Identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship

Mentoring Pathways—The Mentoring Relationship: You have to want it! (Part 3) |

identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship

Anecdotal evidence suggests this relationship is adversely affected when scholar and mentor expectations are not aligned. We examined three questions: (1). The purpose of this study is to identify the most important relational .. The importance of the alignment of expectations in a mentoring relationship was observed. Topics and Questions to Align Participant Expectations in expectations among all parties to mentoring relationships including parents, mentors, and youth. . in- person, we can try to identify a time to talk before or after monthly group events.

The coding framework was developed following Tesch's eight-step model as described in a study by De Vos et al. By using the Tesch's eight-step model in this study, the transcripts were first read for each group of participants. This enabled the researcher to identify words and phrases that were common to each group. Whilst trying to understand the information contained in the transcripts, thoughts and ideas were written down as they came to mind.

Similar topics that emerged from these transcripts were categorised together, formed and placed next to the relevant words or phrases in the transcripts. These words and phrases were analysed further to discover any underlying themes and sub-themes to simplify the coding process. Following this, themes and sub-themes were grouped into relevant categories, enabling a preliminary analysis to be performed. This process allowed for comparison of differences in the perceptions and experiences across the three groups of participants.

Once the Tesch's eight-step model was completed, a combination of content analysis and constant comparative analysis was identified as the most suitable techniques for data analysis in this study. Content analysis was used to find the meaning of the transcribed interviews Stam The variations across the three groups of participants provided an understanding into relational conditions that are necessary to ensure effective mentoring of black-owned small businesses in South Africa.

Trustworthiness According to Eriksson and Kovalainen Trustworthiness is a concept that addresses the issues of validity and reliability of qualitative research Elo et al. Similarly, in this study, trustworthiness issues were addressed through considering validity and reliability as described in the subsequent sections.

Validity The researchers received participants' feedback on the data collected to confirm that the information recorded was accurate and correct. In addition, empirical findings of this study were compared with previous research on mentoring in other contexts to ensure the validity of this study. Reliability Reliability was ensured by firstly constructing a thorough and well-documented methodology section. Secondly, reliability was ensured by proper documentation of all the important information pertaining to this study, which included the interview schedule, interview transcripts and other secondary data for future reference.

Ethical considerations The researchers have obtained ethics approval from the academic institution at which this study was conducted.

Participants were given the opportunity to decline or withdraw from participation in the study. Even though no confidential information such as financial records was required, participants were ensured that their responses would be treated with the strictest confidentiality. Findings The primary objective of this study was achieved by gaining an understanding of the relational conditions required for effective mentoring of black-owned small businesses.

Table 1 provides a summary of the themes and quotes that illustrate the relational conditions required for effective mentoring of black-owned small businesses.

Identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship. - Semantic Scholar

Knowledge and expertise The mentor possessing knowledge and expertise in a mentoring relationship was reported as an important relational condition for effective mentoring. One mentor highlighted the importance of being skilled to mentor small businesses.

I could have improved my skills in the mentoring. For example, mentees explained that a mentor should be someone with 'expertise based on our industry. Experience and age Experience in a mentoring relationship was valued by the participants across the three groups of participants. A novice mentor reported that 'it was my first time and also it's a challenge when you doing the mentoring session and you come up with the questions that you are unable to answer.

In contrast, mentees related the level of experience to the age of the mentor.

Identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship.

Mentees stated that mentors 'need to have owned a business' and that 'the one who is older has got a lot of experience'. One mentee explained that 'when you get younger people mentoring you, there is limited advice'.

Another mentee also emphasised experience by stating that 'experience goes hand-in-hand with qualifications'.

identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship

Nonetheless, other mentees were of the opinion that the age of the mentor should not be an issue. One mentee explained that 'If somebody is younger than me but when he's giving me the mentorship or he's mentoring and you see the necessary skills in him. I don't see any problem at all'. Another mentee explained that 'If the mentor is trained. Approachability of the mentor The aspect of approachability of the mentor was mentioned by one mentor and a large number of mentees as influencing the mentoring relationship.

The mentor mentioned that 'the mentor's approach towards the mentee' is important in a mentoring relationship. This mentor further explained that as a mentor, 'you don't want to dominate them [mentees]; you want to find out how can I help you to make your business a success'. Similarly, mentees indicated that having an approachable mentor is important in a mentoring relationship. For example, a mentee emphasised that a mentor 'must be someone who is approachable. Mutual respect The participants expressed their views on the important role that both a respectful mentor and mentee play in the mentoring relationship.

With regard to a respectful mentor, mentees stated that respectful mentors treat mentees as 'adults' and that 'saying the right things, using the right words' also demonstrates that mentors are respectful.

For example, a mentor noted that if mentees 'respect the mentors, they [mentors] will be able to give [show] that respect'. However, another mentor cautioned that being respectful does not mean that questions should not be asked by mentees during the mentoring process, as evidenced in this quotation: This means that being respectful should not stop mentees from being free to express their views and ask questions during the mentoring process.

Mentees also expressed their views on the significance of themselves showing respect towards mentors in a mentoring relationship. These mentees expressed their views saying: One mentee further explained that being respectful towards a mentor is demonstrated by 'saying the right things; using the right words.

The mentors stated that when open communication exists in a mentoring relationship, mentees become 'comfortable to speak during mentoring processes, and that a mentor 'must be a good communicator' to enable open communication.

Mentees noted that a mentor should 'be free or open', 'be able to listen. Another mentee explained that in the absence of communication, 'there will be a misunderstanding' in the relationship. They expressed their views, saying that 'any person, to be a mentor, must have the ability to communicate.

Relating to communication, the language being used during mentoring sessions is regarded as an important relational condition. Mentors mentioned that some people 'don't even understand English. Another mentor expressed these views saying: Mentees also acknowledged that using English during mentoring sessions is a challenge because they prefer using 'the vernac.

Another aspect related to communication is intercultural communication. A mentor expressed his views saying that 'there's a lot of cultural differences between the different societies. Another mentor explained that the challenge exists when 'it's black to black.

A mentee also expressed his views saying: Mentors in the current study emphasised that 'there has to be a good trusting relationship' and that during the interactions, mentors should be bold to 'tell them [mentees] the honest [truth]'.

An example of the statements made by mentees on trust and honesty in the mentoring relationship is that '[mentoring is] about trust. I can believe in his abilities'. It was also evident from mentees' perceptions that confidentiality of information during the mentoring process is strongly linked to trust and honesty.

For example, mentees stated that 'a mentor should be somebody. Nonetheless, mentees explained that the mentoring relationship should be professional at all times and that 'things that are personal. According to these participants, 'the relationship will never work without trust.

identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship

Passion and patience of the mentor The mentees and board members considered the passion and patience of the mentor as an important relational condition that should be in place in a mentoring relationship. Mentees noted that mentors should possess 'passion to work with small businesses', 'be very patient' and that they should 'want to see the growth of the mentee.

Linking to passion and patience of the mentor, emotional support by the mentor was considered important for a mentoring relationship. A mentee explained that mentors are 'the voice that keeps you going'. Mentees further explained that the mentor should be 'the encourager', 'must also fit [in] our shoes' and 'know how to sympathise'.

Again, mentees alleged that 'if he [mentor] can't help you, he can refer you to somewhere'.

Identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship.

Whilst most mentees acknowledged the importance of having a mentor who provides emotional support and encouragement, contradictory views were observed on what constitutes emotional support provided by mentors. Some mentees emphasised that the role of a supportive mentor should not be exploited, saying that mentors 'shouldn't be your therapist.

They explained that mentors 'need to understand the role of psychology' and that mentors 'end up assisting in business-related issues, but end up being a counsellor as well'.

Mentee's willingness to learn The participants noted that mentees should be dedicated and willing to learn during the mentoring process. Mentors pointed out that a mentee's willingness to learn is demonstrated by being a 'self-starter Mentees also realised the importance of showing willingness towards their own learning, saying: One mentee noted that mentees often engage in and fail to commit to mentoring because of the wrong reasons, saying that 'the biggest mistake when people walk into institutions They must be slave-drivers to themselves'.

In this study, mentees' receptiveness to feedback is another aspect that demonstrates mentees' willingness to learn. The mentors stated that mentees should be able to deal with feedback, 'whether it be negative or positive' and that mentees 'need to be open to, not necessarily criticism, but to advice.

This mentee stressed that mentees should 'take everything as it comes. In particular, mentors raised their concerns that mentees 'have huge expectations. On the other hand, most of the mentees expressed disappointment with their mentoring institutions because their mentoring expectations had not been met.

Varied expectations were noted by these mentees. Examples of mentees' expectations are evident in these quotations: Despite the fact that most mentees noted that their expectations about mentoring had not been fulfilled, two mentees expressed their satisfaction with the mentoring programme and said: I think majority of the sessions I had. Cultural issues The three groups of participants stated that it is important to acknowledge that cultural differences could exist between mentors and mentees, which can influence mentoring relationships.

However, these participants indicated that these cultural differences should not become a challenge to the smooth running of mentoring programmes. One mentor indicated that mentors should 'take them [cultural differences] aside of the working ethics'. Although mentors indicated that cultural differences should not influence mentoring relationships, some mentors explained that mentors should 'be culturally sensitive' and that 'people need to understand.

Instead, these mentees said: In contrast, one mentee alleged that the diverse values, beliefs and religions in a mentoring relationship did have an impact on the mentoring programme she participated in.

The mentee stated that 'it's good if you are a Christian to be mentored by a Christian. Like the mentors, they emphasised that cultural differences between the mentor and mentee should not influence the effectiveness of mentoring relationships.

They felt that mentors 'need to understand it [cultural difference]' and that the 'understanding of group dynamics is also important.

Discussion and recommendations The findings of this study reveal that the majority of the participants acknowledge the importance of good relations between mentors and mentees during mentoring processes. From the participants' responses, 10 key relational conditions were identified as important during mentoring of black owner-managers in South Africa.

The extent to which mentors are knowledgeable and able to transfer this knowledge to mentees, as well as possessing expertise necessary to develop owner-managers, was found to have an impact on the effectiveness of mentoring relationships.

De Janasz and Godshalk Having an experienced and older mentor was suggested as important as it strengthens the relationship between the mentor and mentee.

To become experienced mentors of small businesses, the mentors themselves must have owned a business because business decisions should not be based on reading books, but rather on experience.

Previous research presents different views on the significance of experience of the mentor in the effectiveness of mentoring relationships. For example, McGill By contrast, Mann and Tang The study in question found that it was preferable to have a less experienced mentor because the mentor's experience would be more recent, eliminating the generation gap where old concepts are presented in current situations. In addition, the findings of this study link the level of experience of mentors to their age.

The idea of experience being linked to age is inherent in the traditional theory of mentoring whereby a mentor is referred to as someone who is older than the mentee and is experienced in the field to impart knowledge to the younger individual. Therefore, there could still be challenges to mentoring relationships that do not follow the traditional older-mentor and younger-mentee combination Finkelstein et al. The findings of this study suggest that approachability of the mentor is important in ensuring the effectiveness of mentoring relationships.

Being approachable is described as having a positive attitude towards mentees, as well as creating an environment that allows mentees to address issues freely, and not making mentees feel dominated in the relationship. This correlates with the research findings of Little, Kearney and Britner The participants of this study also expressed their views on the important role that mutual respect plays in the mentoring relationship.

It is important that both mentors and mentees know how to speak to one another. In particular to mentors, they should use the right words to give advice, and treat mentees as adults. Commitment Commitment often means time: Mentors schedules are often difficult due to their current professional positions; mentees need to take the initiative to ask questions promptly and allow time for responses.

If a mentor travels or is frequently in meetings, then a mentee needs to access if this response time aligns with the expectations of the relationship.

identifying and aligning expectations in a mentoring relationship

A defined plan has positive implications. It is really helpful in maintaining a mentoring relationship, because it tracks how often you really do meet, for how long, and what was accomplished; and helps to measure progress toward stated goals. Rewards The two-way learning experience typically is rewarding and fun.

Sharing experiences and knowledge, celebrating growth and progress toward goals, and building friendships that last a lifetime can all be part of a mentoring relationship. An effective mentoring relationship is a model of collaboration- it provides a collaborative and learning experience of new ways of thinking and acting to build a career.

You can read and obtain copies of the full series of articles on mentoring and career development by going to Mentoring Pathways on the SMPS website: The Art of Mentoring. Lead, follow and get out of the way.

Making the Most of Being Mentored. How to grow from a mentoring partnership. Stoddard, David and Robert J. The Heart of Mentoring. Ten proven principles for developing people to their fullest potential. She is the founder and president of Golden Square, a national firm that works with clients to create and maximize their marketing and communications to deliver results. She can be reached at deborahh goldensquare.