What Is Mentoring?
Louise Soutar in mentoring best practice
1st August 2022 -  2 mins read
Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@next_academy" target="_blank">NEXT Academy</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com" target="_blank">Unsplash</a>

What is mentoring? Now there’s a big question.

There are many definitions of mentoring, but no single authoritative definition. Depending on context you many want to define it differently, but here at SUMAC® we base our work on the following definition:

"Mentoring is a time-limited developmental partnership, in which the mentee self-identifies the need or desire to work on one or more developmental goals, and where the mentor is usually someone with the right experience and background to work with the mentee to address these goals. The process is a collaborative one, based on trust and confidentiality, where both parties take on the ownership and responsibility for the success of the partnership"

However, the really important thing is that YOU are clear about your definition and that this is communicated to all your stakeholders – your programme team, your sponsors, your scheme members (the mentors and mentees) - so that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the nature and purpose of your programme, and of the principles on which it is based.

Why set up an organisational mentoring scheme?

If you get it right, a mentoring relationship can bring great benefits to everyone – the mentor, the mentee and the organisation.

As a process to support learning and development it has the potential for far more and longer lasting impact than traditional training alone.

Our own experience has shown that even years after the end of mentoring partnerships, mentees can point to specific long-term benefits. Sometimes these are 'intangibles' such as greater clarity about career planning and aspirations, or greater confidence. Often there are more concrete outcomes which have been identified, such as changing career, getting a new job or succeeding in some activity or enterprise.

As with many things, it can be difficult to be absolutely sure about the cause and effect, but in our work, mentees themselves have attributed many different positive outcomes - at least in part - to their mentoring experience.

However, one thing is clear – running a mentoring or coaching scheme can quickly become complex and time-consuming for the organiser, which in turn can impact your goals. This is where mentoring software such as SUMAC® can really help to make the process quicker and easier for you, your organisation and your members. 

As mentoring practitioners ourselves, we’ve been there. Our platform is not just a replacement for your spreadsheets, we really know and understand mentoring and coaching practice, experience gained through 30 years of running schemes in large and complex organisations. Why not get in touch with us to talk about the type of mentoring or coaching scheme you would like to run and how we can help?