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Thinking about becoming a mentor? There are 7 types of relationships

Mentoring is a key skill of a competent leader and can bring benefits to both the mentor and mentee.  When done well, the relationship can be very rewarding as you learn from one another’s experience as you both develop and grow.

Traditionally, we think of mentoring as being a one-on-one relationship that builds over time, but there are different ways to tap into a mentoring relationship.  If you are considering becoming a mentor you should be aware that there are a number of ways to share your experience and knowledge to help guide and develop others.  The everywoman workbook, Becoming a mentor, identifies 7 types of mentoring relationships:

  1. Informal – meetings and helpful conversation that usually grow into a mentoring relationship
  2. Formal – a structured approach, often as part of a company-wide initiative
  3. Peer – Two (or more) people who mentor each other, give perspectives and insight on issues and use core skills to help build professional success
  4. Reverse – a more junior member mentors a more senior member.  This is often to give insight to a far removed area of the business, similar to ‘back to the shop floor’
  5. Group – One mentor meets with several mentees at the same time.  This is often helpful within a graduate scheme or people who have similar roles across a range of business departments or specialisms
  6. Round-tables – Peers interact in a group mentoring conversation
  7. Role model / Ambassador – Often we don’t have time to engage in individual mentoring but use conferences, events, panels to be able to impart wisdom and expertise that many would benefit from hearing.

Your experience with mentoring

To be effective as a mentor, it is a useful exercise to look back over your life – at work and at home – and think about the people who made an impact on you.  Now think about the reverse – whose lives have you made a difference to, and how?

Reflect on the experiences and consider what had a positive impact, and conversely, a negative impact.  If you are, or have been, a mentor, please share your experiences below to help other women in business who are thinking about following in your footsteps and becoming a mentor.  What advice will you give them?  What pearls of wisdom can you reveal?