Business Mentoring Matters

Week 5 Management Mentors FAQ's

Posted on Fri, Sep, 23, 2011

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This is our final week of posting our most Frequently Asked Questions regarding corporate mentoring on our blog. If we have not answered your burning questions regarding mentoring, be sure to post them in the comments section below or contact us!faq 4 resized 600


FAQ: Are there different types of mentoring models in a structured program? What are they?
One of the advantages of mentoring is that it can be adapted to any organization’s culture and resources. There are several mentoring models to choose from when developing a mentoring program, including:

  • One-On-One Mentoring
    The most common mentoring model, one-on-one mentoring matches one mentor with one mentoree. Most people prefer this model because it allows both mentor and mentoree to develop a personal relationship and provides individual support for the mentoree. Availability of mentors is the only limitation.
  • Resource-Based Mentoring
    Resource-based mentoring offers some of the same features as one-on-one mentoring. The main difference is that mentors and mentorees are not interviewed and matched by a Mentoring Program Manager. Instead, mentors agree to add their names to a list of available mentors from which a mentoree can choose. It is up to the mentoree to initiate the process by asking one of the volunteer mentors for assistance. This model typically has limited support within the organization and may result in mismatched mentor-mentoree pairing.
  • Group Mentoring
    Group mentoring requires a mentor to work with 4-6 mentorees at one time. The group meets once or twice a month to discuss various topics. Combining senior and peer mentoring, the mentor and the peers help one another learn and develop appropriate skills and knowledge.

    Group mentoring is limited by the difficulty of regularly scheduling meetings for the entire group. It also lacks the personal relationship that most people prefer in mentoring. For this reason, it is often combined with the one-on-one model. For example, some organizations provide each mentoree with a specific mentor. In addition, the organization offers periodic meetings in which a senior executive meets with all of the mentors and mentorees, who then share their knowledge and expertise.
  • Training-Based Mentoring
    This model is tied directly to a training program. A mentor is assigned to a mentoree to help that person develop the specific skills being taught in the program. Training-based mentoring is limited, because it focuses on the subject at hand and doesn’t help the mentoree develop a broader skill set.
  • Executive Mentoring
    This top-down model may be the most effective way to create a mentoring culture and cultivate skills and knowledge throughout an organization. It is also an effective succession-planning tool, because it prevents the knowledge "brain drain" that would otherwise take place when senior management retires. For further information, click here.


FAQ: What does a Mentoring Program Manager do?

Coordinating the mentoring process within the organization means working with a Management Mentors consultant, as well as fellow employees, to design and implement a mentoring initiative that fits the organization’s culture.


The initiative forms the basis for ongoing mentoring. During the pilot, a Mentoring Program Manager (MPM) typically works with 20 to 30 individuals (10 to 15 pairs). The manager contacts them on a regular basis, making certain the relationships are going well and that the mentoring program is achieving its goals. The MPM offers each pair whatever resources may be needed.


The MPM also becomes the organization’s internal mentoring expert, serving as a resource for various departments and divisions that have an interest in pursuing mentoring.


The amount of time this take varies. Normally, a MPM spends one to four hours per week coordinating the project, depending on how often the mentor-mentoree pairs meet.


FAQ: How does an organization know when it’s ready to implement a formal mentoring program? 
An organization that values its employees and is committed to providing opportunities for them to remain and grow within the organization is an ideal candidate for initiating a mentoring program. Ideally, the organization has an internal structure to support a successful program. Examples include:

  • A performance management program
  • Developed competencies
  • A valued-training function
  • Diversity training
  • A succession-planning process
  • A management development program
  • Strategic business objectives

In addition, there should be individuals within the higher ranks of the organization who will champion the mentoring initiative and help make it happen. Advocates may include the organization’s president, vice presidents and other influential executives.

A Mentoring Program Manager (MPM) is also needed to coordinate the mentoring program. The MPM should be someone who is perceived as a facilitator, listener and coalition-builder – a person who is trusted. MPM is not a full-time position, so mentoring responsibilities must be balanced with the MPM’s other duties. Typically, such a person works in a Human Resources, Organizational Development, Training or Diversity Department.


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