Business Mentoring Matters

Types of Mentoring Models: Self-Directed Mentoring

Posted on Thu, Aug, 15, 2013

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Part 2 of our blog post series: Types of mentoring models.

We’re firm believers that every organization can benefit from corporate mentoring. But we don’t believe that one mentoring model fits all. While some organizations will benefit from a traditional one-to-one program, others will find that self-directed works best. Still others might use a combination approach, perhaps group mentoring for one department and peer-to-peer mentoring for another. The goal is to have the people in your organization thrive and benefit from their involvement in your program, whatever the model looks like. 

We understand that choosing the right model is one of the biggest challenges facing people who are designing and implementing mentoring programs. In this blog post series, we are describing the different types of models, the pros and cons of each, and the types of organizations that we’ve seen thrive under them

Whatever model you choose, here's something to keep in mind: as businesses grow and evolve, so do their mentoring programs. What might have worked for your organization twenty years ago might not work today, at least not “as is.” The beauty of many of these models is that they can work in tandem with one another. 


What is Self-Directed Mentoring? Self-directed mentoring offers some of the features provided by one-on-one mentoring. The main difference is that mentors and mentorees are not interviewed and matched accordingly 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’s up to a mentoree to initiate the process, asking one of the volunteer mentors for assistance. 

What are the Pros of Self-Directed Mentoring? This model can work well if your organization’s corporate culture prides itself on its independent spirit and members know how to take the initiative. While it’s critical, from our perspective anyway, that someone monitors the program and that the organization agrees on the program’s main objectives, this model can also work if a program manager is not available. 

What are the Cons of Self-Directed Mentoring? This model typically enjoys only limited support within the organization and may result in mismatched mentor-mentoree pairing. 

Types of businesses that can benefit from Self-Directed Mentoring: This mentoring model can work for organizations with branches or regional offices that may be spread out and that work independently. It also works for businesses that want to offer mentoring to the larger employee population and prefer to let mentorees manage the entire selection and relationship-building process. In this model, companies are not as concerned about linking overall corporate goals with the specific goals of the mentoring program. 


For more information on which mentoring model is right for your company, check out our FREE white paper, Corporate Mentoring Models: One Size Doesn't Fit All below.

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Tags: Mentoring Resources