In the wake of the myriad of sexual harassment scandals, we are seeing some unintended consequences – particularly for women. “What we’re seeing now is men are backing away from the role that we try to encourage them to play, which is actively mentoring and sponsoring women in the workplace,” says Al Harris in a quote he gave to The New York Times. Harris runs workplace equality programs in Chicago. “There’s apprehension on the part of men that they’re going to be falsely accused of sexual harassment.”

Now, more than ever, we need to make sure our organizations are continuing to mentor women. And if we can create a mentoring culture, we can provide an atmosphere where men (and women) can safely mentor women.

Wether you are a leader ready to share your knowledge and mentor someone else, an HR professional looking to implement a sustainable mentoring or sponsorship program in your organization, or a new mentee, below is a book roundup offering five books you can add to your reading list or audible account. Studies show that women in business are more successful when they have a mentor helping them navigate up an organization.

1. “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women” by W. Brad Johnson and David Smith, PhD

If you are specifically looking to learn how and why to mentor women in your organization, this book tops our list. We feel it’s a good read for both men and women and comes with strong endorsements:

“Athena Rising reminds us that when men lean in for equality, we all benefit. Brad Johnson and David Smith have written a powerful and practical guide for men on the steps that will make a big difference for organizations and for women.” –Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.Org

“Finally someone has tackled the central issue to women’s advancement at work: why don’t men champion female talent like they do for other men? ‘Athena Rising’ answers that question and — through story-telling and research — inspires men to rethink reluctance and mentor for the good of heir female colleagues, their companies, and, ultimately, themselves.” – Kat Gordon Founder, The 3% Movement

Here’s the book summary from Amazon:

Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged-sometimes stridently-to “find a mentor!” Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations. Organizations that retain and promote top talent-both female and male-are more likely to thrive.  But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. It is a straightforward, no-nonsense manual for helping men of all institutions, organizations, and businesses to become excellent mentors to women.  Co-authors W. Brad Johnson, PhD and David Smith, PhD draw from extensive research and years of experience as experts in mentoring relationships and gender workplace issues. When a man mentors a woman, they explain, the relationship is often complicated by conventional gender roles and at times hostile external perceptions. Traditional notions of mentoring are often modeled on male-to-male relationships-the sort that begin on the golf course, involve a nearly exclusive focus on career achievement, and include more than a few slaps on the back over drinks after work. But women often report a desire for mentoring that integrates career and interpersonal needs. Women want a mentor who not only “gets” this, but truly honors it.  Men need to fully appreciate just how crucial their support of promising junior women can be in helping them to persist, promote, and thrive in their vocations and organizations. As women succeed, lean in, and assume leading roles in any organization or work context, that culture will become more egalitarian, effective, and prone to retaining top talent.

2. Mentoring 101 by John C. Maxwell

At just under 130 pages, this book is a quick read. And though the book is 10 years old, it seems to still have relevant information that might be helpful for your organization. Per the reviews, it seems it may serve well as a facilitators guide with basic information to get a mentorship program off the ground

“I used this book to set up a mentoring program for our new employees. I got a lot of practical advice from it and my boss was very pleased with the outcome!!” –Amazon Review

Great tool for mentors. Quick read. Good tips.” – Amazon Review

Here’s the book summary from Amazon:

Ask the best leaders in any organization how they learned to be successful, and you often hear the same answer: they had a good mentor.

Now international leadership expert John Maxwell gives the bottom line on mentoring in one short, easy-to-read volume. In Mentoring 101, he gives the steps needed to effectively reproduce your success in someone else. He explains how to choose the right person to mentor, how to create the right environment for leaders to thrive and grow, and how to get started.

What if you spent your entire life achieving but never shared your wisdom with anyone else? don’t let your success end with you.

As a mentor, you can create a legacy that will last long after you are done reading.

3. The Elements of Mentoring: The 65 Key Elements of Mentoring” by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley

Another mentoring book from W. Brad Johnson, this book seems to be a very useful resource and jam-packed with actionable ideas. Take note that the writing style is more academic and not a great fit for everyone.

“Johnson and Ridley carefully explain the skills, attitudes and values that make for effective mentoring. In this useful guide, they point out what helps and what could hurt these developmental relationships. A must read for mentors and protégés alike. I recommend it highly” -Winston E. Gooden, Ph.D., Dean, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology

I did a combination of reading, skimming and taking notes as I made my way through this book. The writing style felt stuffy, but that didn’t bother me as it might bother some. In fact, I appreciated the clear, directive, straightforward approach….The book was loaded with ideas on how to be an excellent mentor that covered the skills of a mentor and characteristics of a good mentor. It also included ideas on how to start a mentoring relationship on the right foot, how to set agreements, how to handle dynamics that derail a relationship, and how to end the relationship.” – Amazon Review

Here’s the book summary from Amazon:

Patterned after Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style, this new edition concisely summarizes the substantial existing research on the art and science of mentoring. The Elements of Mentoring reduces this wealth of published material on the topic to the sixty-five most important and pithy truths for supervisors in all fields. These explore what excellent mentors do, what makes an excellent mentor, how to set up a successful mentor-protégé relationship, how to work through problems that develop between mentor and protégé, what it means to mentor with integrity, and how to end the relationship when it has run its course. Succinct and comprehensive, this is a must-have for any mentor or mentor-to-be.

4. Creating a Mentoring Culture: The Organization’s Guide” by Lois J. Zachary

If you are looking to implement a lasting mentoring program in your organization, this book may be even more valuable than “Mentoring 101” by John C. Maxwell – though not as quick of a read. 

Lois Zachary’s ‘Creating a Mentoring Culture’ is a must-have for organizations interested in creating a high performing and sustainable mentoring program and that want to ensure its alignment with the culture. We were recently engaged by a large corporation to help them design and implement a leadership development mentoring program. The mentoring program’s sponsor wanted a sustainable program that would enhance and support existing succession planning and leadership development initiatives. As the consultants on the project, we were thrilled to find Zachary’s “Creating a Mentoring Culture” because it aligned with our organizational approach and our own mentoring philosophy. We made this book a requirement for the design team and it quickly became an essential tool during the design phase. After reading the book, the design team realized the importance of the work that needed to be done prior to implementation.” -Amazon Review

Here’s the book summary from Amazon:

In order to succeed in today’s competitive environment, corporate and nonprofit institutions must create a workplace climate that encourages employees to continue to learn and grow. From the author of the best-selling The Mentor’s Guide comes the next-step mentoring resource to ensure personnel at all levels of an organization will teach and learn from each other. Written for anyone who wants to embed mentoring within their organization, Creating a Mentoring Culture is filled with step-by-step guidance, practical advice, engaging stories, and includes a wealth of reproducible forms and tools.

5. The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You” by Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler

Also written by Lois J. Zachary, this book focuses on the mentee’s perspective and what the mentee can do to make sure they have a successful experience. If you are the mentee, you may want to add this book to your line-up.

The Mentee’s Guide inspires and guides the potential mentee, provides new insights for an adventure in learning that lies ahead, and underscores my personal belief and experience that mentoring is circular. The mentor gains as much as the mentee in this evocative relationship. Lois Zachary’s new book is a great gift.” —Frances Hesselbein, chairman and founding president, Leader to Leader Institute

“I bought this as a guide to a new Mentor/Coaching program I implemented in my workplace. It has been an invaluable tool!”
Amazon Review