To anyone who wants to gain a foundation in mentoring, and managers and team leaders who want to develop or refine their mentoring skills.


Mentoring at

Successful Mentoring Program

  • Poorly-planned mentoring can be a waste of time. Mentoring relationships can fail for a number of reasons including lack of interest, poor participation, unrealistic expectations, and a failure to align mentoring with an organization's strategic objectives.


  •  Many organizations have chosen to support and protect mentoring relationships by establishing mentoring programs. These programs formalize the expectations each partner has for the relationship and ensure the interests of the organization are aligned with those of mentors and mentees. 

There are several characteristics of a successful mentoring program:

Support from Leaders

Successful mentoring initiatives require visible and consistent support from an organization's business leaders. Their support is imperative for building a culture of mentorship within the organization.

Effective Coordination

Most successful mentoring programs have someone dedicated to managing and administering the mentoring program.

This coordinator has the responsibility of ensuring the program is both relevant and flexible enough to meet the changing needs and requirements of the mentoring partners.

Trained Mentors and Matched Participants

Well organized mentoring programs encompass both mentor training and effective matching to ensure a productive and positive mentoring experience.

On-going Support

Organizations with effective programs support both mentors and mentees. 

Participants are allowed time for regular meetings and interactions, and mentoring responsibilities are acknowledged as part of the development of employees.

This support ensures the mentoring program is perceived as credible and valued by the organization, which in turn stimulates recruitment.

Effective Assessment

Assessment is an indispensable step in ensuring the continuity of a successful mentoring program. Evaluation of the program will provide important data and feedback about the successes of the program, its value to the organization, and the areas that need be developed to ensure improvement.

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Most organizations encompass mentoring relationships. These can range all the way from the traditional informal spontaneous pairings, through to highly-structured formal relationships.

There are many similarities between informal and formal mentoring relationships:

Formal mentoring

In formal mentoring, relationships are assigned, maintained, and monitored by the organization, usually through a highly-structured program. The relationship adheres to an agreed-upon and documented timeline, action plan, method of communication, and standard of behavior.

The programs are directly connected to an organization's strategic business objectives. And formal programs give organizations much greater control over results.

Informal mentoring

In informal mentoring, relationships don't necessarily have a structure beyond what the mentor and mentee agree on in terms of when to meet and what to talk about. The relationships are more "ad hoc." They change and develop, and they usually last – as long as the participants still have the time and enjoy each other's company. The organization's input may be little

more than an acknowledgment or sanction of mentoring relationships. Objectives are unspecified or arise spontaneously during the relationship and are usually confined to the mentee's personal and professional aspirations.


  • Successful mentoring programs need support from the organization's leaders, effective coordination of the program, trained mentors and well-matched participants, ongoing support, and effective assessment of the program.


  • Types and models of mentoring include one-to-one mentoring, group or team mentoring, executive mentoring, and e-mentoring.

  • Mentoring programs encompass different degrees of formality. Relationships range along a continuum from spontaneously-formed informal pairings through to highly-structured formal relationships. 

  • Each type of mentoring has its benefits. Informal mentoring can create a strong emotional bond and encourages open and honest communication. Formal mentoring ensures potential mentees aren't excluded from the program and protects the interests of the employer as a partner in the relationship.


  • The most successful programs combine elements of both formal and informal mentoring.