The spread of the behavioral school of management in the aftermath of the Second World War raised the importance of human resources, and businesses now began to pay attention on training and development of employees. The earliest of such initiatives were full-blooded management training program generic in nature and lasting for days.
The downturn of the economy in the 1990s was a blessing in disguise in the history of mentoring. The pressure on profits, combined with greater competitive pressures forced many organizations to look at alternative cost-effective methods to open training programs. This initially took to tailoring customized programs from training institutes, to address specific organizational issues, and organizations and managers began to see the benefits of individualized approach to personal development. The layoffs that accompanied the recession left those who remained in highly stressed environments without support, requiring guidance and support on an individual basis.
Research on mentoring as an effective training and development tool had started much earlier, and now more and more people started incorporated the concept to management science as an effective way of training and developing employees. Tim Gallwey's 1974 book "The Inner Game of Tennis" though related to sports, has a profound impact on the minds of those looking to excel in any field. He said: “the opponent in one's head was greater than the one on the other side of the net." This stuck and a psychological orientation was the need for the day. Levinson’s 1978 work "The Season's of a Man’s Life" referred to a "life cycle" and stressed on the need to improve transition from young adulthood to maturity through a process of mentorship.
The works of Lewis, G. “The Mentoring Manager" published by the Institute of Management Foundation, Pitman Publishing in 1996, and Hay’s “Transformational Mentoring" published by McGrawHill Book Company in 1995 did a lot to provide a theoretical base for the concept, enabling organizations to apply this concept on a widespread basis. The concept soon caught on as a training and development tool owing to its ability to resolve a host of complex issues such as discussing highly personal or confidential matters in depth, and provisions to reflect and discover over a period, a stark contrast to the pre-packaged and one-fits-all solutions typical of generic training programs.