Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Norma C. Noonan, PhD

Second Advisor

John Cerrito

Third Advisor

Judy Reeve


Mentoring is a process dating back to the times of the ancient Greeks. In modern times, key mentoring activities remain unchanged: mentors guide a proteges development. Today, this development encompasses many things, including leadership. This study began as an exploration of the mentoring-leadership link. This study sought to determine how mentor and leader roles overlap, and if mentoring was significant in leadership development. The study approach was two pronged: first, a limited leadership and mentoring literature review; and second, a survey of people with mentoring-leadership experiences.

Some literature sources confirmed limited mentoring-leadership links. A few reported specific mentoring benefits with positive leadership impact, while others reported common skills, such as experience, knowledge and competence. Literature sources also identified items such as protection, challenging assignments, and role model examples as ways that mentors enhanced leadership development.

The second study area centered on a 50 person survey in a large Midwestern city. Participants, with leadership-mentoring experiences, confirmed mentors were influential in leadership development. Examples included gaining better organizational knowledge, avoiding mistakes, and quicker skills development. Participants identified similar mentor-leader traits, and they confirmed complimentary roles for leaders and mentors.

Why should leaders consider mentoring important now? This study confirmed the hypothesis that mentoring benefits leaders and leadership development. Both study tools also identified mentoring benefits for mentors and companies alike. Mentor benefits included higher personal and professional satisfaction; company benefits included increased common knowledge and goals. The study also examined problem areas such as fairness, harassment and indebtedness. By wide margins, participants rejected these areas as harmful for leaders or leadership development. This study ends with recommendations for further study. Hopefully, mentoring will find a rightful place in leadership studies, and practical applications in leadership development models.


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