Types of Mentoring and Coaching: What You Need to Know

Mentoring and coaching are two of the most important tools for professional development. They provide guidance, support, and advice to help individuals reach their goals. But what are the different types of mentoring and coaching? In this article, we'll explore the three main types of mentoring and coaching: traditional one-on-one mentoring, peer-to-peer mentoring, and identity-based mentoring. We'll also discuss the benefits of each type and how companies can use them to create a more inclusive workplace.

Traditional One-on-One Mentoring

Traditional one-on-one mentoring is a relationship between a mentor and a mentee.

The mentor provides guidance, advice, and support to the mentee. This type of mentoring is often structured through a program or arranged on an individual basis. A coach-style mentor is a good listener who can identify potential challenges for the trainee and point out their strengths.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

Peer-to-peer mentoring is when colleagues provide advice, guidance, training, and support to each other in similar professional situations. This type of mentoring can include both individual and group sessions.

It's a great way to create a formal support system and hold colleagues accountable for their professional goals.

Identity-Based Mentoring

Identity-based mentoring has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies recognize that their employees from diverse backgrounds may not feel their needs are being met in traditional structures. This type of mentoring focuses on providing support to underrepresented groups and creating equitable opportunities for professional development.

Formal vs. Informal Mentoring

Formal mentoring is effective when companies want to follow a fixed format with established objectives. On the other hand, informal mentoring is better suited for situations where results are not measured.

Both formal and informal mentoring programs are scalable, so they can be replicated across the company or multiple offices.

The Benefits of Mentoring

Research shows that organizations with ethnic and gender diversity are 35% and 15% more likely to achieve higher than average financial returns respectively. Companies like Best Buy have seen success with their in-house mentoring programs, which have helped 87% of minorities and underrepresented women improve the quality of their work.Mentoring programs are especially important for women and people from underrepresented groups. According to a study by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, 30% of women said that their mentoring relationship was extremely important compared to 23% of men. Similarly, 32% of minorities considered it extremely important compared to 27% of the general sample.

Match Surveys

A match survey can help ease the burden of making matches manually while also removing significant biases from the process.

It's also important to consider an apprentice's goals when making matches. Professional mentoring is the most common type of program we see in the workplace; it typically lasts 6 to 12 months.

Diversity Mentoring

Diversity mentoring has grown in popularity among companies that want to attract and retain top talent while becoming a preferred employer. This model brings together mentors and apprentices in one-on-one sessions aimed at involving and developing specific subgroups of employees; it typically lasts 6 to 12 months.

Mentoring Circles

Cultivating an inclusive work culture encourages innovation and creativity that have an impact on the final results. Not only does diversity mentoring help organizations develop and retain diverse talent, but it also helps build a strong community of diverse talent for future needs.Mentoring circles help employees find like-minded colleagues at work, fostering a sense of belonging.

Many organizations have created circles for specific employee groups such as integrating veterans, promoting women in STEM, retaining LGBTQ employees, etc. To be successful in this area, companies must adopt intentional policies, and mentoring is a crucial part of that.


Whether through one-on-one meetings, learning circles or other methods, mentors can provide invaluable guidance to help individuals reach their goals. Companies should consider implementing different types of mentoring programs to create an inclusive workplace that attracts top talent.

Madeline Talkington
Madeline Talkington

Amateur zombie guru. Amateur creator. Amateur zombie geek. Hipster-friendly internet advocate. Proud explorer. Proud food lover.

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