You may already be aware of the benefits of mentoring for learning and personal or career development, but did you know that there are many different types of mentoring that you can utilise in your organisation?
Mentoring is an established relationship for the purposes of learning and personal or career development. Formalised mentorship takes place in many organisations such as businesses, schools and universities, to support and facilitate the growth of individuals.
All types of mentoring involve bringing people together to form mutually beneficial relationships in which they can learn and grow. Organisations can utilise mentoring for a wide range of purposes, choosing different program types to achieve a variety of objectives.
It can be hard to know where to begin if you're looking to start a mentoring program. In this guide, we'll explain firstly the different uses of mentoring and then the different types of mentorship you can use to achieve them.
To start, it’s important to understand the difference between formal and informal mentoring:
For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on formal mentoring within organisations. So, let’s get stuck in.
We know that mentoring has many benefits for both the individuals involved and the organisation themselves. Problems such as employee turnover, engagement and satisfaction can all be improved through an effective mentoring program.
But as well as this, mentoring can be used for a wide range of purposes within organisations. When starting a mentoring program, it's important to define the reason behind it from the very beginning, to ensure you can track progress and success.
So there you have some of the uses of mentoring within an organisation. But there are also a number of different types or 'models' of mentorship.
We have identified 7 key types that you can implement in different ways for different projects or target groups. Some types of mentoring may be better than others for achieving certain objectives or can be combined to create a bespoke mentoring program that works for your organisation.
For example, where high-potential graduates might benefit most from 1:1 mentoring, those returning to work after maternity or paternity leave may gain more from the shared experience of group mentorship.
When you think of mentoring this is probably the type that comes to mind. It is the traditional model of mentoring, where one mentor and one mentee agree to enter a mentorship to help the mentee develop, improve and achieve their goals.
In this type of mentoring, the mentor has more experience in an area that the mentee is interested in and so can act as an advisor and guide. This could be in an area such as career direction or leadership development.
While the focus is primarily on the mentee, the mentor will also benefit as they develop leadership skills, learn from their mentee and feel a sense of satisfaction from supporting someone in their career.
An additional benefit of one-on-one mentoring is that a long-term relationship is built and nurtured over time. This can have a profound impact on confidence, mental health and other areas of personal development for both parties.
📖 Read more on How to Find a Great Mentor 📖
Similar to one-on-one mentoring, peer mentoring is when two people come together in a mentorship but both parties are from a similar job level or age range.
They may take turns acting as ‘mentor’ and ‘mentee’ or arrange sessions more fluidly. The aim is to share experiences and expertise, learn together and hold each other accountable.
Peer mentoring works well as part of a targeted program, such as for onboarding new employees or providing support to new parents returning to work. It can also give employees an opportunity to develop leadership and communication skills in an autonomous, peer-to-peer environment.
💡To find out more on Peer Mentoring read our guide here 💡
This style of mentoring involves one mentor working with several mentees in a group. The mentor will lead the sessions with the group of mentees all bringing in their own range of knowledge and experience.
Group mentoring helps to reach and impact more mentees in a shorter amount of time than traditional mentoring and is particularly useful when organisations are short on good mentors.
It is an effective way of up-skilling groups, retaining knowledge and fostering a culture of knowledge sharing in your organisation. This form of mentorship helps to improve every participant's teamwork skills too. It is an invaluable way to foster teamwork and a culture of inclusion.
💡 To find out more about Group Mentoring read more here 💡
Reverse mentoring is when a more junior person mentors a more senior person in an organisation. Essentially, traditional mentoring in reverse.
It recognises that there are skill gaps and learning opportunities on both sides of a mentoring relationship. You may utilise reverse mentoring for up-skilling senior employees on digital technology, for example, or as part of a diversity and inclusion initiative.
All one-on-one mentoring relationships have the potential to utilise reverse mentoring, as there is always plenty we can learn from one another. However, a reverse mentoring program formalises and makes this process more accessible.
🔄 Read The Complete Guide to Reverse Mentoring for more information 🔄
As the name suggests, flash mentoring refers to quick one-off mentoring sessions aimed at learning a key piece of information or skill.
Flash mentoring is useful for creating space for impactful knowledge sharing, without the pressure to develop a long-term relationship. It can be used in conjunction with other types of mentoring too, such as group mentoring to really make the most of the session and reach a larger number of employees.
It can also be a helpful way to introduce new mentors and mentees. A flash mentoring session can act as a trial for a new mentoring relationship and help individuals to broaden their networks before committing to a longer-term mentorship.
💥 Interested? Read our guide to Flash Mentoring here 💥
Much like in sports, team mentoring involves a group of mentors and a group of mentees who carry out mentoring sessions as a team. The key difference between group mentoring and team mentoring is that team mentorship often involves multiple mentors working with the group instead of just one.
You may use team mentoring for a group of mentees working on a shared goal or project. Mentees will have developmental goals that they can work on together with the guidance of a number of mentors.
This type of mentoring can help to promote diversity and inclusion as it creates a space for a number of different people with different opinions and perspectives to come together and learn from one another.
As with group mentoring, this type of mentoring is good for teamwork and eliminates any potential of favouritism or elitism that can sometimes be associated with one-to-one mentoring.
🤝 Read more on Team Mentoring here 🤝
Finally, as remote work has become and remains to be vital in our modern working lives, virtual mentoring is an important type of mentorship to offer your employees.
Many different types of mentoring can be run remotely using a variety of apps and software for virtual communication. This opens mentoring up to include people in different cities and even globally, as you can connect with people without the need to meet in person.
Offering virtual mentoring can also make your mentoring program more inclusive of employees that are unable to travel to in-person meetings or that prefer to connect virtually. It is an important part of the support you can offer remote teams too.
Just because your people are not in the office, doesn’t mean that your mentoring programs need to be put on hold. Using mentoring software, such as Guider, means mentoring can still take place and make an impact in your organisation.
💻 Read our guide Virtual Mentoring: How to Make it Work for more tips and tricks 💻
So there we have it, the 7 different types of mentoring programs that you can implement in your organisation today!
All types of mentoring are impactful and can be utilised to serve different purposes within your organisation. The key is to understand who your mentoring program is aimed at and gain insight from that group into what they want to gain from the experience.
It might take some trial and error until you find the best type of mentoring for your people and your goals. You may find that a program of several different types works best for your organisation.
Using a mentoring platform like Guider allows organisations to run multiple types of mentoring programs with ease.
Our software takes the hassle out of setting up multiple mentoring programs and already supports the likes of EY, Deloitte, The Guardian and Marks and Spencer with a range of different programs.
If you’re looking for a better way to run mentoring in your organisation or to set up new programs with ease, get in touch by booking a demo!
Or to find out more about the different types of mentoring, download our latest e-book below, which includes program templates and checklists to help you get started 👇