A few years ago, DREAM embarked on a journey to find a way to promote mentoring with intention and to educate mentors in a way that would create consistent, positive, impactful relationships with their mentees. That journey led us to the Search Institute’s framework for developmental relationships and a valuable partnership. The framework is broken down into five elements of intentional mentoring, each of them broken down further into areas of consideration.
These elements are not only a way to develop relationships between mentees and their mentors but also to monitor progress. The Search Institute is beginning to interview DREAM mentees and mentors through the lens of the framework. This will contribute to their research and assists DREAM in stewarding the relationships that already exist to be their strongest.
The elements provided actually seem intuitive, even though they are the result of years and years of research to ground them in academic credibility. When we think of the most important relationships of our lives, we often reflect on the ones that provided support, whether through empowerment or as a guide, or the relationships that express care, dependable and warm and attentive. The Search Institute’s framework gives a name and actionable steps to many of the ways in which we create healthy relationships in order to make it repeatable and easy to learn.
We often remember those that challenged us to grow and held us accountable, those that treated us with respect and let us take the lead but we may not have frequently understood exactly what was happening in the context of our relationship. We all have our heroes; the ones who expanded our possibilities and inspired us and now we can better understand how we can fill that role for others or thank those that have played that role for us. In practice these elements can develop naturally, but for an organization developing mentors and promoting mentorship, it’s good to have an understanding and keep them in mind. This enables us to create consistent relationships founded on similar principles and to encourage our mentors that intentional mentoring is more than what we might expect.
Be sure to read next month's newsletter when we share our innovative way of orienting our mentors to the framework and encouraging them to use them each time they meet with their mentees!