Researchers at the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring have recently completed several major studies, including a meta-analysis that have direct implications for improving mentoring service and advancing research agendas in Europe. The short course provided interesting, accessible overviews of the latest findings from these and other important new research, presented by prof. Rhodes and dr. Raposa.
In her presentation, prof. Rhodes highlighted the risk of premature ending in mentoring relationships. A study among 45 programmes and 35.000 relationships showed that 40% of the relationships end within a year. The higher the risks in the lives of mentees, the higher the risk that the relationship falls apart. She suggested for the audience to use the length of the mentoring relationship as an indicator for the strength of the relationship, in case there is no other way for evaluation.
She also pointed out that giving mentors support for their developing self-efficacy, helps the relationship thrive. According to the latest meta-analysis, activities in a mentoring relationship – “playful” opposed to “instructional” and “conversational” contacts – are also indicators for successful and effective relationships. All in all, it is advised to build a strong relationship first, and not become a vehicle of education only.
Prof. Rhodes also explained the concept of natural mentoring, along with bridging and bonding social capital, as an approach. According to studies, 76% of youth has a natural mentor in their lives. How can we bring mentors to the remaining 24% and how can we teach youth to become ‘mentor magnets’? Rhodes’ lab developed a series of lessons called Connected Scholars that makes young people aware of the importance of mentors in their lives and helps them to develop skills to find mentors and connect to them. She invited organizations to create a setting where youth can find their mentors.
How to put research into action?
Mr Martinez pointed out the importance of mentor and mentee recruitment. He advised programmes to search for the right quality and to train skills and knowledge (such as cross-cultural communication). Match support is very important so that people can grow and develop. Contacting mentors and mentees twice in the first month of the match, helps at the start. He suggested to monitor closely of the goals of the mentee and of the relationship are reached. It is not enough to report that there is plenty of fun during meetings; it is important to keep the learning goals in mind as well. Mr Martinez explained the Theory of Change as an strong tool to monitor results.
Would you like to know more about the event?