Stages of Mentoring

Research shows that when people enter into a mentoring relationship they engage the process from different perspectives. These different stages are not meritorious and shouldn’t be thought of or described in that way. It has more to do with how they are relating to being mentored or how they see the purpose of it. This is particularly true in mentoring youth. When youth enters into a mentoring relationship, like one of our groups, it can be hard to know if they see it the same way the mentor does. Misinterpreting this relationship causes frustration for both parties and so it is important to know where the mentee is at!

We have taken those stages of mentoring and modified them to be specific to the YDC. The following is an outline of those stages along with the characteristics of each stage:

The Introductory/Relationships Building Stage

In this stage youth, acclimate to the routines and cultural norms of being in Abide or Lions of Judah. Even the parent/guardian is acclimating. This stage can take 2-6 months depending on the age, willingness, and understanding of what the purpose of the group is. Some youth stay in this stage for years and/or never move to a more engaged stage.

Characteristics of this stage look like:

  • Youth identifies themselves as a member of the group.
  • Increased trust and fellowship with the other youth and adults of the group.
  • A willingness to learn and apply the values of the community while attending the sponsored activities of the group.
  • Youth understands the purpose of the group and why they meet regularly. Youth can state this in their own words.

The Goal Oriented Stage

In this stage youth are open to working on goals that are identified by a mentor. For example, it is announced that the group is planning an activity that requires planning a menu, budgeting for meals, and shopping for the food. Youth are asked, “Who would like to learn how to do these things?” Youth who are willing to work on a project like that are operating from a Goal Oriented perspective.

Characteristics of this stage look like:

  • Youth exhibits consistent attendance at sponsored activities of the group, such as weekly meetings and monthly outings.
  • Youth are willing to work on goals that develop their personal vision and calling in life, such as Advocates 4 Life.
  • Effort is made to learn and apply the values of the community while away from the group.
  • Youth are willing to become an emerging leader in the group.

The Mentee Driven Stage

In this stage a youth is operating from a high level of engagement in the mentoring process. It has been said the signs of a healthy and fruitful mentoring relationship is when the mentee is pursuing the mentor for guidance in life. The mentee has been working on what they and the mentor had talk about the last time they spoke. Because of this, when they meet again, the mentee has meaningful questions they want to ask the mentor so that they can make progress on their efforts in life.

Characteristics of this stage look like:

  • Youth can identify one or more specific life goals or passions they want to pursue, such as a sport, a musical instrument, or a career path.
  • Youth seeks mentor/s for guidance on how to achieve life goals or passions.
  • The youth’s life demonstrates a rooted acceptance of the community values. For example, other people can see and testify that the values of the community are also their values too.
  • Youth are open to greater levels trust and accountability with their mentor/s from the community.

The Transition/Closure Stage

In this stage there are life circumstances that are getting in the way of the being able to engage with the mentoring process at a high level. This is not always a negative, but in fact, it is often a natural stage of growth in the life of the youth.

Characteristics of this stage look like:

  • Attendance at sponsored activities has decreased and is inconsistent.
  • A life milestone is achieved that affects their routine or schedule patterns, such as graduating high school.
  • Reaches an age where their role in the community shifts from being a youth to being an adult leader/mentor.
  • Reaches an age or time where their schedule doesn’t allow them the opportunity to attend sponsored activities on a consistent level, such as work or sports. However they still value and seek guidance for their lives.


A person can and does move around from one stage to the other from time to time. The stage a person is at isn’t something they earn or achieve. It’s how they’re engaging in the process of mentoring. It’s important to give youth space to be in whatever stage they are comfortable in. But, it is also important to help them understand where they are and to create an atmosphere in the mentoring group that motivates youth to engage at the most impacting level possible.

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