Models for virtual mentoring


As a part of the VPLD Developing Virtual Mentors course, we have been looking at two models for virtual mentoring. The GROW model and the R-Ropraha model. This post is just my quick summary/reflection on the two models.

GROW model

Model developed by John Whitmore,  Graham Alexander, and Alan Fine.
The GROW model: A simple process for coaching and mentoring.


Reality (current)

Options or Obstacles

Will or Way forward

This model is simple and straightforward. It is starting with the goal, looking at where things are currently at, what can be done/what is in the way, and the next steps to achieving it.

For virtual mentoring (or perhaps any kind of mentoring) it doesn’t give the opportunity to get to know the mentee. That is, it doesn’t allow for building any sort of mentor/mentee relationship. The whakawhanaungatanga is missing. For some people this might not be an issue. They want to just get down to business, however for others this could be crucial in order for the mentee to feel safe to discuss issues/problems etc with the mentor.

The GROW model is very task focused and in my view not so person focused.

R-Ropraha model

Model developed by Dave Burton.




Preferred option





In my view, this model is similar to the GROW model except that it starts with whakawhanaungatanga (rapport), and then the Will from the GROW model is broken down further to create a bit more of an action plan (what resources are needed, what is the action, what help is required).

What would I use?

I prefer the GROW model over R-Ropraha just because it is simple. I would perhaps change it slightly to become W-GROW – including Whakawhanaungatanga at the beginning to help establish rapport/relationship between mentor and mentee.

Virtual mentoring

This year I have joined the team of Developing Virtual Mentors (DVMs) as a part of Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD). This is a reflection as a part of my learning during this new journey I am on.

Coming into the virtual mentoring role for the first time this year is a little nerve-wracking for me. In some ways I feel like I don’t have enough experience to mentor someone else, yet at the same time I believe my nature, skills and the experiences I have had will help enable me to develop into an effective virtual mentor.

My nature is generally quiet, reserved, introverted. This of course could be an advantage to a virtual mentor as I have often been perceived as a good listener and sounding board. I also (usually) think before I speak and so will take time to digest what has been said before responding. Of course this could also be an issue in a synchronous online space as those silences can be quite deafening sometimes and the desire to fill the void may come to the fore.

I have a lot of experience in working online, running webinars and supporting people online, so my skills in this area could be quite valuable.

The biggest barrier for me may actually be finding a quiet space. With mentees generally available after school hours, my children will be out and about the house during this time and can often make quite a noise! The other barrier of course is my confidence, but that will increase over time (and in fact has already increased during my first virtual mentoring meeting.

While slightly nervous, I’m quite excited by this new role and am looking forward to the learning that will continue along the way.