Chapter 4: How a mentor can support the new professional

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Section 4. Stages of concern and types of support

When working with new professionals and trying to discern their stage of concerns, consider the following table.

Stage Stuck at this stage Ready to move from this stage Strategies to address concern
0 Everything is fine.
No need for change.
I'm not interested in change.
I don't know what this change involves
  • Clarify problem change intended to solve.
  • Involve in generating possible solutions.
  • Share enough info to arouse interest.
1 I don't want to do anything differently. I want to know more about this change.
  • Give clear info about the change.
  • Show how change is similar to/different from current practice.
2 I know my current methods and routines. How does it impact me?
What is my role?
  • Validate and legitimize concerns.
  • Reinforce personal adequacy.
  • Connect with others whose concerns have diminished and who will be supportive.
3 I can't do all this.
I'm spending too much time on planning, materials, meetings, etc.
How can I fit it all in?
  • Break the change into manageable steps.
  • Address specific "how to" issues.
  • Give practical solutions to logistical problems
4 I am not convinced that this is worth it Is it worth it?
  • Arrange visits to places that use the change.
  • Provide positive feedback.
  • Arrange opportunities to dialog about benefits.
5 I have my own way of doing this. How do others do this?
  • Arrange visits to places that use the change.
  • Provide positive feedback.
  • Arrange opportunities to dialog about benefits.
6 Everything is fine, so no need to do anything differently. Is there a better way to meet the goal?
I have some ideas about what might work even better.
  • Provide encouragement.
  • Help refine their ideas

"Concerns-Based Adoption Model: Educators' Stages of Concern About Change" (created by Gene Hall and Shirley Hord and described in Taking Charge of Change , ASCD, 1987 and Implementing Change: Patterns, Principles, and Potholes , Allyn & Bacon, 2000)

When trying to decide where to give support, you might get the most return by addressing those issues where the new professional is indicating a readiness to move from one stage of concern to another.  

For example, a new professional says "Everything is fine" with regards to braile instruction and is saying, "I really am curious about Lilli Nielsen's Active Learning methods and am wondering if they would help one of my students".  

Even if you think the new professional needs help in both areas, which one do you think you can impact at that time? Did you pick the concern about active learning?  

Does this mean that you drop your concerns about Braille instruction? Not entirely, but you may use the time you help support the new professional learn and implement more active learning techniques to build a positive relationship with the new professional. Once the new professional has developed trust and you have learned more about the kinds of support that do and don't seem to have an impact, you can start to think of ways to gently raise the issue of Braille instruction.