Mentoring: towards an improved professional friendship

Gardiner, Coral Elizabeth (2008). Mentoring: towards an improved professional friendship. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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In this thesis, I develop and then test an approach to mentoring that after Clutterbuck (1991), I call, Professional Friendship. This is to better understand the role of mentoring more broadly and that of learning mentors in particular. My hypothesis examines the problem of: ‘To what extent is professional friendship a core component of successful mentoring relationships?’ I begin with an examination of the importance of mentoring generally and the role of the learning mentor specifically, before critically accessing the literature on both to date. I then explain the origin of Professional Friendship and give my own definition, before testing its validity in a study of the role of learning mentors in a large West Midlands Education Service. I use five sources of data: a systematic literature search; a mentee questionnaire; a set of mentoring case studies provided mainly by mentors; in depth interviews with mentors; and my own lived experience. The data shows me that Professional Friendship is a core component of successful mentoring relationships and that may be of broad benefit; certainly it is useful in assessing the role of learning mentors. However, the analysis also leads me to suggest ways in which the construct can be adapted and improved.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology


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