Preparing for Mentoring Program

  • Description of Resource:

    The Preparing for Mentoring Program is an online pre-match training program designed for prospective mentors to prepare for their mentoring relationship. The program consists of a three-course sequence: Building the Foundation, which focuses on the importance of mentoring, a mentor’s role, and planning for the first meeting between a mentor and mentee; Ethics and Safety, which teaches mentors five ethical principles for youth mentoring; and Building and Maintaining the Relationship, which provides mentors ideas for deepening their mentoring relationship. These trainings are designed to be completed either before the mentor and mentee are matched or very early in the relationship.


    To prepare prospective mentors for their mentoring relationship and to equip mentors with strategies for developing a positive relationship with their mentee using reflective questions, interactive activities, and videotaped scenarios.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Mentors and mentoring programs

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training, Match Support, Match Closure

    Key Personnel:


    Additional Information:


  • Resource Name:

    Preparing for Mentoring Program


    innovation Research & Training, Inc. (iRT)


    innovation Research & Training, Inc. (iRT)

    Date of Publication:


    Resource Type:

    Mentor Training Resources

  • Study 1

    Evidence Classification:


    Evaluation Methodology:

    Kupersmidt and Colleagues (2017) investigated the impact of an online pre-match training for mentors on mentor knowledge, preferences, attitudes towards youth, expectations, perceived roles, and perceived self-efficacy. Fifty-one participating programs with a total of 127 eligible participants were assigned to one of two blocks based on the length of their existing pre-match training. Twenty-five programs were randomly assigned to the treatment condition (n = 80 mentors) and 26 programs were assigned to a waitlist control group (n = 47 mentors). Programs randomized into the treatment group did not differ from those in the control group in terms of program size, age, target population, and adherence to the Elements of Effective Practice; however, treatment programs were more likely to be community-based.

    Mentors were between 16 and 68 years old, averaging 34.6 years old. About two-thirds reported that they were white (61.9 percent), about one-third were Black, (31.3 percent), 8.2 percent were Hispanic, and 6.7 percent identified with other racial groups. In terms of highest level of formal education, 30.4 percent of mentors received their high school diploma or GED, 13 percent received an associate degree or trade school certificate, 36.2 percent received their bachelor’s degree, and 20.3 percent completed a postbaccalaureate education. Treatment group members were significantly more likely to be male (28.4 percent) compared to the control group (10.2 percent), and they were significantly less likely to hold a four year degree (47.7 percent of the treatment group versus 64 percent of the waitlist control group). Treatment group volunteers received an average of 189.47 minutes of pre-match training covering an average of 3.57 topics from their mentoring program. There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on pre-match training exposure.

    All participants completed a series of web-based baseline surveys after enrollment. Waitlist control participants completed the same post-test surveys as well as a 50-item mentoring knowledge assessment an average of 21.22 days (SD = 14.10 days) after the pre-test. Treatment group participants took the mentoring knowledge assessment in three parts (10-20 questions each) at the end of each of the three online courses. They completed the rest of the post-test measures after completing all three courses, an average of 14.33 days (SD = 12.84 days) after study enrollment.

    Study outcomes were all based on mentor self-report. Unrealistically positive expectations and unrealistically negative expectations were assessed using a 12-item Mentor Expectations Questionnaire modified from Madia and Lutz (2004). Mentor preferences were assessed for 24 types of youth traits (such as youth who smoke cigarettes, or youth who are between the ages of 18 and 24) using a 4-point Likert scale of perceived difficulty ranging from 1 = not at all difficult to 4 = extremely difficult. Appropriate roles for mentors (for example, role model or adult friend), inappropriate roles for mentors (for example, parent, taxi driver, or pal/peer friend), and program specific roles (for example, tutor or community advocate) were measured using a 21-item questionnaire developed for this study on which participants indicated how often they expected to play certain roles (1 = never to 5 = all the time). Finally, mentor perceived self-efficacy was measured using a scale adapted from DuBois, Neville, Parra, and Pugh-Lilly (2002). This 26-item scale assessed volunteers’ self-perceived readiness to mentor youth on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 = not at all confident to 5 = extremely confident. Example items include readiness to “develop a close friendship with your mentee” and readiness to “provide your mentee with new experiences and opportunities that build upon his or her interests.”

    Regression Analyses controlling for pretest scores, gender, and educational attainment were used to test whether participation in the treatment group predicted each of the following outcomes: mentor knowledge, mentor preferences for specific types of youth, positive attitudes towards youth, unrealistically positive or unrealistically negative expectations, expectation of roles that are appropriate or inappropriate roles for mentors, and mentor perceived self-efficacy. Three other outcomes were assessed in the evaluation but are not included in this review: overinvolvement with children, self-enhancement, and social reciprocation.

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Mentoring Knowledge, Mentor Preferences, Positive Attitudes Towards Youth, Unrealistically Negative Expectations, Program Specific Roles
    Kupersmidt and Colleagues (2017) found that mentors randomly assigned to the treatment group did not significantly differ from those assigned to the control group on any of the above noted outcome measures.

    Unrealistically Positive Expectations, Inappropriate Roles for Mentors
    Kupersmidt and Colleagues (2017) found that mentors randomly assigned to the treatment group scored significantly lower than those assigned to the control group on each of the above noted outcomes.

    Appropriate Roles for Mentors, Mentor Perceived Self-Efficacy
    Kupersmidt and Colleagues (2017) found that mentors randomly assigned to the treatment group scored significantly higher than those assigned to the control group on each of the above noted outcomes.

    Additional Findings
    No significant differences were found between the treatment and control groups on the following additional outcomes: Overinvolvement with Children, Self-Enhancement, and Social Reciprocation. No subgroup analyses were tested.

    Evaluation Validity:

    Variations in the Resource
    No variations in this resource have been evaluated for effectiveness.

    Data on youth were not reported in the single available study of this resource. Therefore, available findings do not provide an understanding of consistency and/or differences in the effectiveness of this resource based on characteristics of the youth being mentored.

    In the single available study of this resource, participating mentors were diverse in terms of age, race, and educational level; however, it did not test for possible differences in effectiveness in relation to mentor characteristics. Therefore, an understanding of the implications of this practice across mentors with varying characteristics and backgrounds is lacking.

    Program Settings/Structures
    The single available study of this resource was not conducted within a defined program setting or structure. The 51 programs from which mentors were recruited differed in terms of setting, program age, program size, target population, and use of benchmark practices from the Elements of Effective Practice; however, possible differences in effectiveness in relation to program characteristics were not tested. Therefore, an understanding of the implications of this practice across varying program settings and structures is lacking.

    The single available study of this resource focused on mentor expectations, attitudes towards youth, motivations, knowledge, and self-efficacy as potential outcomes. Findings across these outcomes are variable, suggesting limited or moderate consistency of effects on the outcomes examined. This study does not report outcomes in the areas of mentoring relationships, program operations (e.g., costs of mentor training), or youth outcomes. Therefore, available findings do not provide a basis for understanding potential effects of this practice on outcomes in these areas.

  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This online training program can be purchased online at the following links:

    Building the Foundation for Mentors:

    Ethics and Safety:

    Building and Maintaining the Relationship:

  • References:

    DuBois, D. L., Neville, H. A., Parra, G. R., & Pugh-Lilly, A. O. (2002). Testing a new model of mentoring. In G. G. Noam (Ed.-in-chief) & J. E. Rhodes (Ed.), New directions for youth development: Theory, research, and practice: No. 93. A critical view of youth mentoring (pp. 21–57). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Madia, B. P., & Lutz, C. J. (2004). Perceived similarity, expectation‐reality discrepancies, and mentors' expressed intention to remain in Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34(3), 598-623.

Preparing for Mentoring Program

Access this Resource

Click here to view this Resource.

Request no-cost help for your program

Advanced Search