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