Youth mentoring with a balanced focus, shared purpose, and collaborative interactions

New Dir Youth Dev. 2010 Summer;2010(126):13-32. doi: 10.1002/yd.347.


This opening article defines the ways in which three mentoring interaction elements--focus, purpose, and authorship--distinguish between effective and ineffective mentoring relationship styles. The framework described can help mentors better understand the difference between prescriptive and instrumental styles and differentiate laissez-faire from developmental mentoring. It also reveals unique ways for program staff to develop training materials and for researchers to better study mentoring activities. The authors suggest that being able to articulate the importance of focus, purpose, and authorship is critical for shaping program practices, designing relevant research, and guiding program evaluations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Humans
  • Mentors* / education
  • Models, Organizational
  • Organizational Objectives*
  • Program Development*
  • Staff Development
  • Teaching / methods*