The challenges and benefits of a formal mentoring program are considered within the context of learning organizations: specifically, graduate medical education and professional development. While no single definition addresses every aspect of mentoring, this process is a distinct one with established traditions and expectations. The core requirements of attraction, action and affect remain and are essential for this adult developmental process to be successful. This paper's review of the literature supports the belief that mentoring has value, even into the next millennium, with some conceptual evolution. We are encouraging a paradigm shift from the traditional dyad model of mentoring to a triad model: organization, mentor, and protégé. The future development of outcome measures will be a necessary goal to demonstrate that both personal and organizational goals can coexist.