Mentoring As Reframing
A Useful Conceptualisation of Dyadic Multidisciplinary Mentoring in Academia
Keywords:Mentoring, Reframing, Higher education, Leadership, Career development
Mentoring relationships between academics have been conceptualised in a variety of ways, drawing on concepts such as developmental networks, complex adaptive systems and ecology. However, reflecting on our experience as a mentoring dyad in a university context, we con- sidered that existing models of mentoring fail to capture what was a central element of our mentoring conversations: the reframing of challenges. Reframing is a well-established thera- peutic technique in social work that aims to help people change their perceptions from a problem to solution focus. By analysing three areas where reframing was powerful in our discussions, we argue that it represents a useful way of conceptualising the work of ment- oring across academic fields. We suggest that mentoring-as-reframing can be particularly valuable for early- and mid-career academics, as a stimulus to both recognise and engage critically with implicit organisational priorities, and to explore alternative solutions to what may be seen as intractable problems.
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