Mentoring Relationships

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Mentoring relationships per Levinson el al. (1978) enable youth (millennials/xennials) to successfully enter the adult work and simultaneously assist in career growth that establishes separate identities. Such relationships greatly impact how individuals experience any particular form of mentoring (Mullen, 2005). Kram & Isabella (1985), stated that “mentoring has further delineated specific development functions provided by relationships. By providing career enhancing functions, the assistance that the xennials will establish a role within the organization, learning the ropes, and prepare for advancement ( p. 85). The blending of mentoring and coaching ideologies are often practiced while training the mentee (Gottesman, 2000).

Kram & Isabella ( 1985) exploratory study, held in a large northeastern manufacturing company, an examine the nature of supportive peer relationships in the early, middle, and late career stages was conducted by members of human resources. Of the two criteria’s: participants ages and tenure within the organization) the research selected individuals with whom to have discussions of supportive relationships and encouraged nurturing the relationship to build a special bond. Based on the career stage of the individuals, the three types of peer relationships (early, middle, and late career stages) varied based on the developmental tasks that each person brought to the relationship (Kram & Isabella, 1985).

Based on the established stage of career, the process of peer relationships seems characterized with hierarchical technical mentoring. Meaning the mentor is viewed to have more wisdom and experience and is described as the model and career guide” (Kram & Isabella, 1985). The study indicates that mentoring and peer relationships had various similarities: the potential to support development at successive career stages and career enhancing and psychosocial functions. The delineated continuum of peer relationships found within the study, suggest implications for the exploratory research. The study focused on peer relationships within informational, collegial, and special peer support within successive career stages. However, the relationships tend to involve mutuality but if combined with other types of relationships the potential of meeting the needs involve greater reciprocity ( Kram & Isabella, 1985).

When thinking of peer coaching, the relationships between the mentee and mentor is a journey that procedural steps of peer watching, peer feedback, and peer review motivates the mentee to commit to growth related opportunities (Mullen, 2005). Mullen (2005), attaches great value to skill based coaching/peer mentoring relationship and uses the role of teacher and leader as anecdotal evidence of mentoring. Mullen provides the example of the North Carolina Teacher Performance Appraisal Instrument ( TCPAI), used to assess student teacher competencies. It recognized that when it came to evaluations used in determining the potential employment and eligibility, the role of being the mentor compromised the assistance provided and could compromise the safety of the information shared. The study proved that mentorship and supervision when intertwined , with distinct purposes, serve different functions within educational systems.

Mentoring leaders within an educational system prepare higher education students to work in administrative program. Mullen (2005) states that mentoring relationships within higher education, are either formal or informal for teaching faculty and department chairs. This technical mentoring allows the relationship to promote teaching and learning. These strategies impact the faculty’s teaching practice of problem solving, providing feedback, soliciting advice and giving constructive praise. Feedback from tenure faculty study (Mullen, 2004), supported high performance of practicing tenure track faculty in core leadership areas, such as educational organizational, management, student services, and community relations.

Influences of Mentoring Relationships

Mentorship within the literature focuses on two types of mentorship process that produce important outcomes: psychosocial and career (Daloz, 1999; Kram. 1985). The mentor in the psychosocial mentoring process, serves as a counselor, friend, and advocate by providing guidance, role modeling, and acceptance for the mentee (Kram, 1985). Daloz lectures that the mentor should serve as a guide for the student along this part of their journey. He stated:

Mentors are guides. They lead us along the journey of our lives. We trust them because they have been there before. They embody our hopes, cast light on the way ahead, interpret arcane signs, warn us of lurking dangers, and point out unexpected delights along the way. (p. 17)

The outcomes within career mentoring includes efficacy in job performance, cultivating political capital, establishing collegial relationships, fostering job satisfaction, and nurturing organizational commitment (Kram, 1988). Mentoring relationships are known for a wide variety of educational outcomes, which are positioned under categories of psychosocial or career mentoring processes (Bernier, Larose, & Soucy, 2005). Mentors transpire from different roles within higher education, empowering each role form what has been to what will be. One to one peer relationship is an important component of mentoring (Light, 2001), it provides a significant and positive influence on the mentee.

The intentionality of a mentor engaging in a relationship is more than just a series of informational sessions, it is clarification through exploration of important factors related to the mentees wellbeing. In a biographical study, mentoring relationship between tenure and tenure track faculty are evolutionary in nature (Karm, 1980). The Influence of the relationship is based on career and psychosocial aspirations. Kram (1980) identified four phases of mentorship based on her interview study. Of the 18 work related relationship, the initiation phase last approximately 18 months to a year. However the cultivation phase lasts two to five years and the separation phase follows lasting six months, where the mentee seeks independence from the mentor.

The redefinition phase lasts indefinitely yet is characterized by the former mentoring relationship thus ending in a “peer like bond between the mentor and mentee” ( Middendorf, 2010). Krams phases illustrates how influential mentorship relationships are in a mentees developmental/ professional growth. The emotional bond between the mentor and mentee cultivates an intimacy and trust that suggests that mentoring relationship vary in intensity ( (e.g., Allen et al., 2007; Jacobi, 1991; Levinson et al., 1978; Ragins et al., 2000)) A study at Pfister’s college (2004), showed significant influence on overall achievement with tenured faculty and tenure track faculty mentoring.

Data indicated that mentors who underestimated their performance of transformational leadership contributed to the highest quality developmental relationships (Godshalk & Sosik, 2000). Results alluded to the importance of a relational leadership approach and mutuality in mentoring. Kram & Isabella, indicate that scholars agree that mentorship has a substantial impact (1985). Mentoring relationships that form in a higher education context influences the mentee in pursuing educational advantages. “There is a better grasp of the psychological and organizational factors with encourage progress” ( Kram & Isabella, 1985 p.130) . The forfeited relationships within an organizational setting affect the nature of peer relationships. Through interview date, the characteristics of the work environment differs in the professional culture (tenure within the organization, reward system, training programs, etc..) which may affect the relationships outcome.


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Mentoring Relationships. (2021, Jul 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/mentoring-relationships/

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