The term mentoring is used to describe a partnership that occurs between two people, which gives individuals the opportunity to share their professional and interpersonal skills as well as experience.
Traditionally, the individual learning as part of the mentorship was known as the apprentice, protégé (male) or protégée (female) or mentee. The mentoring relationship is based upon support, helpful feedback, honesty, trust, respect, and an enthusiasm to learn and share.
Formal mentoring programs are becoming more popular in larger organizations since it enables the sharing of best practices and the spread of intellectual capital throughout an enterprise. Structures of these programs may include:
- Onboarding: mentoring that takes place to help new hires get acclimated to their new work environment, assignments and corporate culture.
- High Potentials: programs that allow individuals possessing leadership qualities to gain additional exposure to senior leaders as well as challenging assignments.
- Voluntary: typically sponsored by a company’s talent management organization, creates matches between those seeking to learn new skills and those willing to mentor others.