Mentoring with Storytelling

Mentoring and storytelling are effective forms of communication for any organization to adopt in order to increase growth, build morale, and develop relationships.

An organization that intentionally incorporates storytelling as an important part of its culture provides avenues to increase individual and group identity (Blum-kulka, 1993), connect different generations represented throughout the organization (Kellas, & Trees, 2006), and provide clear guidelines for normative behavior to be established (Thoreson, 2013, p. 88); all elements that will establish cohesion throughout the organization and promote relationships. If leaders throughout the organization will adopt the use of storytelling in their vision casting opportunities, meetings, social interactions and any other communicative venue, they will build trust and camaraderie with the individuals they lead (Florin, 2015, p. 34). This is vital as Generation Y continues to enter the workforce, since storytelling serves as a connection point between this generation and preceding generations (Elmore, 2010). Bridging generations through the use of storytelling adds to the familial atmosphere many organizations are seeking to develop (Thoreson, 2013, p. 88).

Mentoring is a vital part of the transformational leader’s toolbox, paying close attention to the personal differences among followers, coaching and advising with personal attention (Humphreys, 2005, p. 1412). A new approach to mentoring has been referred to as reverse mentoring providing an opportunity for a well-seasoned employee to be mentored by a junior employee (Bolser, 170), allowing for all generations within an organization to learn from the other generations.

The combination of storytelling in mentoring relationships, whether reverse or traditional mentoring, validates and demonstrates authenticity among individuals and accelerates relationship development between followers and with leaders (Umidi, 2005, p. 88)


Blum-Kulka, S. (1993). “You gotta know how to tell a story”: Telling, tales, and tellers in American and Israeli narrative events at dinner. Language in Society, 22(03), 361–402.

Bolser, K., & Gosciej, R. (2015). Millennials: Multi-Generational Leaders Staying Connected. Journal of Practical Consulting, vol. 5(iss. 2), pp. 1–9.

Elmore, T. (2010). Generation IY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. Poet Gardener Publishing.

Florin, W. (2015). Creating Change Faster: Convergence and Transformation Acceleration. Journal of Practical Consulting, vol. 5(iss. 2), pp. 29–37.

John H. Humphreys. (2005). Contextual implications for transformational and servant leadership. Management Decision, 43(10), 1410–1431.

Kellas, J. K., & Trees, A. R. (2006). Finding Meaning in Difficult Family Experiences: Sense-Making and Interaction Processes During Joint Family Storytelling. The Journal of Family Communication, 6(1), 49–76.

Thoreson, A. R., Rittenour, C. E., Kellas, J. K., & Trees, A. R. (2013). Quality Interactions and Family Storytelling. Communication Reports, 26(2), 88–100.

Umidi, J. (2005). Transformational Coaching. Place of publication not identified: Xulon Press.

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