Length +Strength= Better Youth Outcomes
In 1995 Public Private Ventures (P/PV) conducted an extensive research study ofBBBS to examine why some mentoring relationships flourish and others fail.The main findings that are helpful when building mentoring relationships are:
the length & strength of the relationship correlates to outcomes (i.e.,the longer & stronger the relationship, the more positive the outcomes are)
expectations matter (i.e.,is mentor trying to “save” young person?)
the approach the mentor uses matters in building relationships.
Prescriptive mentors do things like focus on what they perceive are the young person’s deficits. They go into the relationship looking to fix their mentee. Prescriptive mentors use activities they choose to address specific behaviors that they believe the youth need to work on. They bring their own goals and needs into the relationship
In contrast to the prescriptive approach, the developmental approach focuses on the needs of the mentee. Developmental mentors seek to understand and support instead of trying to change the mentee. Developmental mentors approach their mentoring relationship with the understanding that for youth who have been let down by other adults in their lives, it is important to first and foremost build respect, trust, and understanding with their mentee.
The results from the PPV study identified that mentors who followed a developmental approach as opposed to a prescriptive approach tended to engage in longer and more meaningful relationships.The youth who had developmental mentors were more satisfied, more likely to seek support, and felt closer to their mentors.