This abstract describes research to explore the extent to which issues such as personal courage, fear and the potential for failure are addressed in mentoring relationships. How much can mentoring contribute to personal growth and why it is that some people in mentoring relationships seem to have an almost transformational development experience and yet for others it seems to have little impact? The methodology consisted of individual interviews with National Health Service managers, focus group discussions, reflection on the authors’ experiences and discussions with delegates attending the 6th Annual European Mentoring Conference. The article summarises the issues of personal courage and fear addressed in different types of mentoring relationships and identifies the conditions necessary for mentoring relationships that are able to explore these issues.
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