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Making meaning through mentoring: Mentors finding fulfilment at work through selfdetermination and self-reflection

P Kennett, T Lomas International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2015

Organisations are increasingly concerned with promoting employee engagement. Research from positive psychology suggests that one key driver of engagement is experiencing work as meaningful. Organisations are therefore keen to understand how meaningful work is created. The present study conjectured that becoming a mentor might be one effective way of experiencing meaning at work. Indepth interviews were conducted with four experienced mentors and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis to understand the impact that mentoring has on mentors. It was found that mentoring could indeed be a meaningful experience, enhancing work-related fulfilment. More detailed analysis revealed that meaning was engendered through a potent combination of self-determination (incorporating autonomy, relatedness and competence) and self-reflection, and a theoretical model was devised to reflect these findings. The paper offers recommendations for organisations, showing that mentoring relationships may not only benefit mentors (and mentees), but also organisations themselves.

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