Professional and Alumni

Self-Managed Mentoring - An Online Course

Self-Managed Mentoring

a Web-based course sponsored by Kappa Omicron Nu (KON) Honor Society
and dedicated to the mission of empowered leaders

Acknowledgement: this course was adapted from Mentoring: The Human Touch (Mitstifer, Wenberg, & Schatz, 1991)
by Susan S. Stratton, Lisa H. Wootton, and Dorothy I. Mitstifer.
Copyright© 2000, Kappa Omicron Nu.

Mentoring: The Human Touch was a direct outcome of a workshop conducted by Lu Ann Darling and Pauline E. Schatz, Self-Managed Mentoring Associates, at the 1991 Kappa Omicron Nu Conclave. The theoretical structure was based upon research conducted in 1989 with the California Dietetics Association on the Mentoring Self-Management Program Model.

NOTE: You can access a complete, printable version of this course, including all linked activities, by clicking here.


This course is offered as a contribution to leadership development. Mentoring is a popular topic in education and business but Self-Managed Mentoring puts a different twist on the subject. Self-development, after all, is a personal choice, and this course enables persons to take charge of their lives. In return for this “freebie” we ask only that you write your “story”—a sort of testimonial—about how you used the content of this course and what the outcomes were. You may send your story to

You, of course, know that copyright law holds that use of this material for purposes other than your personal self-development requires advance approval. Approval can be acquired through

There are at least four choices for utilizing the course:

1. Knowledge - Read the text to learn about mentoring, especially self-managed mentoring. The "e-lectures" are identified by the following symbol:


2. Experiential Knowledge - Read the text and select several exercises that increase your competence in selected areas.

3. Self-Managed Life Change - Read the text and complete the whole series of exercises in order to make a major difference in your life.

4. Life Change facilitated by Telementoring or E-mail Mentoring - Enhance the process with a mentor selected by you, or contact Kappa Omicron Nu to supply a mentor (there may be a cost associated with this choice). Requests can be made through

There are five sections and twenty-seven activities in this course, and the authors recommend a minimum of fifteen hours (for options 3 and 4 above) to get the best value for your investment of time.

Opportunities for college credit, CEUs, or PDUs – This course could be administered for college credit like a “special problem” or as a component of a course, but persons desiring such credit must take the initiative. Kappa Omicron Nu will support such efforts if requested.

*Tip for navigating in the web-based course: In addition to the links at the bottom of each activity, the browser "Back" button will take you to the immediately preceding location.

e-lecture Section I: Introduction/Orientation

A person cannot lead others without first learning how to lead oneself. A mentor cannot mentor others without first having been mentored successfully. It is in “knowing thyself” and recognizing your own strengths AND weaknesses that authentic leadership begins. It is in the experience of “seek and you shall find; ask and you shall receive” that we learn the wisdom of life and powerful strategies to help others.

Completing this course well will require four commitments from you:

1. Self-discipline to complete all the activities provided. Each activity will help you explore a part of yourself that you may not have thought about before.

2. Keeping a journal. All activities should be kept in that journal, as well as other reflections. It is recommended that you continue writing the journal beyond the completion of the course. Journaling can help you reflect on who you are in the world and how life impacts you. At the beginning of your journal, label 3-5 pages with “Mentoring Needs.” It is on these pages that you will accumulate a list of mentoring needs, which will present themselves as you progress through the activities of this course. You will find this symbol at each activity that requires you to write in your journal:

journal activity

3. Design for yourself a support group of three other people that you can call on as you progress through this course of study. The members of this group can serve you in the following ways:

  • As your point of accountability. You need to tell someone that you are doing a specific exercise and that you want him or her to check up on you to be certain you have completed it by a date certain. Select someone who can motivate you.
  • As your confidant. There will be things that come to you through your reflections that you may want to talk about. Such conversations may be very personal. Select someone you can trust in those moments.
  • As your cheerleader. There may be times you will want to not follow through with this course. Select someone who will remind you of your vision as you begin this course.

Activity 1.1: My Support Group

Identify your support group in your journal.

As you progress through this course, lean on these people to help you in your personal and professional growth.

journal activity

4. On a daily basis, ask yourself the following questions in the morning and in the evening. Asking these questions will set you on a healthy path of proactive noticing of you in the world. The questions can simply be a mental exercise that takes about 3-5 minutes in the morning and evening OR you can journal your responses. The key is to develop a pattern of consistent questions that empower you on a daily basis.

journal activity

Morning Empowerment Questions

1. What am I excited about in my life now?

What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?

2. What am I grateful about in my life now?

What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?

3. What am I enjoying most in my life right now?

What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?

4. What am I committed to in my life right now?

What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?

5. Who do I love? Who loves me?

What about that makes me loving? How does that make me feel?

Evening Empowerment Questions

(Robbins, 1991)

1. What have I given today?

2. What did I learn today?

3. How has today added to the quality of my life?

4. How did I contribute to others today?

5. How did I show my love and compassion for others today?

What is mentoring? Why is it important to you?

A mentor is generally considered a more experienced person who alternately functions as a coach, counselor, and a teacher. The mentoring relationship has many functions:

  • Enhance skill and intellectual development,
  • Welcome and facilitate entry and advancement in the work situation,
  • Expand horizons and perspectives,
  • Acquaint the mentee with values, customs, resources, and professional connections,
  • Model the professional role,
  • Advise, give moral support and build confidence,
  • Furnish a relatively objective assessment of strengths and weaknesses,
  • Define the newly emerging self and to encourage the dream.

Mentoring is carried on in informal and formal ways. It can be done through facilitation by another individual or through self-facilitation. This course focuses on creating a Self-Managed Mentoring Program.

Completing this course well will put you on the path to successful adulthood, a promising professional life, and a healthy, integrated personal approach to life.

Informal mentoring

Most people experience the informal “happenstance” mentoring throughout a lifetime. “Lucky” mentees are chosen by persons who take a “special interest” in them and promote their personal or career development. A major problem with this informal mentoring is that women and minorities are the least likely to be “adopted” by a mentor. The “old boys’ network” for promising young men, especially white, middle class men, has not yet been fully adapted for other deserving candidates. Thus the reason for the development of more formal mentoring programs and services.

Formal mentoring

Formal mentoring programs vary in scope and design. Some are sophisticated programs with staffs for training and monitoring progress; others are volunteer-led networks for supporting mentors and mentees. Professional associations and business are likely sponsors of mentoring networks. Personal coaches, like a personal trainer, are available for hire by either a corporate professional development department for promising career candidates OR by an individual who is determined to fulfill career dreams.

Self-Facilitation or Mentoring Self-Management Program

Through self-facilitation or self-management, mentees identify, understand, and use their unique developmental patterns to manage their own mentoring. In other words, by observing yourself “objectively”, and reflecting on what you observe, you can determine exactly what you need to overcome your next developmental challenge. A mentoring self-management program places the responsibility onto the mentee and expands the notion of mentoring to include peers, parents and siblings, biographies, illuminating materials and media, reflection on field experiences and serial mentoring.

There are two types of self-management: Passive and Proactive

Passive self-management occurs when you put yourself in a situation where things will happen to you, which you believe will be empowering. By placing yourself in certain situations, you are provided with experiences, which affect you more or less profoundly. When you choose to enroll in a course or to work in a particular environment, you are practicing passive self-management.

Proactive self-management occurs when you consciously choose to alter your behavior—to interrupt how you normally do things, believing this can benefit you. You may choose to speak or listen or behave in a new way. You take the initiative—it is your idea, your choice, your action. For example, choosing to exercise is proactive self-management for a person who may normally be inactive. Choosing to wear a different style of clothing may alter how people respond to you. Beginning meditation, expressing feelings you usually hide, or sharing secrets are all examples of proactive self-management.

This proactive self-management focus allows you to work through all the barriers you internally create to resist change in behavior. Using your conscious will in pursuit of a personal goal is the thing that gives you the energy to keep on the path of pursuit. As you become more proactive in your life, you will also become stronger.

As you pursue your career, you will ultimately be in a profession where you must mentor and lead others. For a mentor-in-training, self-management is essential. You need to take on training yourself to be fully conscious and as aware as possible. This self-management training needs to become a life practice, focused on looking for ways of continuous self-improvement.

This course is just the beginning. It provides you tools and resources to identify your needs and processes, ways to assess the timing of the mentoring activity as well as tools to determine the best mentoring form to overcome the unique personal and professional challenges you face.

Activity 1.2: The Story of Me

journal activity

In your journal (after the Mentoring Needs pages), title the next several pages as follows:

Years 0-5, Years 6-10, Years 11-15, Years 16-20, Years 21-25, etc. in five year increments to your current age.

On each page allocated, answer the following questions about that time frame:

Where did you live?

Who were your major players?

Were there any significant pets?

What was my favorite? Food? Game? Music? Friend? Toy(s)? Hobbies? Interests? Clothes?

What were my major events during that time?

What are my dominant memories of the time?

Staying in touch with all of you is important as you begin to reflect on where you want to go and what you need.

This historical review may take 2 pages or maybe 20. Some of it may be difficult to recall and some will flow quite easily. Reviewing the history of any relationship is the first step in determining the next developmental challenges.

Activity 1.3: Reflection

After completing the narrative review of your life, record your observations in your journal, completing at least one of the following sentences:

  • I’ve become aware…
  • After some reflection, I’ve decided…
  • I’m proud of myself because I…
  • A pattern I have noticed…

journal activity

Activity 1.4: Who were your informal mentors?

Linked Activities:

Activity 1.5: Coat of Arms

Personal coats of arms have never been popular in the United States, but many families have these heraldic devices that reference their ancestral heritage. The "Coat of Arms" strategy is not concerned with the inherited heraldry of family hand-me-down symbols but with the desirable qualities with which you would like to be associated.

In the appropriate areas of your coat of Arms, answer six questions, not in words but in pictures. The drawings may be simple, even crude, as long as they mean something to you; as long as you know what they express. This strategy seeks the quality of values, not the quality of artwork.

Why symbols? Not only are symbols or pictographs the traditional means of illustrating heraldic shields, but the use of abstract symbols may force us to think beyond words. As a famous French writer said, "Many of us use words to conceal thought more than to express it." Here we will avoid being too verbal and hiding behind words. Let's see what we can picture.

Coat of Arms


Draw pictures to depict your answers to six (6) of the following questions.


These questions will help you identify the personal qualities that you wish to represent you.

1. What do you regard as your greatest personal achievement?

2. What do you regard as your family's greatest achievement?

3. What is the one thing that other people can do to make you most happy?

4. What would you do if you had one year to live and were guaranteed success in whatever you attempted?

5. What three words would you most like to have said about you if you died today?

6. What is one value, a deep commitment, from which you would never budge?

7. What is the material possession most significant to you?

8. What is your greatest achievement of the past year?

9. What three words (qualities) would you like to have associated with you? These could become your personal motto, words to live by.

Source: Simon, S.B. (1974). Meeting yourself halfway. Niles, IL: Argus.

After completing the Coat of Arms exercise, record your observations in your journal, completing at least one of the following sentences:

  • I’ve become aware…
  • After some reflection, I’ve decided…
  • I’m proud of myself because I…

journal activity

Activity 1.6: Mentoring Needs

Have any of the activities in Section I suggested any needs you may have for mentoring? Enter those needs on the first pages of your journal.

journal activity

Activity 1.7: Self-Empowerment

Have you been faithfully asking yourself the morning and evening empowerment questions? Remember, they will help you notice how you are in the world, but they will also help you see your life in a positive light and reduce your stress level!

Have you been using your support group of three to keep you accountable to this process? What do you need from them to complete the next section of this course?

journal activity


Copyright© 2000, Kappa Omicron Nu

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