Consider the context: New study explores how mentors can help with goal attainment

Mader, M., Stoeger, H., Veas, A., & Ziegler, A. (2021). How mentors think about the attainability of mentoring goals: The impact of mentoring type and mentoring context on the anticipated regulatory network and regulatory resources of potential mentors for school mentoring programs. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.


This study investigated how potential mentors perceive the attainability of mentoring goals. It explored the mentoring type (traditional in-person vs. e-mentoring) and mentoring context (non-pandemic vs. COVID-19 pandemic).


The study involved 190 preservice teachers (69.5% female, M*age* = 21.25 years) enrolled in undergraduate teacher education programs at a German university. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (mentoring type: traditional, e-mentoring) x 2 (mentoring context: non-pandemic, COVID-19 pandemic) between-subjects design.

Participants completed an online survey, preceded by an introductory text describing the respective condition. For example, the e-mentoring during COVID-19 condition stated: “In the planned e-mentoring, mentor(s) and mentee(s) will meet several times a month online and communicate about current school teaching content. Your participation will help us greatly in designing the e-mentoring during the COVID-19 pandemic” [1].

Participants rated 12 items across four mentoring goal areas (learning, social relationships, key skills, coping) on two scales: how effective the approach was and need for additional resources


A repeated-measures MANOVA revealed significant effects of mentoring type and mentoring context on regulatory network indicators, but not on regulatory resources indicators [1]:

– Potential mentors considered traditional mentoring more suitable than e-mentoring for achieving mentoring goals.
– They viewed mentoring under non-pandemic conditions as more suitable for goal attainment than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
– However, they did not perceive differences in resource availability across mentoring types or contexts.

Regarding specific mentoring goals, potential mentors:

– Rated learning goals as most achievable through mentoring.
– Considered coping goals least achievable.
– Perceived resources for achieving learning goals as most available.
– Perceived resources for achieving social goals as least available.


The findings indicate potential mentors are optimistic about the attainability of key mentoring goals (learning, social, skills, coping) through school mentoring programs. However, they perceived differences in goal attainability based on mentoring type and context, rating traditional in-person mentoring during non-pandemic times as most conducive to achieving ambitious goals.