Types of mentoring programmes
No two mentoring programmes are identical. Each programme must have a clearly defined purpose and design based on the organisation's current situation and development needs.
All mentoring programmes bring people together to form mutually beneficial relationships in which they can learn and grow. In the Mentor+ approach, we define mentoring as a learning partnership between two people with different levels of experience and with the potential to achieve new learning, new insight´, and personal growth - while at the same time achieving their organisational purpose.
An organisational mentoring initiative is characterized by
- A strategic purpose linked to the business agenda.
- A clear description of the potential outcome for the participants.
- A clear and structured framework for the programme and the mentor/mentee collaboration.
Mentoring initiatives can be design as
- A mentoring programme - where a number of mentor/mentee pairs participative in a process with a comon start and ending, often also including training and a number of learning events during the programme.
- A mentor network - where a number of mentors are recruited, trained and ready to be matched as relevant mentees need a mentor.
One or many
One-to-one mentoring - where a younger person is matched with a more senior and experienced person is the most common way or organizing the mentoring programme and a great way of creating close personal learning relationships that often continue after the formal ending of the mentoring programme.
Reverse mentoring - where a junior person becomes the mentor for a senior person. This is often seen when senior persons need to learn about technology from younger persons but can also be an interesting way of organizing mentoring programmes focused on diversity.
Peer mentoring - where two persons at the same level - the same place in their career - are matched to create a mutual learning process. This can be a great way to provide mentoring when there is a lack of relevant and qualified mentors. However, it can also be beneficial for building networks across organizational silos or across diversity dimensions.
Group mentoring - where one or more mentors are matched with a group of mentees, meet as a group and learn together. This method is often used when there is a lack of mentors, or when the focus is on developing team colloboration skills, developing networks and focusing on diversity.
Other design dimensions
Company-internal vs. open programmes vs. cross-mentoring
Many companies and organisations establish their own internal mentoring programmes, where mentors and mentees are matched across the organisation.
Membership organisations establish open programmes matching member with member and where the participants are coming from many different companies.
Cross-mentoring is when a number of companies come together to create a mentoring programme and match mentors and mentees across the companies.
Separate vs. integrated
A seperate mentoring programme includes a number of activities to train and support the mentor/mentee pairs in their learning journey linked to the programme purpose, for example training, kick-off, networking and learning events and closing events.
Mentoring programmes can also be integrated into other development activities. Many graduate programmes involve mentoring into programmes that also include rotation across departments, training to gain specific skills and competencies.
Looking at leadership and talent development programmes, many are designed around a mentoring programme that ensures the actual education elements are transformed into deep understanding, real competencies, and applied in daily work.
E-mentoring vs. in-person mentoring
International and global organisations are more and more turning towards fully virtual mentoring programmes where all training and learning events are virtual as well as the mentor/mentee meetings. However, if possible, we still recommend combining virtual with physical events to facilitate more networking among all the participants in a mentoring programme.