Building Motivation: Supporting Mentee Behavior Change with Motivational Interviewing


Estimated time to complete: 45 minutes



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Even when mentees set goals for positively changing their behaviors, they may be ambivalent about what change might mean to them. Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a commonly used evidence-based approach to behavior change that trains mentors to be curious and supportive, eliciting and exploring their mentees’ reasons for wanting to change certain behaviors. By asking open-ended questions and actively listening mentors can help mentees clarify their values, identify areas where they would like to grow or change, and develop a plan of action to achieve their goals. Through a series of engaging lectures, brief exercises, and example videos, learners will be introduced to the fundamental building blocks for supporting mentees’ growth.

Sample skills

  • Building rapport and listening skills
  • Recognizing change talk and sustain talk:
  • Effective questioning techniques
  • Handling ambivalence
  • Rolling with resistance


  • Rollnick, S., & Miller, W. (1995). What is Motivational Interviewing? Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 23(4), 325-334. doi:10.1017/S135246580001643X
  • Hart, M.J., McQuillin, S.D., Iachini, A. et al. Expanding School-Based Motivational Interviewing Through Delivery by Paraprofessional Providers: A Preliminary Scoping Review. School Mental Health 15, 673–691 (2023).