In my research, I have discovered that there are different types of mentoring relationships, determined by the kind of arrangement between the two parties – the mentor and the mentored.
First of all, there is Individual vs Group mentoring. Individual mentoring refers to a one-on-one relationship where focus is on one person at a time.
Group mentoring, on the other hand, refers to situations where more than one person is being mentored at a time. This happens a lot in the education and social spheres where a special mentoring program is created to achieve certain objectives in the lives of a group of people. The program may be run by an institution such as the government, a community organization, an NGO, or a school.
There is also Formal vs Informal mentoring. Formal mentoring occurs when there is a deliberate intent to learn, grow or develop wisdom through conversation (from http://www.mentoring-works.com). It is usually more structured and organized, with each party being informed of their boundaries and expectations from the other party. In most cases the mentee is matched with a mentor according to needs, goals, expertise, experience and other factors determined in the mentoring program. Most youth mentoring programs are formal ones. Some people call it Planned mentoring.
Informal mentoring occurs without deliberate intent, as when you happen to listen to a radio program, motivational speaker, friend, or colleague at work and apply their advice or teaching. It usually happens just by chance, even without the mentor being aware. Some people call this Natural mentoring.
Mentoring can also be viewed in terms of context. There is career mentoring, commonly referred to as career coaching, which can occur at the workplace or in the context of work and career.
Mentoring for personal development is usually geared towards becoming a better person as a whole, in terms of character, attitude, and lifestyle. Life-skills training programs fall into this category.
I hope this gives you a better understanding of mentoring.
Next, we will look at the role of the mentor and the mentee.