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Home : Chapter Information

Formality of a Mentoring Program

The formality of a mentoring program should be based on the purpose of the program.


Formal programs are organized around the needs of the mentee.  These programs identify specific expectations, activities, projected outcomes and a set duration in which the mentoring activities will be conducted. 

  • Pros:
    • Offers a format that is easily tracked
    • Establishes formal processes and procedures that help reduce mentor-mentee uncertainty
    • Defines a target audience from which to recruit participants
    • Outlines processes for managing dysfunctional mentor-mentee relationships
    • Increases completion rates
  • Cons:
    • Requires longer commitment from participants
    • Requires specific mentor training
    • Requires more time to develop program plans, tracking methods and to establish the support structure for participants


Informal programs are also based on the purpose of the program however a looser structure enables participants to become involved and/or discontinue activities at their own convenience.

  • Pros:
    • Requires shorter time commitment
    • Requires less pre-program planning and development
    • Requires less mentor training
    • Facilitates a faster implementation
  • Cons:
    • Increases uncertainty within mentor-mentee relationship
    • Produces less measurable outcomes
    • Offers fewer alternatives to manage dysfunctional mentor-mentee relationships
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