Part 3: A TEAM Approach

Motivation, Expectations & Approach 

What motivated you to volunteer? Is being a mentor what you expected? How do you approach your mentoring relationship? Is it working for you? Dive into this module for some great ideas and scenarios!


The TEAM model that follows illustrates the different styles and approaches to mentoring. When you consider your mentoring style and approach, think about yourself as one of many people who impact or influence your mentee.

The goal of the TEAM model is to “meet in the middle”. Consider your location on the TEAM framework, and ask yourself a few questions. What direction would you need to move to get to the middle − that is, to become a developmental or instrumental mentor? Do you need to be more playful, more collaborative, more serious? If you are in one of the mentor sections, are you pleased with how your mentoring relationship is progressing?

If you find yourself firmly in the “Comedian” or “Vice Principal” quadrants, perhaps it’s time to talk with your program staff to see if a refocus is warranted.




Behaviour: Discuss youth’s behaviours (specifically, misbehaviours) that are related to problems with peers, teachers, adults. Here attention is paid to relationships, but largely from the mentor’s perspective.
 Casual conversation: Discuss sports, weekend activities, holiday plans, and fun things to do in the community or neighbourhood. Conversation is not about personal matters but does encourage reciprocal learning.
 Banter: Engage in joke telling, silly play, unstructured games, or other non-relational (impersonal) but light, funny, or entertaining interactions or conversations.
e.g.: Principal e.g.: Peer e.g.: Comedian
Social issues: Discuss news, poverty, local events, cultural issues that relate to the youth. Try to foster attitudes that will support the youth.
 Listening and learning: Discuss mentee’s hobbies, interests, feelings. Mentee shares personal and important information while mentor listens, is empathetic, affirms, and sometimes volunteers similar personal experiences.
 Creative activities: Engage in conversation while doing youth-suggested or approved tasks, such as drawing, arts and crafts, reading and writing for fun, photography, etc.
e.g.: Counsellor e.g.: Developmental Mentor e.g.: Playmate
Academics: Discuss grades, school, testing, etc., or engage in pre-planned academic support activities, such as reading or tutoring on a topic not initially proposed by the mentee.
 Future focus: Youth initiates discussion about college, careers, jobs, goals, dreams, etc. Or, shared problem solving that may include mentor advocating for youth outside immediate match.
 Indoor and outdoor games/activities: Play board games, cards, chess, checkers, computer games, puzzles, catch, baseball, soccer, etc.
e.g.: Tutor e.g.: Instrumental Mentor e.g.: Teammate

Attendance and stay-in-school: Mentor initiates discussion about topics of concern to adults more than youth.


Learning, school, or job skills: Future-orientated, youth-initiated activities taught by and practiced with mentor, such as helping with homework, reading/writing/job skills.


Sports, athletic, or outdoor games/activities: Mentor-taught or coached basketball, soccer, tennis, etc.

e.g.: Vice Principal

 e.g.: Master journeyperson 

e.g.: Coach

From Karcher, M.J. (2012). TEAMing Up for Stronger Mentoring Relationships. Manuscript under review. University of Texas at San Antonio. Copyright, ©Michael J. Karcher