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types of mentors

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


  • 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


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


  • 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


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


  • 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