Mentoring, boundaries, and multiple relationships: opportunities and challenges

Feb. 15, 2008

Source: Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Volume 16, Issue 1 February 2008 , pages 3 - 16

Most students and early career professionals desire mentoring relationships. Mentors can provide numerous added benefits to their protégés beyond what they typically obtain from classroom and other formal training experiences. Yet, despite the many potential benefits of mentoring relationships, the very nature of successful mentoring relationships brings with it certain risks for participants.

Issues of boundaries and multiple relationships must be understood and successfully navigated to help ensure that mentors' objectivity and judgment are not impaired and that protégés are not exploited or harmed. The concepts of boundaries, boundary crossings, boundary violations, and multiple relationships are explored in this article and applied in the context of mentoring relationships. Recommendations for successfully navigating the challenges they bring are made in the hope of helping to ensure productive and healthy mentoring relationships.

Updated: Feb. 12, 2008