It is recognised that mentoring is a complex process between individuals, which is not straightforward to define.
'Mentoring itself can be seen as part of an ongoing process of capacity building within a professional network focused on improving practice.'
Holden, G (2002)
'Mentoring is a slippery concept.'
Mentoring is an, 'intense caring relationship in which persons with more experience work with less experienced persons to promote both professional and personal development'.
Caffarella (1992) quoted by Mott (2002)
Sometimes mentoring is more readily defined by stating what a mentor does in a mentoring relationship:
'A mentor is anyone who provides guidance, support, knowledge and opportunities for whatever period the mentor and [mentee] deem to be necessary'.
Burlew, L. (1991)
'Mentoring is concerned with changing the way in which the [mentee] perceives and thinks about their performance in practice. It is a transformational process...'
A lecturer on a mentor training programme.
Talking about working with student teachers Moran and Dallat suggest, '...the mentor, as well as being a role model and consultant for the student teacher, assists with the planning and evaluation of teaching and with classroom research.'
Moran, A. and Dallat, J (1995)
'In my role as a mentor I expect to lead by example and provide an exemplary role model... I envisage we could work together as a team to develop both our skills.'
A manager on a mentor training programme
The University of Ottawa, Department of Family Medicine says: 'A mentor is an individual who takes an interest in the professional development of a junior colleague, and provides a source of guidance and support.'
Mentoring Handbook of the University of Ottawa, Canada
Roberts reviewed the literature on mentoring and concluded that, 'Mentoring appears a complex and diverse activity and... features of role modelling, sponsoring and coaching may appear in some form of mentoring activity'.
Roberts, A (2000)
'Mentoring is typically defined as a relationship between an experienced and less experienced person in which the mentor provides guidance, advice support and feedback...'
Kerka (1998) quoting Haney(1997)