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Just as there are types of mentoring to address career goals, there are different approaches to mentoring that can be used individually or combined to meet mentee-mentor interests in pursuing one-to-one or group-based experiences, the demands of time, and individual and organizational outcomes.

  Traditional Network Group Minute Circle Invisible Reverse
Mentor individual group one or two individuals individual/many group individual/non-interactive individual
Role of Mentor(s) expert passing on knowledge to an individual co-learners sharing knowledge expert(s) passing on knowledge to a group expert passing on knowledge co-learners sharing knowledge observed at a distance new staff and/or from different generation passing on knowledge
Relationship(s) hierarchical; 
inside organization
hierarchical and peer; 
inside/outside organization
hierarchical; inside organization hierarchical and peer; inside/outside organization circle of peers mentor is subject of intense research mentor and mentee convey information regarding generational similarities and differences
Time commitment long-term variable long-term minutes medium/long-term variable long-term
Individual outcomes enhanced performance;
career accomplishments;
career satisfaction;
career advancement
enhanced performance;
social skills;
leadership capability
enhanced performance; career accomplishments; career advancement enhanced performance; social skills enhanced performance; career advancement; social skills; self-awareness enhanced performance; learning mutual learning and understanding;
career advice;
career advancement
Organizational outcomes enhanced performance;
enhanced performance;
organizational learning;
leadership capacity
enhanced performance; retention; junior staff benefit from senior staff knowledge enhanced performance; leadership capacity enhanced performance; collaboration; learning; leadership capacity enhanced performance;
understanding of multi-generational issues

Basic attributes of the "network" style:

  • a small group of people to whom you turn for mentoring
  • incorporation of individuals outside your own organization
  • based on a high degree of mutual learning and trust

Basic attributes of the "group" style:

  • one or two mentors provide mentoring to a group of employees
  • enables an organization to provide mentoring to more mentees than one-on-one matching programs
  • typically work with a group of mentees that have something in common, e.g., new middle managers, or wish to pursue a common need, e.g., those interested in advancing a career in management

Basic attributes of the "minute mentoring" style:

  • based on the concept of speed-dating
  • saves time
  • many people meet one-on-one at an event for a few minutes at a time
  • meet many different people in a short amount of time
  • convey knowledge and "pearls" of wisdom

Basic attributes of the "mentoring circle" style:

  • peer mentoring support network for friends and/or colleagues
  • relationships are reciprocal in nature
  • members of the circle support each others' professional and personal growth

Basic attributes of the "invisible" style:

  • invisible mentors are leaders from who you can learn by observing from a distance
  • learning is through extensive research into the mentor's life, including what has been  written about him/her, speeches/presentations, etc.

Basic attributes of the "reverse" style:

  • senior staff are paired with new employees, most often from a different generation
  • senior staff gains new perspective about the future generation
  • junior staff gains career advice and opportunity to interact with senior staff