Primary Sources: Striking the Right Balance for Effective Mentoring Relationships

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Mentor and mentee doing research in a library.

Youth mentoring with a balanced focus, shared purpose, and collaborative interactions” (abstract), New Directions for Youth Development, Vol. 39 No. 12, December 2010. 

Why read it: Great mentoring relationships include a mix of structure and spontaneity. But how do you know how to achieve the right balance? This article provides a framework that organizations can use to help guide mentors and mentees in planning activities. 

Biggest take away for youth workers: Mentoring relationships should be structured, the authors say, with the mentor and mentee setting goals for such things as academic achievement and career planning. But the relationships should also be flexible enough to allow the mentor and mentee to share their unique perspectives with each other. Whether the pair starts by going on spontaneous outings or by planning more structured, goal-oriented activities makes no difference, the authors say. What matters is finding a happy medium.

Additional reference: This is the first article of a special issue on promising practices in youth mentoring. The articles that follow describe programs that have successfully put the framework into practice. Read the abstracts.

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of this and other publications.)

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