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7 mentoring models every mentorship program should know about

Depending on what you want to accomplish with your mentoring program, there are different models or types of mentorships. These include traditional one-on-one mentorships, reverse mentoring, group mentoring, and virtual mentoring among others. Here are some of the different models you can use for your workplace mentoring program.

May 6, 2021

Popular workplace mentoring models 

Organizations of different sizes have been using mentoring as a way to overcome challenges in the workplace, such as

  • Employee engagement
  • High turnover rates
  • Loyalty
  • Succession
  • Talent development

Workplace mentoring has been proven to be an effective tool and over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorships to their employees. 

There are different models of mentoring programs and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some companies rely largely on traditional one-on-one mentorships while others employ virtual or reverse mentoring models. Other organizations may even have a combination of different mentoring programs. Yet, the goal is the same: To help your employees grow and benefit from the experience. 

Types of mentoring models

Mentoring can be one of the best experiences an employee has at your company. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your mentoring program, there are different models or types of mentorships. These include traditional one-on-one mentorships, reverse mentoring, group mentoring, and virtual mentoring among others. Here are some of the different models you can use for your workplace mentoring program. 


The most recognized form of mentoring is the one-on-one model. In this scenario, a senior employee is paired with a junior employee to offer career guidance and advice. With a traditional mentorship, participants are paired together by a program manager. Matching can be done based on different criteria that are defined by the goal of the mentoring program. Software like Together uses algorithms that simplify the mentor pairing process

The focus of the traditional model is to make the best match. These mentorships usually result in a strong connection between a mentor and mentee. Most often there is a time limit given to the mentorship. It could be between six and 12 months. Traditional mentorships are a good fit for organizations that are looking to develop employee skill sets, retention, or succession planning. 


Virtual mentoring or e-mentoring is the most common model that we see today due to the pandemic and social distancing measures. Virtual mentorships can be one-on-one or group sessions where participants meet online. It can involve e-mails, messaging, or video calls. One of the benefits of virtual mentoring is that the mentee and mentor are not limited by geography. The mentee has access to a wider group of possible mentors. 


In group mentoring, one mentor is paired with several mentees and they all meet together at the same time. These meetings often take place once or twice a month. Group mentorship sessions will cover different topics or issues and can also be a place for mentees to raise questions. It is a useful model for organizations that do not have enough mentors for one-on-one pairing. It can also be a good model for mentoring programs that focus on diversity and inclusivity goals as minority mentors may be limited.  Group mentorships have the added benefit of allowing mentees to learn from each other. Organizations can use a combination of group mentoring and one-on-one mentoring for a comprehensive employee experience. 


Sometimes a mentee may choose to have more than one mentor at the same time. This is the multiple mentoring model. The mentee will meet with each mentor individually. The advantage for the mentee is that they can learn from different perspectives. It can also cultivate a larger network of connections for a mentee. 


When a mentor and mentee are from the same level in the company, it is considered peer mentoring. Some organizations use this model for onboarding, allowing a new hire to learn from a newer employee. Peer mentoring works well on this level as younger employees have the energy and enthusiasm to help new hires find their feet. Another benefit of the peer mentoring model is that mentors are often more aware of the specific challenges that a mentee may face. Peering mentoring models work best for organizations that regularly hire college grads.  


In reverse mentorships the junior employee mentors the senior employee. These are the most advantageous when it comes to technology. Younger employees such as college grads often have the edge when it comes to new tools and best practices as they’ve gained more experience using them. Reverse mentoring programs are well-suited for organizations looking to incorporate new, advanced technologies into daily operations. It can also work well for companies who want to have a combination of mentoring models for employees to participate in. 


Speed mentoring is when a mentee meets with a mentor for a short time. In some instances, they may meet only once. This type of targeted session allows a mentee to focus only on one topic or issue. It can work well for situations where mentors and mentees don’t have a lot of time to devote to the program. However, it can be a challenge to cultivate a worthwhile experience with this model. Organizations that want to combine different mentoring models are an ideal fit for speed mentoring. 

Finding the right model

Workplace mentoring programs are as unique as the organizations that have them. There are different mentoring models that meet the needs of different businesses at different times. And sometimes the mentoring model that worked for your organization in the past is not the right one to carry you into the future. 

If you’re developing your own workplace mentoring program we’ve broken down everything you need to know in our definitive guide on starting your mentoring program. You’ll learn why mentorship programs fail, how to promote it internal and get leaders onboard, and finally, how to run an effective program. 

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Download our Whitepaper on Best Practices for Running A Mentorship Program

We draw from the first-hand experience of managers at various companies leading mentoring programs and our own expertise to outline the best practices for running a mentorship program. This white paper is a comprehensive guide to help you build a world-class mentoring program.