Mentoring, as defined earlier, can take on a number of forms.
Casual mentoring is what some individuals are referring to when they, for example, give public recognition to their mentor. They may be referring to someone who has served as a role model or example. The mentor may not be aware that the protégé is using their behaviours as an example to follow. Everyone engages in this type of mentoring, but it has no formal structure or defined objectives - it involves simply learning from the good habits and behaviours demonstrated by others. This is not to suggest that casual mentoring be without value, since much can be learned from others, even in passing interactions.
Informal mentoring relationships are unconscious mentoring relationships. Informal mentoring relationships grow out of a chance connection between two people, and are further built into a relationship where there is transference of skills and knowledge. There is no contract and no list of goals. The relationship may transcend from professional to personal, and may last a lifetime. These mentoring relationships are unquestionably valuable, but 'just happen' as opposed to being actively developed.
Informal mentoring can be enhanced if the participants in the relationship take the time to formally discuss and establish specific goals for the transference of certain skills and knowledge in set time periods.
Non-facilitated mentoring relationships are those with structure, such as a mentoring contract, but they have no coordinated assignment of mentor-protégé pairs. The individuals make a connection with help or direction. The individuals will have supporting material such as written guidelines or seminars, and will be cognizant of their individual and paired expectations. They will undertake a mentoring contract, and will consult their respective employers if necessary. They may have access to resource persons for help. The APEGGA mentoring program is a non-facilitated program. However, APEGGA branches are being encouraged to facilitate the matching of mentors and protégés. Non-facilitated mentoring may include multiple or group mentoring as described below.
Facilitated mentoring is "a structure and series of processes designed to create effective mentoring relationships, guide the desired behaviour change of those involved, and evaluate the results for the apprentices, the mentors, and the organization." (Beyond the Myths and Magic of Mentoring, Margot Murray) It involves an autonomous body assigning individuals together based on character, skills, need, and other criteria. Some large corporations have facilitated mentoring programs as part of their company orientation practices, or as succession management strategies. The matching process is time consuming and requires considerable human and capital resources. Other drawbacks of facilitated mentoring include the lack of choice and potential problems due to lack of flexibility.
This is relatively new idea, or renewed idea, as it was a practice hundreds of years ago under various names. Group mentoring occurs when a number of mentors serve together as a resource for a defined group of protégés with similar expectations. The mentors bring a variety of skills to the protégés, and share responsibility for the protégés' growth. The group may meet at regular intervals, and unlike a one-on-one pairing, if one or two mentors are unavailable, the protégés will still have a contact person. The protégé group also benefits from the varying backgrounds and skill sets of their peers, and may not need the mentor(s) presence at each meeting. All involved benefit from the network of colleagues which naturally ensues.
A protégé may wish to consider having a number of mentors, each of whom offers different skills and experiences. Because the relationship must benefit both parties, the protégé should not use the mentors only as skill improvement stations, but the protégé should also offer something to the mentor in return.
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