Discussion and Results Chapter: Identification of the Motivations to Mentor and to Be Mentored

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Mentor/Mentee Relationship Research Discussion

The overall perspective towards mentoring was highly positive among both mentors and mentees, with most participants in both groups listing several specific areas of their lives in which the mentoring relationship had a direct beneficial effect. This is in keeping with previous scholarly research conducted in medical mentor programs, which found improvements in quantitatively assessed knowledge and skill as well as in personal and social development amongst those that participated in a mentorship program (Tahrian & Shekarchian, 2008; Stenfors-Hayes, & Kalen, 2010; Coates, 2012). It is noteworthy that many of the personal development issues and the noted sense of accomplishment an achievement in mentorship programs and relationships -- both those studied here those examined in other research projects and literature -- suggest a direct connection between personal satisfaction and career/employment achievement, which could be seen as an affirmation of the framework of personal progression and attainment suggested by Maslow (Lumadue & Danforth, 2010; Stenfors-Hayes, & Kalen, 2010; Coates, 2012). Seen in this light, mentoring helps to fulfill personal needs of development, attainment, and fulfillment for both mentors and mentees through experience and explicit (and implicit) instruction (Lumadue & Danforth, 2010).

Placed in this framework, the research findings uphold previous knowledge regarding mentor and mentee relationship benefits while also suggesting more personal and qualitative narratives in this regard than are easily found in the current literature. The specific articulation of benefits perceived and felt during the mentoring process should provide ample grounds for further research and an investigation of the mechanisms that actually underlie the creation of personal advancement and progress in these relationships. The emergence of clear themes in thinking and reflection on the mentoring relationship also adds valuable information to the current store of knowledge eon the topic, providing concrete areas for further exploration definition, and delineation. That communication was seen as a key element of the mentor/mentee relationship is perhaps not surprising, but the role that effective communication played in the personal and internal development of both mentors and mentees is definitely a novel and significant finding. Given the small sample size and the relatively limited structure of the research as a whole (lack of longitudinal development, single-session interviewing, etc.) it would be presumptuous to start generalizing these findings or drawing practical implications and guidance from them, however the consistency and the clarity of the responses in this regard is certainly worthy of consideration.

The general and specific benefits experienced by mentor and mentee relationships have a great deal of import on motivations to engage in mentoring programs, both in providing examples of benefits to those outside the program and encouraging ongoing participation in other mentoring programs for those directly involved (Ragins, 2009; Banerjee, 2012). A very simple and direct relationship links the professional and personal development benefits of mentoring to positive identifications with mentoring, and thus with motivation to mentor (Ragins, 2009; Banerjee, 2012). The direct relationship between personal and professional development for mentors and mentees alike as affirmed in this research is highly relevant to motivational issues.

Other particular trends emerged in the various themes identified above that are worthy of comment, as well. Though some of the themes identified by the interviewer in responses and discussions from both/either mentors and/or mentees are rather expected and simply reaffirm many basic findings regarding mentor relationship, there are certain findings and implications in these trends that warrant discussion and that identify specific areas for future research on this topic and a better, practical understanding of mentorship. The following discussion areas are not meant to provide reliable conclusions, as per the limitations of the study described above, but to present the preliminary findings and suggest new lines of inquiry.

Communication

Among both mentors and mentees, communication arose as a specific theme of understanding and gaining benefit from the mentor/mentee relationship, both in facilitating the relationship itself and potentially in building better communicative capabilities and appreciations generally. This was seen both in explicit mentions of communication ease and of the technologies and processes popular for communication, with all of these cited as benefits. The relationship between modern technologies and communication specifically in mentor, though some research has suggested that the increased ability for connection between mentors… [END OF PREVIEW]

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