Practice applications Business of Dietetics| Volume 110, ISSUE 8, P1148, August 2010

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Instant Mentoring: Sharing Wisdom and Getting Advice Online with E-Mentoring

      The concept behind mentoring has existed since as early as ancient Greece, when Odysseus placed his friend Mentor in charge of his son Telemachus while he went off to fight in the Trojan War in the late 12th century BC. Obviously, we've come a long way since the days of Homer's Odyssey, but only recently have technological advances allowed for changes in the way mentoring is conducted, removing the necessity of meeting face-to-face whenever the mentee has a question or the mentor an idea to share. E-mail and the Internet have opened up new avenues for mentors and mentees to find and connect with each other—whether they work in the same office or on opposite sides of the globe. Today, nearly everything can be done through the Internet, from talking to friends across the world to ordering take-out from a neighborhood restaurant to paying bills without leaving your desk—but what about getting personalized training or advice to advance your career as a food and nutrition professional? Web-based mentoring, or e-mentoring, if used correctly, shows that online mentoring relationships can be just as productive and fulfilling as traditional ones (Figure 1). After establishing the basics of the traditional mentoring relationship in last month's Journal, this article concludes our two-part series on mentoring in the modern workplace by exploring the nuances of mentoring online.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1Traditional mentoring vs e-mentoring.
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