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.
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
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.
What is peer learning?
Peer learning in the workplace is when colleagues come together to teach each other key skills and knowledge. This includes through mentoring, lunch and learns and shadowing.
It’s effective because everyone learns from the exchange. The ‘teacher’ consolidates their learning and the ‘student’ learns in a relaxed, equal environment.
What is sponsorship?
Sponsorship is similar to mentoring with one key difference. The goal of a sponsor is to use their power and influence to actively open doors for their sponsee.
This means that they will vouch for their sponsee and help them gain access to progression opportunities, wider networks and even promotion. They will also offer guidance and advice, similar to mentoring, but with a stronger emphasis placed on what the sponsor can do outside of sessions to help the sponsee develop.
What about allyship?
Allyship is when a person works in solidarity with someone else from a marginalised group in order to help take down the systems that challenge that group’s basic rights.
The purpose of an ally is that they use their position and power to create a safer workplace for everyone. An ally can be from the same or different background to the person they want to help, so long as they are committed to challenging systems and supporting those around them.