In Greek mythology when Odysseus, King of Ithaca, went off to fight in the Trojan War, he asked his best friend, Mentor, to look after the development of his son, Telemachus. Mentor's task was to educate and train the boy to fulfill his birthright. Mentor helped Telemachus to become an adult who would inspire his father's pride. When Odysseus failed to return home at the end of the war, Telemachus left the safety of his home to find his father and bring him home. The goddess Athena, disguised as Mentor, traveled with him. The triumph of this venture proved the success of Mentor - and mentoring.

Through time, the notion of mentoring has included trade and craft guilds, apprenticeship systems and matching based on similar learning styles. Mentoring has regained popularity under a variety of names and styles, again mainly as a method by which a less experienced individual can learn from a more experienced one. The United States Congress named 2001 as the "Year of the Mentor" and strongly encouraged cities and towns to organize volunteer programs to match adults with teens to help put them on a career track.

There have been a number of innovations in mentoring. Most recently e-mentoring has been shown to work extremely well after an initial level of trust and certain ground rules have been established. Often the mentors and protégés never meet each other face-to-face but have enjoyed effective written correspondence. With the prevalence of social media and web-conferencing technologies like Skype, Go-to Meeting, Adobe Connect, Bb Collaborate, etc., e-mentoring has become a viable option in creating mentoring relationships.

Information taken in part/full, adapted and used with permission from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Mentoring Handbooks - November 14, 2012: &