Ellen Ensher provides a definition of mentoring as well as an overview of different forms of mentoring used by organizations today, including clarifying formal vs. informal mentoring relationships.
- What is mentoring? I define mentoring as typically a relationship between a senior person in terms of age and experience that provides career and emotional support to a junior person. Mentoring relationships can develop informally or formally. An informal relationship is one in which two individuals meet each other, either at work or even outside the organization. For example, I met one of my mentors at a conference. We were both grabbing for the last pastry.
I let her have it, and she ended up being an amazing mentor in my life. With informal relationships, you often feel that click or sense of connection right away. In contrast, in a formal mentoring relationship, the goals of the mentoring program have a lot to do with how the relationship is managed and how long it lasts. For example, many formal mentoring programs are focused on increasing diversity in management, or developing high potentials, or simply employee onboarding, but formal mentoring programs today are not just about senior people bringing junior employees up to speed.
Mentoring can take many forms, with different goals and configurations, like reverse mentoring, peers mentoring peers, group mentoring, e-mentoring, and so many more. There are so many exciting options, and I can't wait to guide you through them. So stay with me and keep learning.
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- The benefits of formal mentoring programs
- The types and purpose of mentoring programs
- Designing a framework and a needs assessment
- Creating a mentoring culture
- Ensuring organizational support
- Choosing participants
- Training essentials for mentors
- Concluding and celebrating your program
- Evaluating your program
- Making your mentoring program last