FORMAL VS INFORMAL MENTORING
But a lot of the language is about INFORMAL mentoring, more like role modeling, or a kind of “follow the leader.” With FORMAL mentoring though, a serious program has a real calendar and lasting, measurable impact. Formal mentoring programs really can help you get around the dance floor of life.
A formal program for adults within organizations begins with intense orientation for both mentors and mentees. Goals are set with the mentoring partners in agreement. A structure is put in place. A process is visible, conscious and ongoing. It has structure without strangulation. Alignment between the organization, its stakeholders and the ones being mentored is sought, while the strengths and gifts of the mentees are encouraged and expanded.
Often, mentees are asked to reach BEYOND their comfort levels. There is actually a kind of contract between the mentor and mentee pairs, that supports regular meetings and makes space for growth and development. The benefits of a formal mentoring program can actually be measured and observed.
Formal mentoring moves people from “having a model” to “becoming a model” in working to develop others!