Recently I facilitated a meeting to design a mentoring program. During the meeting, someone asked the question:
"What's your theoretical basis for your interest in mentoring?"
I thought this was a great question, and one that others may be interested in knowing the answer to as well.
I received my Master's degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology. In my studies, I felt that two particular approaches appealed to me and these two are the ones that have formed the basis of my approach to mentoring.
1. Person-Centered Therapy (PCT) developed by Carl Rogers.
This is an approach that puts the responsibility for the therapeutic process on the client and makes the therapist more passive or non-directive but also affirming in responses. The way this applies in mentoring is this:
- The mentoree is the driver in the relationship.
- The mentor is a partner in the process but not the driver.
- I also believe that mentoring is more about who you are as a professional person as opposed to acquiring specific skills sets or knowledge.
2. Gestalt Therapy created by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman.
This psychology focuses on the existential experience of the individual at the present moment including the environment and social context. This applies to mentoring in that it's important for both partners to be aware of what is affecting the mentoree's success that is related to the environment they work/live in and the relationships they interact with. I am often asked "What do you do if you feel stuck in the relationship or there is silence?" My response is Gestaltian: "Pay attention to what is happening in the moment: body language, relationships, etc.” This type of awareness will help to further develop the relationship.
The above pillars of my practice have formed the basis for how I have created my mentoring process.
If you are wondering about other best practices in mentoring including tips and tricks to make your mentoring program actually work, check out our free download below: