Mentoring to Change Self-Concept: A Phenomenological Study.
This qualitative research study uses a multi-disciplinary research framework to explore mentoring as an intervention to change self-concept for adults. It applies a phenomenological approach and suggests that it is important to explore mentoring as an intervention to assist in the positive self-concept formation of women. It investigates whether or not mentoring may be a viable alternative or a valuable addition to traditional “work now” welfare-to-work programs which suffer from an inability to keep up with changing economic needs. Furthermore, it suggests that alternative welfare-to-work programs that promote positive work-related identity changes for women on welfare that can assist them with making the transition from welfare to work are needed.
The researcher interviewed 12 women participating in a voluntary welfare to work mentoring program hosted by a non-profit, Dress for Success, about their experiences transitioning from welfare to work with the help of mentoring. The researcher explored stories about their work experiences and sense of work identity to better understand this time of transition in their lives.
Findings show the importance of understanding the lived experience of women transitioning off of welfare and providing an outlet to give a “voice” to the traditionally underrepresented group that can get their stories in front of policymakers. Lastly, it discusses how mentoring programs designed for low income women transitioning from welfare-to-work may increase the positive “possible selves” of low income women and mothers and it seeks to understand the lived experience of self-concept transformation that is required for them to successfully transition off of welfare.
Keywords: work-related identity change in adults, mentoring-based welfare-to-work programs, transformative mentoring, phenomenology.