Exercise 3: Understanding Support and Challenge

In an informal mentoring program like the one that is housed in this virtual office, the intended outcome is enabling learning. As much as possible, we will try and support your learning goals as you identify the challenges that you are ready to accept on your own and the areas of growth that you are moving towards.

Let’s look at the Table below used by Daloz (1999) and Brockbank and McGill (2006). When both support and challenge are low, little happens. The student remains in stasis. If lots of support is offered but little challenge, the student will experience a sense of confirmation. Yet too much challenge with too little support could cause a student to retreat because of ambiguity or too many demands. It seems then that what we are looking to do is to provide a balance of support and challenge such that a student will feel safe to move forward in a growth area.

A graph that shows that a lot can be accomplished when challenge and support is high, but adversely, the less support and challenge there is, the less gets accomplished.


In looking over the Table, which quadrant do you feel most comfortable thinking about right now and which quadrant do you feel you would like to experience in the virtual office of mentoring and coaching? Make a short entry of 25 words in your journal.