In the early 1990s, I had finally reached what most doctoral students would agree is that memorable point when a dissertation topic is the only remaining requirement on the obsessed radar screen. I too had heard all of the stories about ABD (all but dissertation) scholars who for a myriad of reasons, had never completed the doctorate. Fortunately, of the three mentors who were significant influences in my own life and educational travels, the third was my own doctoral advisor--Dr. Michael Galbraith.
As a teacher myself at the Community College of Philadelphia since 1968, I had gradually learned that my continuing one-to-one dialogues with students outside of class were often as important to their sustainability as adult learners as the quality of instruction inside the classroom. My own cumulative experience certainly validated what my later research would reveal--cognitive and affective connections engaged in at an interpersonal level outside of class were essential factors in supporting the retention and enrichment for many adult learners, especially those from nontraditional backgrounds (Jacobi, 1991).
Development of the Instrument
The convergence of my own life history, my professional work as an instructor, and my positive experience in the early 1990s as a graduate student in adult education led almost naturally to a serious interest in a dissertation topic about the value of mentoring for adult learners in college. I conducted the typical comprehensive literature review, with the preliminary idea that I would collect the already available instruments relevant to mentoring practice and then design my specific dissertation project. To my surprise, after exhaustive research, I discovered that no valid and reliable scales or inventories existed either for pragmatic use as an evaluation tool by participants in mentoring programs or as an instrument for conducting scholarly studies of mentoring as an educational activity.
After considerable consultation with my doctoral advisor, I decided on a two-part plan: (1) to determine if there were core mentoring behaviors, and then, if justifiable, (2) to develop an evaluation instrument that would enable professionals to assess their own interpersonal competencies as mentors to adult learners. I really had no preconceived idea about what the research would ultimately produce, or if a useable self-assessment scale was feasible.
When the complex project was finally completed, using a large community college as the target population, my own qualitative and quantitative research demonstrated two primary findings: A conceptual model of a composite Complete Mentor Role could be devised based on six separate mentoring behavioral dimensions (Figure 1), and a self-assessment scale grounded in adult psychology and learning could be developed that would (1) reflect the extent to which a mentor was effective as a practitioner in the cumulative Complete Mentor Role, as well as (2) identify the mentoring proficiencies in each of the six distinct interpersonal competencies. The new instrument was entitled the Principles" of Adult Mentoring Scale (Cohen, 1993).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The Complete Mentor Role
From an adult education perspective, academic and workplace mentoring can be considered as a one-to-one relationship in which mentors are similar to adult educators and mentees to adult learners. The two prototypes--the Complete Mentor Role and the Informed Mentee (Table 1)--should be applied as a blueprint to guide the development of adult mentoring relationships during the extended time frame typical of most organizationally sponsored mentoring programs. Although there is a general pattern of interpersonal development that will occur during the early, middle, and later phases of interaction, both mentors and mentees should be informed at the start that the six behavioral dimensions of the Complete Mentor Role are not expected to unfold in a rigid order that directly matches every specific action listed for that particular dimension of mentoring
Also, both mentors and mentees should be initially prepared at orientations to engage in mentoring dialogues and activities as mutually active participants. Moreover, they should be provided with the ongoing supplemental training and administrative support necessary for them to maximize their unique learning opportunity. If mentors and mentees enter sponsored programs with realistic expectations, they will more productively share in the dynamic experience of significant one-to-one collaborative learning, with the central focus clearly remaining on the career development of the mentee as the primary beneficiary. Certainly, the more aware and knowledgeable both mentors and mentees are about mentoring as a developmental process of learning, the more they can jointly contribute as practitioners to the final benefit of the outcomes.
The Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory
The Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory (Cohen, 1998) is the centerpiece of The Complete Mentoring Program. Having a model and inventory to reference effective mentoring behavior as a benchmark offers the possibility of constructive change because there is an actual standard against which mentors (and mentees) can measure their own applied level of skill. Table 1 provides a detailed description of a mentor functioning in all six behavioral dimensions: (1) Relationship, (2) Informative, (3) Facilitative, (4) Confrontative, (5) Mentor Model, and (6) Mentee Vision. As already noted, a highly focused list of mentee behaviors is also offered that directly complements the initiatives of an effective mentor. Individuals who enter mentoring programs designed to highlight one-to-one learning as a central approach to their career and professional development must be prepared to assume the basic collaborative obligations listed for Informed Mentees (Table 1).
Reports from many who have completed the Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory indicate that its 55 statements and subsequent descriptions of the six mentoring dimensions are important as a concise education in the relevant behaviors of mentoring, and not just as a self-assessment tool.
Purpose of the Scores
The scoring sheet provides a profile of overall competency in the Complete Mentor Role as well as separate scores for each of the six mentoring behavioral dimensions. The range of scoring possibilities--from not effective to highly effective--is intended to offer mentors a baseline profile of their current mentoring interpersonal skills, so that they can realistically assess their probable influence on mentees. Mentors are furnished with suggestions for improving their mentoring interpersonal skills, as well as encouraged to pursue initiatives to maintain their already established proficiencies.
One of the primary values of self-assessment scores is to establish a benchmark that can be used as a realistic starting point for guiding our own career growth, whether in self-directed or more formal learning pursuits. However, for the often complex professional development process to occur with reasonable regularity as a relevant activity, most of us will need to include some source(s) of objective and balanced evaluative feedback as an essential component of our professional development plans.
A truism long embedded in adult education is that if we are to maintain and improve our professional proficiencies, then reflective practice must be an essential element of our own individual learning and development over the life cycle. But for self-development to truly become an operational fact, we as adult educators must actively ensure that valid and reliable pragmatic standards are available against which adult learners can realistically measure the results of their continuing learning projects. In the spirit of this approach, and as a companion adult learner, I invite you to complete the Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory (Appendix A).
Publication of the Instrument
After receiving my doctorate in 1993, I conducted another study at a large government agency to establish norms for another context besides education. Version of the scale were then published in Mentoring Adult Learners: A Guide for Trainers and Educators (Cohen, 1995) and Mentoring: New Challenges & Strategies (Galbraith and Cohen, 1995). Beginning in 1998, I published eight additional books and a 90-minute video (:ill six behavioral dimensions were demonstrated) as an integrated set of materials finally referred to as The Complete Mentoring Program (CMP) (Cohen, 2002). Several of the books have been translated into Spanish and French.
Many business, government, educational, military, community, nonprofit, health care, and religious organizations have now incorporated CMP into their orientation and training programs for mentors, mentees, and program managers. One program added a 7th category: the Pastoral Dimension. Also, many scholars have referenced the materials, and numerous graduate students have successfully completed doctoral dissertations which used the Inventory (version A) for post-secondary education or (version B) for business and government. Doctoral students have explored a variety of topics, including interesting studies that have used the inventories to: (1) compare and contrast the self-assessments of mentors with the post-program evaluations of their mentees, (2) analyze the importance of the amount of time spent in mutual dialogue and activities, especially in the early phases of the mentoring experience, and (3) and examine existing training models to determine the extent of compliance with the current theory and practice of adult mentoring represented by the concept of the Complete Mentor Role.
Mentoring as an educational and social legacy is now being restored to its proper place as a significant path for the sharing of knowledge, skills, and values in a diverse culture. With the growth of formal or sponsored programs, larger numbers of our citizens may now also participate in the personal and professional development offered by properly planned, reasonably structured, and appropriately supported one-to-one adult learning experiences.
Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory Instructions Read each of the following 55 statements carefully, and place the rating on the scoring sheet that best represents your actual behavior as a mentor in the numbered box for that item. The rating scale is below: Never = 1 point, Infrequently = 2 points, Sometimes = 3 points, Frequently = 4 points, Always = 5 points.
If you have been a mentor, your answers should be based on your past and current mentoring experience. If you have very little or no actual experience as a mentor of adults, your answers should be based on how you would probably interact at this time with a mentee. Answer all of the 55 statements, then refer to the instructions for completing the inventory,
1. I encourage employees to express their honest feelings (positive or negative) about their work-related experiences, including such dimensions as training, educational opportunities, and social relationships.
2. I discuss with employees who are discouraged due to lack of promotion or other difficulties the importance of developing a realistic view of work-related advancement that can include both success and disappointment. I try to cite examples of other employees who have been frustrated but still continue to explore opportunities to learn and enhance their marketable knowledge and skills, as well as behaviors at work.
3. I ask employees for detailed information about their progress in learning all aspects of their job.
4. I refer employees to other staff members and departments so that they can obtain information relevant to pursuing their individual educational, training, and career development goals.
5. I attempt to be verbally supportive when employees are emotionally upset.
6. I suggest to employees that we establish a regular schedule of meeting times.
7. I make a good deal of eye contact with employees during our meetings.
8. I suggest to employees who indicate or express concerns about serious emotional or psychological problems that they meet with a counselor responsible for assisting employees in the workplace, or suggest that they consult with a professional outside the workplace, if necessary.
9. I ask employees to identify their career choices and explain their strategies for continuing work-related training and learning that supports the achievement of these career goals.
10. I encourage employees to share background information about their preparation, success, and problems in pursuing their career goals, so that I can better help them.
11. I inquire about employees' specific strategies for utilizing workplace resources to increase their on-the-job learning, offer practical suggestions, and refer them to others who can help them improve their job performance, when appropriate.
12. I explain to employees that I really want to know what they as individuals honestly think about issues such as balancing job requirements and/or career development commitments and outside responsibilities, so that I can offer advice specific to them.
13. I try to schedule my meetings with employees for times when I am not likely to be interrupted.
14. I point out to employees the importance of obtaining accurate and detailed information about their career options, especially those employees who lack sufficient factual information about such issues as requirements, or employees who are preparing for the personal psychological/emotional transition between job fields.
15. I encourage employees to consider nontraditional learning, such as television and correspondence-based courses, as well as more formal educational opportunities, in order to develop their career interests.
16. I point out inconsistencies (rationalizations) in employees' explanations of why their job performances and/or career goals were not achieved, if I believe my comments will help them develop better coping strategies to deal with their problems.
17. I try to stimulate or encourage employees to do more rigorous critical thinking about the long-range implications, such as time and energy commitments for additional training and education, that their career choices may have for increasing the complexity of their lives in order to help them plan, prepare, and adapt to predictable changes in lifestyle.
18. I explain to employees why they should share with others significant workrelated problems they are presently confronted with, even if they prefer not to deal with these issues.
19. I offer recommendations to employees about their current and future training and educational needs, from basic training to advanced skills and learning, based on specific information they have provided regarding their training history, experience, and academic/technical preparation.
20. I follow up on employees' stated goals to develop better personal decisionmaking strategies relevant to career and educational planning, such as obtaining current information and researching multiple sources, by scheduling follow-up meetings and asking questions or offering comments about their actual progress.
21. I tell employees when I think their ideas about career or educational issues, such as promotional opportunity, entry into a different job, or future training and degree requirements, are very clearly based on incomplete or inaccurate information.
22. I attempt to guide each employee who is exploring his or her own personal commitment to stated career and work-related educational interests by posing alternative views for them to consider, such as other career and training/education options.
23. I verbally communicate my concerns to employees when they express negative attitudes and emotions through such nonverbal behaviors as eye contact, facial expression, and voice tone.
24. I discuss general reasons why employees seek to obtain additional workrelated educational credentials or training, and then I focus on helping them identify concrete degrees, curricula, courses, and workshops.
25. I provide a reasonable amount of factual guidance in our discussions so that employees will be able to explore realistic options and attainable career objectives.
26. I ask employees to review their plans for managing the current or anticipated changes in their personal lives while they pursue their job- and career-related educational goals. Such changes might include the increased pressure on their family and social relationships.
27. I guide employees through a review of the personal experiences and specific facts they are basing their important ideas and beliefs on, such as career options and the purpose of education.
28. I discuss my own work-related experience as a way of helping employees think about and carefully examine their own career options.
29. I share with employees several examples of difficulties I have overcome in my own individual and professional growth, if I think these experiences will provide insights for them.
30. I engage employees in discussions that require them to reflect on new competencies they will need if they are to achieve their future goals.
31. I use personal examples as well as anecdotes about other employees to point out that career achievement is primarily based on personal commitment and planning, rather than just luck. These examples are particularly useful when an employee is having problems completing all of their job and educational (training and/or academic course) assignments but appears unrealistic about the amount of discipline and energy needed to cope with the pressures of contemporary career advancement.
32. I express my personal confidence in the ability of employees to succeed if they persevere in the pursuit of their career goals.
33. I confront employees in a direct but supportive manner with the reality of likely or continued negative consequences when they repeatedly fail to follow through on their stated intentions to deal with serious job- and/or career-related problems.
34. I encourage employees to use me as a sounding board to explore their work-related hopes, ideas, feelings, and plans.
35. I engage employees in discussions aimed at motivating them to each develop a positive view of their ability to function now and in the future as independent, competent adult learners in the workplace environment.
36. I use my own experience and that of other employees I have advised to explain how training workshops, educational programs, and job rotational opportunities that don't appear to be career-relevant can, in fact, be valuable work-related learning experiences for them.
37. I offer employees constructive criticism if I believe their reluctance to tackle problems or make decisions is clearly limiting their work performance and/or career potential.
38 I encourage employees to make well-informed, critical personal choices as they plan their career experience, their training, and their educational goals.
39. I explore with employees who express a lack of self-confidence the ways in which their own life experiences can help them devise strategies for success in the workplace environment.
40. I assist employees in using facts to carefully map out realistic step-by-step strategies to achieve their career, training, and educational goals.
41. I share my views and feelings when they are relevant to the work-related situations and issues I am discussing with employees.
42. I listen to criticism from employees about work-related policies, regulations, requirements, and even colleagues, without immediately attempting to offer justifications.
43. I offer comments to employees about what appears to be their own inappropriate or ineffective behavior at work, based on their own explanations and descriptions, if I have a reasonable expectation that they are prepared to work on positive change and will most likely experience some success as a result.
44. I inform employees that they can discuss negative emotions such as anxiety, self-doubt, fear, and anger during our meetings, if they are relative to the workplace.
45. I express confidence in an employee's abilities to achieve career-related educational and training goals, especially when he or she is having personal difficulties in fulfilling educational responsibilities due to pressures from work, family, or social relationships.
46. I question an employee's decisions and actions regarding past and current work-related issues and problems when the employee does not appear to have formulated and/or implemented appropriate solutions.
47. I discuss the positive and negative feelings employees have about their abilities to succeed in their careers.
48. I offer as few carefully chosen criticisms as possible when I try to get employees to understand the connection between their own self-limiting (defeating) behaviors and their inability to solve a particular work-related problem, as they are often difficult to accept.
49. I ask probing questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer, so that employees will explain in some detail their views regarding their career plans and progress.
50. I explore with employees the extent of their commitment to achieving their career goals in terms of their willingness to spend time and energy in job-related training and continuing education.
51. I base the timing of my confrontive questions and comments on my knowledge of the employee's individual readiness (often related to the stage of our relationship), so that they get the most benefit out of discussions about clearly sensitive work-related issues.
52. I discuss my role as a mentor with employees, so that their individual expectations of me are appropriate and realistic.
53. I try to clarify the problems employees are sharing with me by verbally expressing my understanding of their feelings and then asking if my views are accurate.
54. I ask employees to reflect on and explore the resources available to help them effectively manage the change and stress in their lives while they pursue their career and educational goals. Examples of such resources are government-sponsored training and assistance, college courses and programs, community-based organizations and workshops, and family and social relationships.
55. I emphasize to employees, especially those who appear uncertain about what to expect from our meetings, that one of my important objectives as a mentor is to be of assistance to them as they progress toward personal training, educational, and career goals.
Principles of Adult Mentoring--Scoring Sheet
Inventory Answers and Point Values
The 55 statements of the Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory are grouped to reflect direct correlation to one of the six mentor behaviors. The inventory answers and corresponding point values are listed here:
Never = 1 point, Infrequently = 2 points, Sometimes = 3 points, Frequently = 4 points, Always = 5 points
Use of Scores to Determine Mentoring Effectiveness
Use the individual and overall scores from the Scoring Sheet to complete the Mentoring Role Competencies Profile.
Factor 1: Relationship Emphasis Items: 1 5 7 12 13 23 42 47 53 Relationship Points: Relationship Total: Factor 2: Information Emphasis Items: 3 4 6 9 10 11 19 24 40 52 Information Points: Information Total: Factor 3: Facilitative Focus Items: 15 22 25 34 39 49 Facilitative Points: Facilitative Total: Factor 4: Confrontive Focus Items: 8 16 18 21 27 31 33 37 43 46 48 51 Confrontive Points: Confrontive Total: Factor 5: Mentor Model Items: 2 28 29 32 36 41 Mentor Points: Mentor Total: Factor 6: Employee Vision Items: 14 17 20 26 30 35 38 45 54 55 Employee Points: Employee Total: Grand Total Overall Score: Appendix 3 Mentor Role Competencies Profile Behavior Purpose Definition 1 Relationship * Shares/reflects on experience Emphasis-- * Empathetic listening TRUST * Understanding/acceptance 2 Information * Facts about career/education/plans/progress Emphasis-- * Comments about use of information ADVICE * Tailored/accurate/sufficient knowledge 3 Facilitative * Exploration of interests/abilities/ideas/beliefs Focus-- * Other views/attainable objectives ALTERNATIVES * Own decisions about career/training/education 4 Confrontive * Respectful about decisions/actions/career Focus-- * Insight into counterproductive strategies/ CHALLENGE behaviors * Evaluate need/capacity to change 5 Mentor * Discloses life experience as role model Model-- * Personalize/enrich relationship MOTIVATION * Take risks/overcome difficulties in education /career 6 Employee * Critical thinking about career future Vision-- * Personal/professional potential INITIATIVE * Initiate change/negotiate transitions OVERALL Behavior Score Not Less Effective Effective 1 Relationship Emphasis-- TRUST 10-34 35-37 2 Information Emphasis-- ADVICE 10-31 32-35 3 Facilitative Focus-- ALTERNATIVES 6-17 18-19 4 Confrontive Focus-- CHALLENGE 12-33 34-37 5 Mentor Model-- MOTIVATION 6-20 21 6 Employee Vision-- INITIATIVE 11-33 34-36 OVERALL 55-176 177-192 Behavior Effective Very Highly Effective Effective 1 Relationship Emphasis-- TRUST 38-40 41-43 44-55 2 Information Emphasis-- ADVICE 36-37 38-41 42-50 3 Facilitative Focus-- ALTERNATIVES 20-21 22-23 24-30 4 Confrontive Focus-- CHALLENGE 38-41 42-46 47-60 5 Mentor Model-- MOTIVATION 22-23 24-25 26-30 6 Employee Vision-- INITIATIVE 37-39 40-43 44-55 OVERALL 193-206 207-222 223-275 INTERPRETATION * Scores: Not Effective or Less Effective You should interpret scores in the ranges labeled not effective and less effective as indicating a definite need for considerable improvement in the art of mentoring. The possibility of a negative impact resulting from the mentoring relationship must now be considered. This is especially a concern if the relationship and information emphasis reveal low scores and the confrontive focus shows high scores. Such an imbalanced profile could indicate an overly aggressive and poorly timed mentor style, which, if not adequately counterbalanced by proper attention to the critical relational and informational areas, could result in a rather quick counterproductive experience for an employee. Scores: Effective A score in the effective category indicates a positive baseline competency in the mentor role but also suggests that there are specific areas of interpersonal behavior in which mentoring skills cm be improved. The effective ranges indicate a clear positive tilt toward achieving the goals of mentoring. Moreover, the constructive side of mentoring could be adequately experienced by a mentee, especially with respect to the more factual components of career development. However, the mentor-mentee relationship could achieve a comfortable plateau, and therefore avoid the more difficult exploration of significant issues relevant to the reality of mentee goals and progress. Of course, the readiness of both parties to engage in meaningful facilitation and confrontation should be an important guide to the value of such an exchange for the mentee. Scores: Very Effective or Highly Effective Scores in the very effective and highly effective ranges should certainly be viewed as revealing sophisticated behavioral competencies; however, mentors should also recognize that even advanced proficiency levels must be actively maintained. The pursuit of individual and organized continuing education activities should, therefore, be considered as a realistic option. * For more detailed interpretation of your scores, please refer to Cohen, N. H. (1998). The Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory. Amherst: HRD Press, Inc. Table 1: The Complete Mentor Role and The Informed Mentee The Complete Mentor Role and The Informed Mentee The Complete Mentor Role 1. Relationship (Trust) Specific Behaviors * Shares/reflects on experience * Responsive listening * Empathetic listening * Open-ended questions * Understanding/acceptance * Descriptive feedback * Perception checks * Nonjudgmental responses 2. Informative (Advice) Specific Behaviors * Facts about career/education/ * Nonjudgmental responses plans/progress * Questions about present * Comments about use of * Review of background information * Probing questions * Tailored/accurate/sufficient * Directive comments knowledge * Restatements * Reliance on facts 3. Facilitative (Alternative) Specific Behaviors * Exploration of interests/ * Hypothetical questions abilities/ideas/beliefs * Uncovering assumptions * Other views/attainable * Multiple viewpoints objectives * Examining commitment * Own decisions about career/ * Analysis of reasons training/education * Review of preferences 4. Confrontive (Challenge) Specific Behaviors * Respectful about decisions/ * Careful probing actions/career * Open acknowledgement * Insight into counterproductive * Assessment of discrepancies strategies/behaviors * Selective behaviors * Evaluate need/capacity to * Attention to feedback change * Comments about potential 5. Mentor Model (Motivation) Specific Behaviors * Discloses life experiences as * Offering thoughts & feelings role model * Selecting related examples * Personalize/enrich relationship * Realistic belief in ability * Take risks/overcome difficulties * Confident view of risk in education/career * Statements about action 6. Mentee Vision (Initiative) Specific Behaviors * Critical thinking about career * Questions about change future * Review of choices * Personal/professional * Reflection on present/future * Initiate change/negotiate * Comments about strategies transitions * Expressions of confidence * Respect for abilities/dreams The Informed Mentee 1. Relationship (Trust) Mentee Behaviors * Shares/reflects on experience * Offers detailed explanations * Empathetic listening * Expects mentor to listen and * Understanding/acceptance ask questions 2. Informative (Advice) Mentee Behaviors * Facts about career/education/ * Provides facts & records plans/progress * Expects mentor to review * Comments about use of use and depth of sources information * Tailored/accurate/sufficient knowledge 3. Facilitative (Alternative) Mentee Behaviors * Exploration of interests/ * Explains choices and decisions abilities/ideas/beliefs * Expects mentor to pose * Other views/attainable options and other views objectives * Own decisions about career/ training/education 4. Confrontive (Challenge) Mentee Behaviors * Respectful about decisions/ * Reflects on initiatives actions/career * Expects mentors to examine * Insight into counterproductive goals and approach strategies/behaviors * Evaluate need/capacity to change 5. Mentor Model (Motivation) Mentee Behaviors * Discloses life experiences as * Expresses main concerns role model * Expects mentor to share * Personalize/enrich relationship ideas & feelings * Take risks/overcome difficulties in education/career 6. Mentee Vision (Initiative) Mentee Behaviors * Critical thinking about career * Visualizes own future future * Expects mentor to share * Personal/professional ideas & feelings * Initiate change/negotiate transitions * Respect for abilities/dreams
Cohen, N. H. (1993). The Development and Validation of the Principles of Adult Mentoring Scale for Faculty Mentors in Higher Education. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University Microfilms No. 9316468. Ann Arbor: MI.
Cohen, N. H. (1998). The Principles of Adult Mentoring Inventory. Amherst: HRD Press, Inc.
Galbraith, m. W., & Cohen, N. H. (Eds.). (1995). Mentoring" New strategies" and challenges. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education No. 66. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Jacobi, M. (1991). Mentoring and undergraduate academic success: a literature review. Review of Educational Research, 61(4), 505-532.
Norman H. Cohen, a professor at Community College of Philadelphia, is the founder of The Center for Professional Mentoring. He has presented man), papers and seminars at major conferences and has worked extensively with a wide range of organizations. Some of his publications have been translated into Spanish and French. His doctorate is in Adult Education, from the Temple University, Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology.…