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Susanne Hejlsvig & Leo Smith

Identifying effects of mentoring: two contrasting perspectives

Stream: Results
Area: Mentoring
Type: Workshop
Style: Mainly Discussion

Session on Thursday, Mar 02, 16:45
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Susanne Hejlsvig has worked with career coaching, career counseling and mentoring at Aarhus BSS, the business school at Aarhus University in Denmark since 2007. She has guided more than a thousand students in individual or group sessions and she is running several different career development programmes such as Aarhus BSS Mentor100, where she is recruiting, matching, training and evaluating mentors. In 2013 she wrote a mentoring handbook called “The Mentoring Journey”, which has been implemented in several Danish universities and companies. Susanne holds a Master of Arts in English and Business Communication, is a certified Life and Business Coach and a Process Consultant.

Leo Smith is a PhD student at the Corporate Communication Institute at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research focuses on mentorships between students and business professionals, more specifically he looks at the mentor conversation itself and how mentors and mentees mutually accomplish a mentorship through dialogue. In doing so, he seeks to uncover interactional communication patterns that constitute successful and unsuccessful practices. In addition to his mentor studies, he also currently involved in a research project looking at dietitian-patient interactions with a specific focus on how “history taking” is interactionally accomplished and the morality involved.


This session offers two complementary yet significantly different approaches to identifying effects of mentoring. One involves a longitudinal survey based design involving measurements which are particularly interesting for mentor programme managers. By introducing pre-mentorship expectations measures combined with post-mentorship effectiveness measures it allows programme managers with a better understanding of what ‘effectiveness’ means for participants when evaluating programmes.

With a point of departure in the hotly debated topic advice giving the other approach advances a practice based view on effects. Grounded in the fine-grained analysis of interaction this ethnomethodologically inspired approach situates the effects of advice giving in the actual practice. We include video data from actual mentor conversations as data for this part of the session.

The session draws on data from a mentor programme arranged by the Business and Social Sciences Faculty at Aarhus University, Denmark. The programme involves alumni who mentor graduate students in their transition from being a student to being a professional.

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