The characteristics of learning organizations are paradoxical in that they appear internally contradictory. Mentors typically have no formal authority over mentees, yet they are regarded by mentees as authorities. Mentees typically regard themselves as ""one down"" to mentors, yet their growth and learning is exclusively a function of their own initiative and self-discipline. Mentoring appears casual, informal, even incidental, yet its success can change a mentees life. Paradoxically, mentoring requires the sharing of past experience, yet its focus is on assuring a successful future.