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Mentoring or Supervising the Mentee of a Different Culture

Discuss about the Mentoring and Supervision for Professionals.

Mentoring is an employee training system in which an experienced or a senior person acts as a guide, advisor, or counselor to a trainee or a junior. With time the definition and practice of mentoring has evolved. The focus is on facilitation of learning and growth of partnership. Mentoring is, in fact a collaborative and reciprocal relationship between two or more individuals sharing a mutual relationship and responsibility. A mentor is accountable for helping a mentee to achieve his goals. There must be growth in the relationship between a mentor and a mentee in order to stay focused (Opengart & Bierema, 2015). Mentoring involves a self-directed learning relationship and is driven by the needs of the mentee and is process- oriented rather than service driven. It focuses more on intangible, softer, and broader issues as well as tangible and harder goals. It may seem that mentoring and coaching are the same but it is not so (Barsh, 2013). Mentoring relationship is mutually more accountable compared to coaching relationship. Both coaching and mentoring focus on expansion of individual potential through enhancement of performance and development. However, while mentoring focuses on achievement of professional or personal developmental goals, the focus of coaching is upon enhancing skills and boosting the performance of an individual. This article shall evaluate the mentoring relationship between Morris and Emily. Morris had been the badminton coach of Emily. While Morris is an Australian native, Emily is a European (Johnson & Ridley, 2015).

Culture has an omnipresent influence and affects human behavior both consciously and unconsciously. Culture impacts the thought process, language, behavior, and attitude of individuals. The values and philosophy is affected by culture. Culture often sets limitations and boundaries. However, a culture is required in order to implement the values of mentoring. There must be cultural congruence between the partners (Williams et al., 2013). Both the mentor and the mentee must be sensible and sensitive to each other’s cultural backgrounds. They must understand that their language, behavior, mode of communication may differ due to their varying cultures. The differences must be openly discussed without any hesitation. Morris must be given the opportunity to meet Emily informally so that they can become familiar with each other. This can be done by going to lunch or dinner. This would prepare them and help them to know their culture and personality. The mentee must understand and appreciate the values of the partner’s culture. Morris must be able to overcome his fears, stereotypes and biases if any. Being from a minor culture, the mentor must not be afraid to express what Morris wants to say. He must guide Emily without considering the background or history of their cultures. Cultural norms and customs must be kept aside for a budding and flourishing relationship. The mentor must see the mentee as a dualistic individual (Kerry & Mayes, 2014). It means that the mentee must be viewed as both an individual and a person belonging to a larger social context. It is important to record factual materials, reactions, goals, and feelings on both sides. The ROS model may be helpful to facilitate movement through each phase. The ROS model comprises Readiness, Opportunity, and Support. Receptivity involves openness and receptivity to the experience of learning. It tries to address the issue of preparedness. Opportunity reflects the situations that are available to hold meetings etc. It refers to the situations, venues, and settings. Support emphasizes the adequate and relevant assistance to promote learning. It builds on the concept of support. The ROS tool helps the mentors and the mentees to diagnose and analyze the missing elements (Kleiman et al., 2016).

Phases of Mentoring

The relationship of mentoring undergoes four phases- preparing, negotiating, enabling, and coming to closure. These phases come together to form a developmental sequence and are part of both formal and informal mentoring relationship. However, these phases vary in length and be considered for they may have negative consequences if ignored (Zachary & Fischler, 2014).

Since each mentoring relationship is unique within itself, both the mentee and the mentor must be prepared individually as well as in partnership every time a new mentoring relationship begins. Just as a number of processes such as fertilizing, aerating, cultivating, and plowing, etc are required before planting, similarly, various processes take place in the preparing phase. Mentors in this phase explore their readiness to become a mentor. They also explore their personal motivation and try to identify their areas of development and learning. To establish the fecundity of a relationship, it is highly essential to have clarity about the role and expectation from both sides. A prospective conversation between the mentor and the mentee is very helpful to set the tone of relationship. Meeting after several years, Emily and Morris decide to reestablish their long lost contact. The history of their relationship determined their interest in continuing their relationship (Pekerti et al., 2014).

The negotiating phase can be compared to the phase of planting seeds in the soil. This phase would determine the fruition of the mentoring relationship. Just as good soil determines proper growth and high productivity, a proper negotiation between the mentor and the mentee determines whether the relationship would yield positive or negative results. This phase is considered as the business phase. This is when the partners come together to agree on goals of learning and define the process and content of relationship. Negotiating is not mere drawing up agreement but a phase for developing the ground rules as well. It is also known as the detail phase for it is in this phase that the details regarding meeting the responsibilities, accountability, and closure of the relationship is mutually articulated. Since the mentor Morris was at the last stage of his life, Emily and Morris decide to meet often on Sundays (Suffrin et al., 2016).

The enabling phase is the longer phase compare to the other phases for this phase involves implementation of the learning relationship. It is in this phase that the contact between the partners takes place. This phase provides opportunity to nurture, develop, and learn. Also, it is in this phase that the mentor mentee relationship is the most vulnerable and is prone to derailment. The relationship must be able to find its own path even when the milestones are identified, goals are well defined, and the processes are clearly articulated. Trust must be developed in the mentoring relationship in this phase. The mentor at this stage must nurture the growth of the mentee by promoting learning and developing the quality of the relationship by building trust and through effective communication. The mentor must be open, candid, thoughtful, and must have the ability to receive a constructive feedback. After spending fifteen Sundays with each other, Emily shared the knowledge and wisdom of her coach that he had gathered over the years (Orland-Barak et al., 2013).


The last and the final phase is an evolutionary process and has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This phase involves evaluating, acknowledging, and celebrating the achievement of learning outcomes. Both the mentor and the mentee can benefit from the closure. In fact, the closure may be seen as an opportunity to evaluate learning and implement that learning in other relationships and situations of life. Throughout the relationship, they were knowingly or unknowingly preparing for closure (Orland-Barak et al., 2013). They knew well that the closure would happen with the death of Morris. However, the values taught by the coach shall remain with Emily for the rest of her life.

Phases of Mentoring

Figure 1: Phases of Mentoring

(Source: Created by Author)

Assessing the mentoring relationship

Professional Development and

Role of Mentor

Characteristics of a good mentor

Mentee Outcomes of Mentoring Relationship

Contact frequency

Critiques work

Provides support

Research activity

Mode of Communication

Mentor facilitates opportunities

Treated as a colleague

Grants publications presentations

Length of Relationship

Makes connections

Cares about the mentee as a person

Academic appointments


Provides guidance and support

Active listening skills


Mentee Satisfaction


National recognition (Graf & Edelkraut, 2016).

The framework would be fruitful and beneficial for the teachers as well as the students. Once trust is established between the mentor and the mentee, the student would be able to share more with his mentor. Proper values would be imparted to the mentee once trust is established. Setting goals and measurement of progress in those goals would help both the mentor and the mentee to work on the areas that need attention. Constant evaluation of the mentee by the mentor would ultimately lead to progress and development of the individual. Research shows that proper mentoring has positive influence on youths as it increases the self-esteem of youngsters. Mentoring has a significant amount of positive impact on the perception of adults. It is at a very early stage of their life that adolescents develop their perception about their environment and the society they live in. Mentors play a crucial role in developing their sense of perception. However, termination of mentoring relationship may have a negative impact on the psychology, self esteem and perception of a person.


Culture acts as one of the major hindrances in the mentor mentee relationship as there is bound to be differences in the background of the two individuals. The individuals involved in a relationship must share common beliefs and attitudes to procure a fruitful relationship. To reach fruition, the similarities and differences must not be too much highlighted or completely ignored (Mullen & Schunk, 2012). The more the similarities are appreciated and accepted, the more the relationship becomes stronger. In such a situation, both the mentor and the mentee must examine one’s own mind first honestly. He/she must look if any prejudices or stereotypes exist in the mind. It is essential to acknowledge what has been taught and learnt during the tenure of the relationship. It is extremely important to know the reasons behind the biases formed. Perspectives can be broadened by acknowledging the similarities and differences. In fact, cultural differences can be seen as an opportunity to learn.


Barsh, A. (2013). The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships by Lois J. Zachary: New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012, 261 pp., $36.00, ISBN 978-1-118-10330-2. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 18(4), 351-354.

Graf, N., & Edelkraut, F. (2016). Skills of a Multicultural Mentor. In Mentoring(pp. 345-348). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Johnson, W. B., & Ridley, C. R. (2015). The elements of mentoring. Macmillan.

Kerry, T., & Mayes, A. S. (2014). Issues in mentoring. Routledge.

Kleiman, T., Trope, Y., & Amodio, D. M. (2016). Cognitive control modulates attention to food cues: Support for the control readiness model of self-control. Brain and cognition.

Mullen, C. A., & Schunk, D. H. (2012). Operationalizing phases of mentoring relationships. The SAGE handbook of mentoring and coaching in education, 89-104.

Opengart, R., & Bierema, L. (2015). Emotionally Intelligent Mentoring Reconceptualizing Effective Mentoring Relationships. Human Resource Development Review, 14(3), 234-258.

Orland-Barak, L., Kheir-Farraj, R., & Becher, A. (2013). Mentoring in contexts of cultural and political friction: moral dilemmas of mentors and their management in practice. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 21(1), 76-95.

Pekerti, A. A., Moeller, M., Thomas, D. C., & Napier, N. K. (2014). n-Culturals, the next cross-cultural challenge Introducing a multicultural mentoring model program. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 1470595814559532.

Suffrin, R. L., Todd, N. R., & Sánchez, B. (2016). An Ecological Perspective Of Mentor Satisfaction With Their Youth Mentoring Relationships. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(5), 553-568.

Williams, E. A., Castro, S., Deptula, B. J., Scandura, T. A., & Woods, J. (2013). Measurement Refinement in the Mentoring Arena and Movement Toward the Integration and Measurement of Authenticity in Developmental Relationships.

Zachary, L. J., & Fischler, L. A. (2014). Starting Strong: A Mentoring Fable. John Wiley & Sons.

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