Mentoring is a developmental dialogue between two people. It is a process of ongoing support and development, which can tackle issues and problems identified by the mentee. Having a mentor can be one of the most powerful developmental relationships a person will ever experience. The three stage process is a questioning and listening model that can be used for mentoring. It is useful because it’s a fluid, straightforward framework.
The process rarely moves in a straight line from stage one to stage three. More often, the conversation moves about between all the stages. The three stage process can be viewed as a map of mentoring, both for a specific mentoring session and for the duration of the relationship. A map shows the way and helps us to plan a route, and it can help us to find where we are when we get lost.
There can be a temptation to get to the Action Planning Stage as quickly as possible but often the quality and the commitment to the action is dependent on the quality of stage one and two. Summarising regularly can help to establish the boundaries between each stage and move the conversation either on, or back into the previous stage. It is helpful to share the process within your relationship so that you both understand what is happening.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the three stage process is that, with practice, it becomes very natural and does not seem like an intrusive technique.