'Mentoring is an interpersonal process,' expert says

Thursday - 4/19/2012, 10:50am EDT

Cary Kemp Larson, organizational psychologist, National Science Foundation

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It seems like mentoring is trendy these days among federal agencies that want to develop their staff without spending much money. Variations on the traditional format are springing up. There's informal mentoring, reverse mentoring and even speed mentoring modeled on speed dating.

"Mentoring is fundamentally an interpersonal process," said Cary Kemp Larson, an organizational psychologist who helped develop a new mentoring program at the National Science Foundation.

She told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp Thursday that mentoring is a pathway to development that is heavily influenced by individual characteristics, as well as group and organizational dynamics.

"Mentor/mentee fit is incredibly important," Kemp Larson said.