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Mentoring FAQs

July 21, 2022
Frances Campbell

If you've got questions, then we have answers! Find out the answers to the top frequently asked questions about mentoring and mentoring software below.

Two women talking across a table and smiling
What is mentoring?

Let’s start with the basics… 

What is mentoring? 

Mentoring Definition: The act or process of helping and guiding another person to support their personal development.

In short, mentoring is the act of supporting, advising and guiding another person, or people, for the purposes of personal growth. A mentor uses their knowledge and personal experience to help a mentee to develop. Find out more in our article What is a Mentor

How is mentoring used? 

Traditionally, mentoring is most associated with career development. A mentor can help you to develop in areas that lead to a promotion or help you to take that first step into management. 

However, the uses of mentoring are actually really broad. Mentorship can be used to support graduate programs, diversity & inclusion initiatives and so much more. It’s not just about getting promoted! Find out more on the uses and benefits of mentoring

Why is mentoring important? 

Mentoring is an important part of personal and professional development for both the mentee and the mentor. It’s a place where you can learn and grow, finding support from someone you can trust. 

Mentoring has a positive impact across the board in terms of career development, mental wellbeing, self-confidence and more. Read our article on the importance of mentoring to find out more. 

Are there different types of mentoring? 

Yes! There are many different types of mentoring that can be used in different ways. These include: traditional 1:1, peer-to-peer, group, reverse and flash mentoring. 

A reverse mentoring program, for example, can be a great way to educate senior leaders on the issues faced by marginalised groups. In this type of mentoring, the junior employee acts as the mentor to someone senior. 

This is just one example of how the types of mentoring can be used. We’ve put together a full guide to the different types and their uses. 

What are the benefits of mentoring? 

The benefits of mentoring are wide-ranging for both the mentor, mentee and the organisation that’s running the program. Both parties can expect to improve their self-confidence, communication and leadership skills, and are both more likely to receive a promotion. 

Organisations will benefit from greater productivity, the breaking down of inter-departmental silos and fostering a more inclusive working environment. But these are just a few examples! To find out more take a look at our guide to mentoring benefits.  

What’s the difference between mentoring and coaching? 

Although they are similar concepts, mentoring and coaching have some key differences. In mentoring, the mentee leads the sessions, not the mentor, driving their personal development by setting the agenda. Mentoring is also free and ongoing, centred around building a relationship for personal growth. 

Coaching, however, is driven by the coach, who is paid to provide learning in a particular area. Coaches are qualified and accredited by a reputable source, whereas mentors do not need to be professionally trained. You can learn more about the difference between mentoring and coaching on our blog. 

Four people putting their hands on top of one another as a team
How can we benefit from mentoring?

Next, let’s look at the questions that organisations are asking… 

How do I start a workplace mentoring program? 

Starting a mentoring program involves some careful planning. Luckily, we’ve put together this step by step guide to designing your mentoring program to help you. 

You’ll need to consider factors such as the size and ambition of your program, as well as understand what you hope to achieve through mentoring. With proper preparation you can prevent problems later down the line, so make sure you invest time in the planning stages! 

What is mentoring software? 

If you’re considering starting a mentoring program, you’ve likely come across mentoring software, such as Guider. There are different types of mentoring software but they are all designed to facilitate the organisation and management of effective mentoring programs. 

This includes matching mentors and mentees, scheduling sessions, and tracking progress. If you want to scale your mentoring program effectively, mentoring software is essential. You can learn more about mentoring software on our blog. 

How does mentoring software work? 

Here at Guider, our mentoring software works using a sophisticated matching algorithm with a 96.5% matching accuracy. Users input their information and are matched with several potential mentors, giving them the power to choose. They are then able to communicate, book meetings and find additional resources through the platform, which also provides real-time metrics to help hit your success criteria. 

To find out more about how Guider’s platform works, take a look at our guide

Do I need mentoring software? 

Mentoring software is incredibly useful if you want to; run workplace mentoring programs at scale, reduce the number of hours needed to maintain your program and provide a better user experience that gets your people on board with mentoring. 

We’ve gone into more detail on when to invest in mentoring software on our blog. 

Should we offer a workplace mentoring program? 

There are many benefits to starting a workplace mentoring program. At Guider, we firmly believe that mentoring is a must-have, not just a nice-to-have. 

When you consider the uptick in productivity, employee satisfaction and personal growth of your people, as well as the reduction in employee churn and better retention rates, the question is really why shouldn’t you start a mentoring program

Find out more on the cost of not doing mentoring

How does mentoring benefit organisations? 

A mentoring program can benefit your organisation in a number of ways. Recruitment, retention, employee engagement and company culture are the key areas to consider. Mentoring can also be used to support diversity & inclusion initiatives, as well as to develop future leaders and support employee wellbeing.

To find out more about the wide-ranging benefits of mentoring for organisations read our guide. 

Four people putting their hands together in solidarity
Are you looking to become or find a mentor?

Finally, if you’re an individual looking to become or find a mentor, you may have some questions too… 

Who can be a mentor? 

It might surprise you to know that anyone can be a mentor. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be of a certain age, experience level or position to be a good mentor. In fact, there is so much to learn from people of all ages and experience levels that it’s important to keep an open mind. 

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, why not give it a try? Becoming a peer mentor or joining a reverse mentoring program are great ways to develop your experience.  

What are the characteristics of a good mentor?

While many people can be good mentors, there are some key characteristics that they share. Including; listening skills, a strong interest in others and giving good feedback. These are all skills that you can learn and develop in order to become a great mentor and can look for in others. 

We’ve written a guide to the top characteristics of a good mentor to learn more. 

What are the objectives of mentoring? 

The ultimate objective of mentoring is personal and professional development. But, this can happen in a number of different ways such as; building confidence, knowledge sharing, developing leadership skills, or career planning. 

It’s up to you to set the goals and objectives in your mentoring relationship and come up with a plan to achieve them. If you need additional guidance, we’ve put together a handy guide to goal setting

Does mentoring help career progression? 

Absolutely. Both finding a mentor and becoming one can boost your chances of promotion. This is because mentoring is a great way to develop your communication and leadership skills, as well as work on other specific knowledge areas that you need to progress in your career. 

While this isn’t the only benefit, it’s a really common reason for people to seek out mentorship. 

What benefit do mentors receive from mentoring? 

It’s not just mentees that benefit from mentoring. The mentor will improve their leadership and communication skills, improve confidence, learn from the different perspectives of their mentee, and are more likely to receive a promotion too. There are further benefits to the mentor's mental health and wellbeing, with mentors reporting lower levels of stress and anxiety than those that don’t mentor. 

How do I find a mentor or mentee? 

Finding or becoming a mentor can be tricky, but there are good mentors out there we promise! The first place to look is within your current workplace. Is there a company mentoring program that you can join? If not, try contacting HR directly, who may be able to facilitate a match for you.

Outside of work, you can find mentors by reaching out to your network of colleagues and friends, joining industry networks or events, or looking for an external mentoring program. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people that you admire. For further guidance on how to approach mentors, we’ve put together a handy guide

Still have questions? Check out our mentoring resources or book a call with our team below! 👇

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