Book Review

The Mentor's Spirit: Life's Lessons on Leadership and the Art of Encouragement

Reviewed by Maria L. Goodloe,
director of Secondary Instruction,
St. Vrain Valley School
District, Longmont, Colo.


As superintendents and district-level administrators, how many of us have mentors we don't trust? Is mentoring a profession that we actively pursue? Do creative insights emerge through in-depth individual dialogue as a means of problem solving? Is the spirit of mentoring reflective? Do we always know when we are mentoring someone?

These questions are answered in The Mentor's Spirit through 12 lessons that begin with powerful and reflective quotes. Personal stories cement the lessons of mentorship within the context of three arenas: (1) the key to mentoring, (2) inviting the mentor's spirit and (3) the leadership links to mentoring. Author Marsha Sinetar defines a mentor as a person, a guide or teacher--anyone who keeps selective wisdoms that we hope to gain.

The expectation of instructional leadership in public education demands that we seek time to balance our lives if we intend to be productive mentors. Mentoring is not a blueprint. It emanates from a variety of sources including music, poetry, books, film, dance, faith, wisdom and people.

The central paradox of mentoring is described through having a clear understanding of self and our deepest inner truths. Mentors in our lives don't make heavy-handed pronouncements. We learn from them by their mere being. They speak so loudly to us, we cannot hear what they say.

Sit down, be still and join the author of this book in her journey to develop a mentor's spirit. It will uplift you and prepare you for your next challenge with a much clearer understanding of your role as a mentor and the mentors that are ever present in your life.

(The Mentor's Spirit: Life's Lessons on Leadership and the Art of Encouragement, by Marsha Sinetar, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 1998, 153 pp., $16.95 hardcover)