Fostering Trust in Mentoring Relationships: An Exploratory Study

Mentoring has been identified as a key strategy to career development and has been argued to be indispensable for women to advance to positions of power. For mentoring to succeed, it is imperative that mentors trust their protégés. However, recent research has suggested that male mentors trust their male protégés more so than their female protégés. Since women are frequently mentored by men, it is imperative that they gain the same level of trust as their male peers enjoy. According to an established model of trust, trust is shaped by the mentor’s perceptions of protégé ability, benevolence and integrity, as well as perceptions of the risk inherent to mentoring. This exploratory research aims to examine what influences these perceptions to shed light on how protégés can gain the trust of their mentors.