience, helping to understand properly the meaning of an event, a person or something inside yourself or provide you a quote or metaphor that has great significance for you and...