Mentoring: Boosting self-worth, optimising potential

Year: 2006

Author: Jane, Beverley, Peeler, Eleanor

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Most models of mentoring aim to attune newcomers to the philosophies of appropriate social practices. Knowledge gained can lead to community membership, give voice to newcomers and sanction them to take an active role. To confine the application of mentoring to workplace situations, whereby new members are integrated into 'appropriate practices' takes a narrow view. In this paper we consider both educational and broader community applications of mentoring in which more adept members support others less proficient in day-to-day institutional and social skills. Successful relationships involve mentors who encourage their mentees through dialogue and modelling. Rather than impose particular ways of performing, they assess mentees' needs and initiate strategies of self-help. In the studies we draw upon time, patience and personal commitment are fundamental to mentees developing emotional stability, social empowerment and personal motivation to take on proactive roles. The attainment of appropriate knowledge corresponds with a boosted sense of self-worth and an "optimistic sense of efficacy [that] fosters psychological well-being and personal accomplishments" (Bandura, 1997:75).