Why External Mentoring Isn’t the Answer to Your L&D Challenges

1 minutes

As L&D leaders, we’re always looking to put in place effective strategies for employee growth and development. The case for mentoring is well made (we made it, check out our eBook) but, more often than not, organisations ignore the latent talent in their workforce and explore external mentoring, coaching or training as a solution. 

At Guider, we know external mentoring might not always be the silver bullet to your organisation’s L&D challenges. In this post, we’ll explore why, and discuss the benefits of internal mentoring programmes and how they can be a more impactful avenue for enterprise companies seeking substantial and sustainable employee development.

Understanding the Limits of External Mentoring

External mentors bring a wealth of experience from outside your organisation. Their perspectives can be valuable, of course, providing insights that challenge internal status quos. 

However, their external viewpoint can have limitations. Firstly, external mentors will lack a deep understanding of your company’s specific context, culture, and challenges. This gap can lead to recommendations that, while theoretically sound, might not be practically applicable within your company.

What’s more, the transient nature of external mentoring relationships can prevent the deep, trusting connections that are crucial for effective mentorship. Trust and rapport, developed over time, are foundational for mentors to provide impactful guidance and for mentees to feel comfortable sharing their challenges and aspirations openly.

The Strategic Advantage of Internal Mentoring Programmes

Internal mentoring programmes, where employees are mentored by seasoned colleagues within the same organisation, offer several strategic advantages. First and foremost, internal mentors have an intimate understanding of the company’s culture, processes, and the specific challenges their mentees face. This insider perspective enables them to provide tailored guidance that directly aligns with both individual and organisational objectives.

Additionally, internal mentoring encourages a culture of learning and knowledge sharing across all levels of the organisation. It encourages the development of a supportive community where employees feel valued and invested in. This not only enhances job satisfaction and retention but also cultivates a pipeline of future leaders who are deeply embedded in your company’s ethos and values.

By unlocking the potential in your existing workforce you build sustainable, long-term development for colleagues at all levels.

Building Sustainable L&D Solutions

Internal mentoring programmes are inherently sustainable. They leverage existing resources and knowledge within the organisation, reducing the need for external investment. Over time, these programmes create a self-reinforcing culture of mentorship, as today’s mentees become tomorrow’s mentors. This cycle ensures a continuous flow of knowledge transfer and leadership development within the organisation.

Moreover, internal mentoring aligns closely with the principles of continuous professional learning, which emphasise the importance of relevance and immediate applicability. Employees learn best when they can directly see the impact of their learning in their work environment. Internal mentors, with their direct experience of the company’s challenges and opportunities, are uniquely positioned to provide this relevant, actionable guidance.


While external mentors can offer valuable insights, for truly nuanced understanding and sustainable benefits you should look to internal mentoring. By investing in the development of these programmes, you can foster a culture of continuous growth, collaboration, and leadership development. This not only addresses immediate L&D needs but also positions your organisation for long-term success.

The journey towards effective L&D strategies is multifaceted. By focusing on nurturing internal talent through mentoring, organisations can build resilient and adaptive teams ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.

The ROI of Mentoring

The ROI of Mentoring

How to measure and prove the impact of mentoring

What's next?

Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways Guider can help you supercharge your L&D with mentoring:

See how much mentoring can save your business with our ROI calculator

We've crunched the numbers from all of our customers to work out the financial value of mentorship to businesses. It might be just what you need to get executive buy-in... Click here to calculate.

Build your own mentoring programme

If you're looking to build and launch a mentoring programme in your organisation, then our guide is the best place to start. Read now.

Get a no-obligation quote for Guider's mentoring software

We get it, you want to know the price. Book a 20-minute call with our team and get a custom pricing proposal for your organisation. If it doesn't work for you, there's zero obligation to buy. Book now.

You might enjoy…

What is Peer Learning? Definition, Purpose and Benefits

More and more organisations are turning to peer learning over traditional learning and development. It offers a cost-effective solution for continuous, collaborative learning that gets results. Best of all, your people may already be doing it.

The Hot Topic: AI at Learning Technologies 2024

Your Step-by-Step Guide for Learning Technologies 2024

What is a mentor?

What is a Mentor? Definition, Purpose & More

What is a mentor? People often talk about the importance of mentoring in personal development and career contexts. In the search to find a mentor, you may find yourself looking for the definition, the purpose and discover even more.

Coaching and Mentoring: What’s the Difference?

Understand the unique contributions of coaching and mentoring to employee development. Read our blog on the Guider AI website here.

10 Benefits of Being a Mentor: Understanding Your Role and Its Importance

Guider AI