Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards & Barbara Neumann

Organic Mentoring: A Mentor's Guide to Relationships with Next Generation WomenOrganic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women by Sue Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is written primarily to older women who want to be mentors but find in their attempts to be part of traditional mentor programs that often they can’t seem to connect with the mentee and the relationship fails. Two age groups are addressed in the book – Moderns (those born prior to 1965) and Postmoderns (those born between 1965 and 1981). Traditional mentoring programs are tailored much more to how the Modern age group thinks and approaches mentoring, which no longer attract women in the Postmodern age group, thus causing the failure. I thought the book had a lot of good points in showing the differences in how the Modern age group women approach mentoring versus how the Postmodern age group women look at it. What struck me though is that when the characteristics of each age group was given, I fell more in line with the Modern women age group even though I am chronologically in the Postmodern age group (having been born in the 1970’s). The list (keeping in mind obviously that all women are different, these are generalities):

  • ”  Older women value programs, structure, and organization. Younger women value organic, flexible approaches.
  • Older women believe you must be a positive role model. younger women believe you must be yourself.
  • Older women prefer to teach or impart wisdom. Younger women want to process life and learn from real experiences.
  • Older women prefer to learn through instruction. Younger women prefer to learn through stories, experiences, and lived-out truth.
  • Older women respect and trust those in authority. Younger women respect and trust only those who have proven worthy.
  • Older women value privacy. Younger women value transparency.
  • Older women see distinct standards for how one should live as a woman. Younger women believe there is no one right way to be a woman.
  • Older women choose the mentor for the mentee. Younger women prefer to learn from multiple mentors.
  • Older women prefer scheduled terms that start and stop. Younger women want an ongoing relationship and content to build it over time.
  • Older women use technology in limited ways. Younger women depend on technology to manage life. 
  • Older women embrace contractual commitments. Younger women continue only if the experience is valuable.”

The book then tackles these issues and addresses the older women and their need to adjust and adapt to the type of mentoring that the younger women are looking for, though it goes against their natural instincts and inclinations. In order to help the current mentoring crisis (for younger women are looking for mentors), traditional programs and methods are not working and a new approach is needed. That new approach is explained throughout the book.
The appendices give training information for using this book to train older women in how to mentor the postmodern generation. Helpful tools are given – such as having a younger women panel, using skits, and doing mentor and listening skills assessments.
I found this book very easy to read and very practical. Though chronologically I fall into the younger women category, I find myself relating to more of the older women traits and so found it useful to better understand women in my own age group as well as the younger women I interact with. Though geared toward the older women, this book is also helpful for younger women to read and see why perhaps they are having trouble connecting with older women and to better understand the differences between the generations. So both groups would find this book useful in better understanding each other and seeing how they can adapt to each other for a mutually beneficial mentoring relationship. An excellent resource for any church to have for help with ministering to the women in their care.

*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher Kregel Publications in exchange for my review.

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