Our research shows how effective and powerful mentoring is interactionally achieved within 'communities of practise' in workplaces. This identity of a mentor encompasses developmental, professional and personal functions as is evident when a person with authority initiates and prods subordinates in an upward and outward direction.

Examples of this involve managers exploring ways of assisting subordinates to make progress by acquiring further skills and qualifications which will contribute to his/her personal and professional development. This detailed analysis of developmental and personal mentoring is an example of how facilitative and accomodating good manager-mentors can be.

Weekly meeting between manager and subordinate in a government department

Leila: ...thinking about your future...there's a couple of quite exciting looking things that Mary sort of like or Sally was /(talking about there that so)\

Zoe: /oh yes yeah I've \ looked at

Leila: /yeah but well\cos I thought you might be interested too

Zoe: /yeah mhm\ yeah there was actually um [inhales]

Leila: (course like some) if you were still here\

Zoe: well I was interested in the serials one but I\ but I thouht well it's a bit you know sort of I couldn't really justify it really I really would like to go if it was about+the future of /serials\

Leila: if you're interested in serials I'm perfectly happy

Zoe: okay

Leila: for you to go to that /I mean I (and)\

Zoe: /right okay (thanks)\

Leila: for for the [name of Leila's department] to meet the costs for that um I mean I think those are you know it's been great having you here and so if those sort of things are gonna to help you in your personal development I think (they're fine) um +

Quite often, mentoring is communicated in a negotiated way rather than in a authoritarian directive method which is the usual process for getting things done. In this example, it illustrates a typical negotiation between a manager and a member of his team.

Performance review meeting between manager and staff member in a government department

Eli: so that's it then eh

Len: well um what else + your university work? ++ that's going all right? you did your seminar?

Eli: mm +++ yeah...and I'm managing to find time at home um my first test will tell me how I'm doing + but I'm ( ) I'm learning

Len: yeah

Eli: yeah + I reckon if I could afford to I'd be able- I- I could (draw) being a full time student actually [sniffs]

Len: all right well [clears throat] one step at a time

Eli: yep + which I don't even know where I'm heading [sneezes] I don't even know what field I want to get into

Len: mm

Eli: mm ++

Len: yeah well I mean if you see how these two papers go

Eli: (through) yeah


Please see our list of publications on Mentoring in the Bibliographies section.