Perhaps the most persistently tantalizing question I have come across in the study of mentoring – among researchers, professionals, mentors and mentees alike – is also an apparently basic one: What does mentoring mean? How can we define it? It seems to be a vexing question for those involved in its practice, as some of the mentors at New Beginnings found:

Jane: [Mentoring] means such a lot, because I think it’s very difficult to define. Karen: Mentoring is difficult, because no one ever tells you exactly what it should

be. Rachel: I’m really confused about how the mentoring. . . . The mentoring side of

the [training] course was very sort of: ‘OK, this is where you are, this is what you’re like’ . . . but when you got there, you didn’t know what you were doing.