Mentors and Protégés of a Feather

According to a study conducted by Marcy Young Illies (Saint Cloud State University) and Roni Reiter-Palmon (University of Nebraska Omaha), protégés who perceive a high degree of value similarity with their mentors also reported greater mentoring success.

The results indicated that protégés who perceived their values to be similar to their mentors’ values experienced more mentoring success, meaning they experienced more career support and psychosocial support and were more satisfied with their mentors.

Illies & Reiter-Palmon

Which values were addressed? I’m glad you asked. Power, achievement, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, security, and hedonism.

The study addresses much more than the summary above, so if you’re interested in this topic, it’s worth taking a look for yourself. The title of the article suggests a causal relationship, which I don’t think is warranted based on this evidence. It seems entirely possible, for example, that we have the variables backwards. Don’t we have a general tendency to ascribe similar values to those we like and admire? I haven’t read anything on this, but would welcome pointers from anyone in the audience. – Ben

Read The Effect of Value Similarity on Mentoring Relationships and Outcomes in the International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring.


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