The different types of professional mentoring
Updated: Jul 12, 2018
Mentoring. It’s a word firmly etched into the daily vocabulary of many businesses. 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies have established mentoring programmes, while 75 percent of millennials think it’s critical to their success.
It's not solely the encouraging numbers that paint mentoring in good light - there are many benefits to dedicated programmes focused on mentoring. Having people who have “been there and done that” guiding the next generation of workers not only helps to pass the torch; it also acts as a way of sharing knowledge and building confidence.
Mentoring has become so popular over the years, simplifying the process to one person teaching another doesn't do it justice. There are many different types of mentoring, dedicated to a range of professions. With that in mind, let's look at some of the most popular ones in today's workplaces and beyond.
One on one
The best place to start is at the root with one-on-one mentoring, the most well-known method. The concept is simple enough: the mentor works directly with the mentee, helping them develop their skills professionally.
The two-way interaction increases the chances of building a stronger relationship between the mentor and the mentee. This can be more helpful than group interactions as the mentee has the full attention of their mentor.
Sometimes busy schedules can get in the way of physical meetings. In the past, this would act as a deterrent for mentoring. With technology continuously improving, however, the need to be in the room with your mentor isn't as necessary as it once was.
Virtual mentoring mainly takes place via video calling and can be done from anywhere in the world, at any time. The flexibility is helpful for those that don’t have the availability to stick face-to-face meetings in person. Yet it still provides the same benefits as being in the same room as someone.
Many companies have a dedicated programme to group mentoring. Instead of one-on-one sessions, mentors pass on their knowledge to multiple mentees in a setting that is more akin to a lecture. Some mentees prefer this method, as they can sometimes find one on one intimidating.
Participating in group mentoring also potentially increases idea generation and helps to build on company culture. Mentors often find themselves working with between four and six mentees in group mentoring situations.
Some mentees want to develop a specific skill set that will enable them to progress in a particular section of their career. This is where training-based mentoring is beneficial. Often tied directly to training programmes, the focus is on a subject rather than a range of skills.
Training is streamlined and moves away from the traditional mentoring aspects of developing on a variety of levels. Training-based mentoring often involves a needs analysis, design and development, delivery and evaluation.
While most mentoring keeps a relatively straightforward concept of one mentor teaching one or more mentees, mentoring circles takes a different approach. There is no fixed mentor for mentees. Instead, some circles promote cycling information between all involved.
The result sees mentees having the chance to become mentors in larger circles. This method isn’t as structured as one-on-one mentoring, yet it’s an effective way to encourage the sharing of ideas and build on team-based mentalities.
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Mentoring is an effective way to raise employee morale and increase skill sets across companies. It can boost staff morale, create better retention rates and have a positive impact on productivity.
With a variety of mentoring types available, sometimes it’s not easy to select the solution you think fits best. Mentorjam takes a holistic approach to mentoring with specific tracks that championing employee development, from “hire to retire”. Use one of our track templates or simply create your own track to successful mentoring.