Washington University in St. Louis | OVCR
Home > Resources > PERCSS > Reference Library > Types of Mentoring Relationships Print Page

types of mentors

Understanding the value of different types of mentoring will help you identify quality mentoring opportunities.

Formal

  • Structured programs frequently match mentors and trainee
  • Formats vary by program
  • Generally focused on specific goals
  • Provides accountability based on formal contracts between mentor and trainee

Natural

  • Initiated by mentor – one person (usually senior) reaching out to another
  • Implicit – usually people with much in common

Peer

  • Individuals at the same level providing skill training
  • Individuals in similar positions (e. g., have small children) providing support, empathy, and advice
  • Individuals in similar stage of career mentoring on options and career goals

Situational

  • Mentoring for a specific purpose/skill
  • Generally short-term
  • Common at all stages of the career

Supervisory

  • Advisor as mentor and direct supervisor – “many hats”
  • Not all supervisors are comfortable also being a mentor
  • Possibility of conflict of interest

Trainee initiated

  • Begins with an interaction with a chosen mentor – it may develop into a mentoring relationship: build bridges