Mentoring can take several forms including one-to-one mentoring, group mentoring, peer learning alliances and remote mentoring. To get the most from mentoring for your business you may find that a combination of these mentoring types works best.
One-to-one mentoring consists of usually one but sometimes more than one mentee to each mentor, with each mentoring relationship existing independently.
Group mentoring or mentoring circles typically consists of a group of several individuals being mentored by one mentor, usually with the ratio of one mentor for every two to three mentees, but no individual mentor being allocated to a mentee.
Advantages of group mentoring
The advantages of group mentoring are:
- efficiency - efficient use of mentors, with a higher ratio of mentees to mentors
- relationships between individuals - the mentees in the group can build a rapport and integrate with colleagues
- feedback - the mentees can receive multiple sources of feedback
However, there are some disadvantages to group mentoring, such as:
- some people do not work well in a group environment
- there may be concerns about confidentiality
- the mentee has less or possibly no one-on-one contact with a mentor and so sometimes their individual needs aren't fully met
Group mentoring has to be more structured than one-to-one mentoring as scheduling is necessary in order to accommodate everyone.
Peer learning alliances
Peer learning alliances or peer-to-peer learning have a different structure to standard peer mentoring in that there is no mentor or mentee.
Instead, both participants have similar levels of experience within the business - preferably in different areas - and each partner guides the other.
The purpose of a peer learning alliance is to:
- share experiences and knowledge
- challenge each other's assumptions
- act as a sounding board
- expand each other's networks
- provide a different point of view
If the mentor and mentee do not work in the same location, the mentoring may have to be done over the phone, using video conferencing, via email or social networking. If the needs and aims of the individual are clearly outlined and a structure set in place remote mentoring can work as effectively as face-to-face contact between the individual and their mentor.