Student LifeThoughts, Feelings

How Star Wars Relates to Mentoring

Have ever seen a Star Wars movie, or engaged with the Star Wars universe in any of its many forms? Are you familiar with “the Force”? Think back to the original, Star Wars: A New Hope, when Ben Kenobi introduces Luke Skywalker—and us—to the Force, for the very first time…

Ben’s idea of the Force was that it was all around us; it binds us, connects us. We’re not always aware of its presence, but it’s there. Interestingly for me, Ben asserts that the Force is the source of a Jedi’s power.

If we substitute “Mentoring” for “the Force”—can we see the parallels?

How many Mentors have we had that were guiding us, connected to us? Sometimes, maybe, the lessons weren’t apparent to us until we attained a greater awareness. Or, like Luke in this case, intentionally seeking a Mentor who can help us gain new perspectives on seemingly familiar situations? Similar to Ben’s assertion that the Force is the source of a Jedi’s power, Mentoring is a contributor to successes we attain, be it formal or informal Mentoring.

The Jedi Council sit around their chamber, some Masters seated in chairs, others appearing as holograms as the Clone Wars rages on.

The Jedi Council (circa 19 years before the Battle of Yavin)

There’s three interesting things for me in this picture of the Jedi Council. The first is the structure of the council. The circular nature allows there to be many voices present with different perspectives being considered by all parties. Second, the Mentee…I mean Jedi…is at the centre and can benefit from the different perspectives shared and can reach out for different support or guidance depending on the situation. Third is that technology is utilized so that more voices can be heard regardless of distance or time, even if they can’t physically be there.

Of course, no mention of Jedi, the Force, or Star Wars would be complete without mention of the Sith. Yoda described the Sith thusly:

Does this sound familiar if we apply this to a Mentoring context?

With Sith mentoring, you have only one perspective. You focus on that voice, sometimes to the exclusion of others.

It can be very powerful—but beware the Dark Side of Mentoring! I’m not saying the Peer Mentoring model will lead you to betray everything you love and turn you into a force choking, planet killing, half-cyborg, but there is always the potential for someone to be Mentored in less than positive ways regardless of what mentoring structure we use.

There is an almost mystical quality about Mentoring that makes it a struggle to define exactly why it can be so powerful. If you have never formally explored a Mentoring relationship I encourage you to actively seek one out whether you lean more to the path of the Jedi or the Sith. (To be honest, I’d probably identify myself as a Sith Lord…)

We don’t even have to journey to a galaxy far, far away to figure out Mentoring structures that would work best depending on the situation. The Tri-Mentoring Program at Ryerson University has a multi-stage mentoring manual that can be used to help develop Mentoring Programs right here in this galaxy! It draws on our 15+ years of expertise training those strong with the Force and was written by the creator of the Tri-Mentoring Program at Ryerson University.

If you use any circle practices that you’d like to share, please reach out! Share your thoughts in the comments, or reach me on Twitter (@Rudhra_P).

And of course—May the Force be with you….

  • John Austin

    Love it – thanks, Rudhra!

  • Ian Ingles

    What a cool post Rudhra. Weaving together the impact of mentoring with these iconic movies makes for an informative and enjoyable read!