Mentoring is a simple relationship in a complicated world. For those who see the simplicity it is best to defi ne the parts, the capabilities and conditions which inform effective mentoring, and seek to disseminate these as widely as possible. But for those who see the complications there is more to mentoring than this. It is then necessary to elaborate frameworks and seek to explore mentoring as sensibly and as fully as these frameworks allow. Such frameworks from psychoanalysis, gender relations, network theory, power relations and organizational culture have all been used to this end, to explain mentoring and its signifi cance as part of a more complicated world.