instrumental vs expressive mentoring

An Exploration of Instrumental vs. Expressive Mentoring: A research abstract

by Ridwanah Gurjee

“Instrumental” mentoring style is defined as goal focused and target driven (Clayden & Stein, 2005:35), whereas an ‘expressive’ mentoring approach is nurturing and more focused on the relationship itself. Likewise, Rhodes and DuBois (2006:3) suggested that interaction and emotional connection between mentor and mentee can influence the quality and effectiveness of mentoring relationships. This research aims to unpack the learning experience by exploring the interaction amongst higher education student mentors and mentees. It will include a reflective account of the practitioner researcher journey and the methodological obstacles of unpacking the notion of “Instrumental versus Expressive Mentoring.”

In particular, the research explores the value of engaging in a discursive process to highlight the problematic considerations of researching mentoring through the implementation of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). More precisely, drawing on professional identity, positionality, and reflexivity. The approach adopted of narrative research is acknowledged for its power to explore stories and give the students a voice to share their perspective (Creswell, 2013:71).

Finally, mentoring in the community at UCLan, CVCL, is underpinned by the philosophy of Paulo Freire (1993:96). Freire (1993:88) identified the need to develop dialogue around what you are learning and why you are learning through the action/reflection praxis and problem-posing dialogue. This research will allow the opportunity to engage in dialogue around the research and create an effective learning environment so as to develop consciousness and self-realisation, contributing to the researcher’s own reflexive process.


Clayden, J. and Stein, M. (2005). Mentoring Young People Leaving Care – ‘Someone for me.’ Joseph Rowntree Foundation: York.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. Third Edition. Sage Publications: London and Los Angeles.

Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd: London and New York.

Rhodes, J. E and DuBois, D. L. (2006). Understanding and Facilitating the Youth Mentoring Movement. Social Policy Report. Volume: 20, Issue: 3, Pages 3-19.

About the Author: Ridwanah Gurjee

Ridwanah Gurjee is a volunteer co-ordinator and MA Course Leader and Lecturer in Community Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Education and Social Science.

Since 2001, Ridwanah Gurjee has taken responsibility for co-ordinating the UCLan volunteering programme and has taken a central role in developing the innovative degree programmes at FD, BA and MA level.

Ridwanah is highly experienced in volunteer management and support and in delivering community-based learning. In 2005, her work with international student volunteers earned UCLan a place in the THES Award Finals for Best International Student Experience.

Ridwanah also takes a core role in developing projects for young Asian women across Lancashire, and her bullying intervention modules have proved popular.

Ridwanah Gurjee is a members of IMA Board of Directors.