The Developmental Mentoring Continuum
©
2003, Barry Sweeny

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A Framework That Illustrates the Sequence of Mentoring Applications Across Age and Career Levels

There are so many applications for mentoring! We use mentoring strategies to guide and assist at-risk youth, newly hired employees, managers, higher education students, all kinds of people in every imaginable walk of life, position, and kind of organization. There are so many applications that we may not see the consistant, simple, sequential flow of mentoring through life and careers.

The Developmental Mentoring Continuum is a framework which was developed to illustrate that sequence of mentoring applications across age and career levels.


The Basic "Unit" within the Developmental Mentoring Continuum is one person who is both:

The adjacent figure illustrates this basic "unit" as the oval labelled "Me".

The M stands for the role the person plays as a Mentor, and the P represents this same person's role as a Protege, when the person works with his/her own mentor. The arrows show how the mentoring relationships of this one person link to other persons.


The Basic Concept

Next each of those persons' relationships extend to working as a protege and as a mentor with still other persons, repeating the basic unit over and over again. The essential concept behind this is, "Everyone IS a mentor, and is BEING mentored." We are all continually learning and supporting others' learning.


The Developmental Mentoring Continuum

The Continuum below illustrates how each persons' relationships extend to working as a protege and as a mentor with still other persons, repeating the basic unit over and over again. Across this Continuum the content of the dialogue changes depending of the goals, but the mentoring strategies remain the same.

The Continuum shows skill, career and leadership development at an adult level, such as occurs in oneís career, but these goals also are part of earlier youth and student mentoring levels as well. As one person grows and moves through the Continuum, they may benefit from many separate, unrelated, informal mentoring experiences and formal mentoring programs. Even within one program, the goals of mentoring change, there is overlap in each relationship, and so the same activities are used to serve more than one goal.


How Mentoring Starts & How It Grows

Often, when a new mentoring program starts, it is within one organization and the program focus is on just one or two of these developmental levels, depending on their perception of unmet needs. Eventually, as the organization comes to value what mentoring contributes at those levels, other unmet developmental needs and additional goals will be adopted. Then mentoring is used across the levels of experience in staff and the hierarchy of roles, to build the capacity of all.

Sometimes the mentoring even extends beyond the limits of the organization:

The essential concept behind it all is, "Each person IS a mentor, and is BEING mentored." All are continually learning and supporting others' learning.


You have my permission to duplicate this information as long as you:

1. Keep the author and copyright info, graphic header, and source info on the page
2. Do not sell it or provide it as a part of paid professional services.

© 2004, by Barry Sweeny, Best Practice Resources, 26 W 413 Grand Ave. Wheaton, IL 60187

630-668-2605, Cell 630-842-2991, email and web site at <http://www.teachermentors.com>.