Mentors' emotional intelligence and performance of mentoring functions in doctoral education
Although several studies have investigated the impact of emotional intelligence on mentoring relationships in the workplace, no previous research evaluated the emotional intelligence of a mentor and the role emotional intelligence plays in the performance of mentoring functions in an educational environment. The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between major (or co-major) professors' emotional intelligence profile and their performance of mentoring functions as perceived by their adult learner doctoral student graduates (mentees).
This study was conducted at a College of Education at a large Research I university in the southeast United States and included 79 doctoral students who graduated between fall 1999 and fall 2002 and their respective 29 major professors. This research examined the relation between major professors' emotional intelligence profiles (measured using the self-administered EQ MAP instrument) and their performance of mentoring functions (assessed by doctoral graduates using the Doctoral Mentoring Questionnaire). Major professors' emotional intelligence profiles resided in the top two categories between optimal and proficient. These scores were higher than the North American norm using a sample of professionals in business and industry, which resided between the vulnerable and proficient categories. A profile comparison by gender revealed that female professors scored higher on the intuition and creativity subscales, while male professors had a higher score for trust. On the mentoring profile, doctoral graduates rated their major professors highest on their ability to assist students to envision the future and lowest on their competence to confront and challenge students' achievements. Correlational analysis between the major professors' emotional intelligence profile and their performance of mentoring functions revealed a majority of weak and negative correlations, which were inconclusive, and warrant further research.
This study added to the body of research about mentoring relationships by evaluating the emotional intelligence of a mentor and the role emotional intelligence plays in the performance of mentoring functions in an educational environment. These mentoring relationships have been shown to impact a student's retention, successful completion of the doctoral dissertation, and on future career opportunities.
0516: Continuing education
0632: Psychological tests