University of Twente Student Theses


Mentoring voor zelfstandig ondernemers De rol van inlevingsvermogen en aanpassingsvermogen van de mentor binnen de mentor-mentee relatie voor zelfstandig ondernemers

Woestenberg, Maartje J.M. (2010) Mentoring voor zelfstandig ondernemers De rol van inlevingsvermogen en aanpassingsvermogen van de mentor binnen de mentor-mentee relatie voor zelfstandig ondernemers.

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Abstract:In this study the mentors’ ability to empathize and the ability to adapt in a mentor-mentee relation for entrepreneurs is researched. The feeling that the mentor understands the situation of the mentee is connected to the satisfaction of the mentee about the relationship. What the role of the ability to empathize is in relation to understand the mentees’ situation, is explored in this study. The satisfaction of the mentee is also the result of how well the strategy of the mentor fits to the business and personal needs of the mentee. Expected is that how well the strategy fits to the mentees’ needs is determined by the mentors’ ability to adapt. In the actual academic literature there are not many articles about the strategies that are used in mentormentee conversations. In this study the acts of the mentor are empathized. The ability to empathize and the ability to adapt are two acts that play a part in the mentor-mentee relations and in this study a clear understanding of these two acts are researched. The meaning of the ability to empathize is the way in which the mentor shows how to empathize with the mentee. The meaning of the ability to adapt is how the mentor adapts his or her behavior to the business and personal problems of the mentee. The basic principle in the research model is that the mentor will empathize with the mentee when the mentor wants more information about the mentees’ situation. This connects to earlier research about understanding the situation of the mentee. This is an important way to satisfy the mentee and showing empathy is a way to achieve this. After the mentor has more information about the situation of the mentee, the expectation is that the mentor will adapt his strategy to the mentee to help him or her in the best possible way. Method The research model is examined through interviewing ten mentors en ten mentees of the company Match & Mentor. The mentors and mentees were couples but were separately interviewed about the mentors’ ability to empathize and the ability to adapt. The mentors reported if and how they used their ability to empathize with and adapt to the mentee. The mentees reported how the behavior came across. They also estimated what strategy the mentor used in the mentor-mentee conversations and how they tried to transfer this to the mentee. Results and conclusions The results show that the mentors are using their ability continuously to empathize with the mentees and they do not use this ability as a separate tool to obtain more information from the mentee. The ability to empathize is a requirement for mentoring and it is an essential part of the relation. A mentor always has to empathize with the mentee to keep him or her satisfied. Within the entrepreneurial context the mentors show empathy to refer to their own experiences as an entrepreneur. The results show that mentors show and define empathy in a cognitive way but they are not conscious using their ability to empathize. The results also make clear that the mentor does not adapt to the mentee in a personal way, they are at least not conscious about it. The mentors do report they use their ability to adapt when they choose a certain strategy. This strategy suits the best to the business problems of the mentee, but they do not think about how to communicate this strategy in a way that it fits to the personality of the mentee. The mentors do not use knowledge about mentor styles to decide how they will communicate their strategy. The results show the mentors do not adopt a mentor style to reach certain goals and the mentees also do not report any signs of a mentor style. The mentors just use a set of communicative competencies to communicate the strategy and ‘make the problem clear’ is one of the most important parts of this strategy. Deepening the phenomenon ‘the ability to empathize’ and ‘the ability to adapt’ gives a better insight in mentoring and it is a basis for further research. The most important additional results in the context of mentoring for entrepreneurs are that the mentor has to reflect on: the risks the mentee has to take to trust the mentor, the authenticity of the mentor, the need for critique and feedback and the benefit of mentor that the mentees describe as ‘getting energy out of it’. When the mentors will reflect more on these additional results in the future, the satisfaction of the mentees will improve.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Match & Mentor
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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