Mobility Mentoring® is the professional practice of partnering with participants so that over time they may acquire the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes necessary to attain and preserve their economic independence.
Key principles of Mobility Mentoring®:
Individualization: There is no “one size fits all” path to economic independence; every person brings individual strengths and needs to the journey. Thus, all services must be individualized within the Mobility Mentoring framework to best support an individual to attain success in her journey to economic self-sufficiency.
Horizontality: The path to economic independence cannot be found in any one health or human service silo; effective service delivery must “bridge” the silos. For success, an individual must achieve stability in each of the domains identified in the Bridge to Self-Sufficiency.
Time: There is no quick journey from poverty to economic independence; effective interventions must provide for continuity of support over time. Low-income women and their families must overcome many hurdles and challenges. To be successful and sustain that success requires a patient, long-term approach.
Co-investment: When a participant undertakes the journey to economic independence, effective interventions should match the participant’s level of personal investment with a similar level of program investment. An individual can only fully achieve success when they are invested in that success. A program will be most efficient in its use of resources and its ability to support its participants if it meets participants where they are, matching their effort and commitment. Programs that invest greater time and resources into participants than they are willing to invest in themselves are likely to waste valuable resources and may set participants up for failure.
Networking: No one gets to economic independence alone; personal and professional networks provide crucial support and leverage for the journey, therefore effective interventions help participants build those networks.
Mobility Mentoring embraces these principles by partnering trained professional staff with participants to support them in acquiring the resources, skills, and sustained behavior changes necessary to progress in each Bridge pillar and to attain and preserve progress toward greater economic self-sufficiency. Mobility Mentors coach participants in setting priorities, developing action plans, honoring commitments, connecting to resources, and achieving goals.
In addition to the above mentioned principles, there are four essential elements that are the backbone of all Mobility Mentoring services and must be present in any program for it to be considered a Mobility Mentoring program.
Mobility Mentoring® in Practice:
The Bridge to Self-Sufficiency® scaffolding: The layout of the Bridge serves as a brain-science informed “scaffold.” The Bridge is a framework that builds integrated, future-oriented decision-making, allows the participant to organize and achieve positive steps, and aids in the development of these skills–first as an adaptive device that supplements decision-making skill deficits and ultimately as a coaching tool for improving the participant’s executive functioning skills. The basic executive functioning skills are: working memory, impulse control, and mental flexibility; these are the primary decision-making skills necessary for the problem solving, goal setting, and goals attainment necessary to achieve and sustain economic independence. Mobility Mentoring requires use of the Bridge as both an assessment tool and a framework within which a participant can set goals and chart their path to economic mobility and independence.
Clear individualized goal setting and outcomes measurement: Mobility Mentoring uses the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals format to set goals leading towards economic mobility outcomes and collect and use data to measure both individual participant and program progress and effectiveness.
Incentives: A system of positive rewards, both tangible and intangible, supports successful goals achievement. Incentives are calibrated based on the difficulty and complexity of the goals achieved
Coaching: Using the Bridge as the program frame and engaging in a deliberate one-on-one “partnership,” coaching is a Mentor-led process designed to, over time, improve participant decision making, persistence, and resilience. Through repeated practice, this process becomes internalized and enables the participants to Mentor themselves.