Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth Ann Peterson

Second Advisor

Randee Lawrence

Third Advisor

Libby Tisdell


The purpose of this critical engagement project was to focus on how mentoring relationships positively impact personal and professional lives -- what I call exceptional mentoring. This was a qualitative study using a narrative inquiry methodology and the theoretical framework of transformational leadership. There were five participants in the study who are known in the industry to be exceptional mentors because of their dedication and passion for caring about others. The research method included one-on-one interviews lasting between two and five hours. The study explored the life stories of these individuals with the intent to learn how people become mentors, motivations for mentoring and their beliefs about exceptional mentoring. The findings revealed the following themes: influencers on how the participants became exceptional mentors; outcomes or benefits that the participants experienced from mentoring others; and exceptional mentoring best practices or elements. Each of these themes included related subthemes. I, the researcher, already having realized the power of mentoring in corporate America, expanded my conviction to the field of Adult Education. Adult Educators, being in a leadership role by virtue of their position, and their students, needing guidance as they learn new perspectives as well as new aspects of themselves, can benefit from what mentoring offers. The concluding chapter provides the reader with additional information on this topic in the form of an exceptional mentoring website which provides key takeaways from this research, as well as additional resources. Questions for future study could include how to identify specific mentoring needs among adult educators, and how to uncover key attributes of effective programs that foster mentoring relationships.




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