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Mentoring the New Generation

There is one key defining difference between a mentorship and a supervisory relationship, the most salient being that a successful relationship between the mentor and the protégé is bidirectional. Mentoring pertains to the identification and development of the protégé’s personal and professional potential; the arrangement serves as a professional development opportunity for both the mentor and protégé. In some ways, the typical mentor/protégé relationship has changed with the new generation of BCBA students with the explosive growth in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis in recent years. It appears that relationships created by the new generation of behavior analysis students reflect the paradigm shift, including the protégé taking a more active role in developing goals.

A Longitudinal Study of Mentor and Protégé Outcomes in Formal Mentoring Relationships (Chun, Sosik, & Yun, 2012). published in The Journal of Organizational Behavior, investigates the relationship between the mentor and the protégé to bridge the gaps from recent literature, which does not focus on mentor outcomes and mutual benefits from this described bidirectional relationship. Interesting posited benefits identified included psychosocial benefits in addition to professional improvements. These authors found that supervisory mentors performing leadership roles engaged in more career developmental activities for their protégés than did non-supervisory mentors. Mentors serve as role models lead by their values, behaviors, and professional achievements, therefore promoting respect and trust in the mentors. Through career support and role-modeling, the mentors make their developmental impact on protégé.

The relationship between the mentor and the protégé has not radically changed as long as the mentor is sensitive to changes in the landscape of technology. Relationships between both professionals can be supportive and symbiotic in nature as long as both partners conceptualize the relationship as growth opportunities for both professionals in the pursuit of excellence in the academic and clinical fields.

How much of the changes in protégés outlook and conceptualization of supervisory interactions have been driven by the push towards distance learning, telehealth models, and remote supervision?


Chun, J. U., Sosik, J. J., & Yun, N. Y. (2012). A longitudinal study of mentor and protégé outcomes in formal mentoring relationships. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(8), 1071–1094. doi: 10.1002/job.1781

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