What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is a powerful form of learning alliance between people outside the reporting line. The mentor helps the mentee with the quality of thinking about their self-development and career management; and in doing so, learns him/herself. While the mentor is usually more senior than the mentee, this is not always the case: peer mentoring and reverse mentoring, where the more junior person brings experience the more senior does not have, are increasingly common.


The mentor may take many roles: being a sounding board, helping build networks, sometimes simply being there to listen. Most mentoring around the world is relatively non-directive and learner centred; however, some forms, particularly in North America may be more hands-on and place more emphasis on the mentor using their authority on behalf of the mentee (usually called a protégé in these circumstances).


Effective developmental mentoring has remarkable positive effects on employee retention and talent management.

The core theme for both coaching and mentoring is learning dialogue – this helps individuals, teams and organisations become more effective through learning conversations.

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