While spontaneous mentoring relationships can arise through chance encounters or initiatives such as a “random lunch”, mentoring programs help to target specific diversity groups. In so-called matching (allocating mentoring duos), diversity characteristics must be considered in addition to professional background and experience/level. There can be various reasons for assigning the most similar or most different person possible depending on the context.
There are two types of mentoring to choose from: internally or externally. Usually, those who are mentored benefit from the exchange with their more experienced mentors. However, mentor and mentee often do not have a direct relationship within the organization.
The first meeting may take place as part of a joint kick-off event for all mentoring teams. Afterward, sessions usually take place in an informal setting and outside working hours. At the start of the mentoring relationship, the mentoring pair agrees on the frequency of their encounters (typically every 2 to 8 weeks). The official mentoring relationship is often limited to one year but many continue beyond that as friendships.
Mentoring supports members of certain diversity groups in development processes and their career paths. Internal mentors can connect their mentees with helpful contacts within the organization. On the other hand, external mentors can advise mentees on personal and professional career-related issues and are invaluable when dealing with sensitive topics.