What is Mentoring?

Today,mentoring is a process in which an experienced individual helps another person develop his or her goals and skills through a series of time-limited, confidential, one-on-one conversations and other learning activities. Mentors also draw benefits from the mentoring relationship. As a mentor, you will have the opportunity to share your wisdom and experiences, evolve your own thinking, develop a new relationship, and deepen your skills as a mentor.

How Do I Become a Mentor?

There are many kinds of mentoring relationships, ranging from informal to formal. An informal mentoring relationship usually occurs in a spontaneous format. (Think of times you have been helped by someone more experienced than you without explicitly asking to be mentored.) Informal mentoring may also occur within the context of other relationships such as a supervisory relationship or even peer relationships. A formal mentoring relationship is characterized by its intentionality – the partners in the relationship ask for or offer the mentoring, establish goals for the relationship and make agreements about its nature. There are also mentoring programs that facilitate formal mentoring relationships. A “facilitated” mentoring relationship has been defined as “…a structure and series of processes designed to create effective mentoring relationships; guide the desired behavior change for those involved; and evaluate the results for the protégés, thementors and the organization.”1 Thesementoring relationships occur within a structured and defined framework and involve a third party. Often these programs have a specific goal such as helping participants develop their careers.

Mentoring relationships can occur at all professional levels. The key feature of a mentoring relationship is that a more experienced individual helps another achieve his or her goals and develop as a person. The mentor may help the protégé (the person being mentored) develop specific job skills or leadership capacities. The mentor may work in the same organization, have experience in the protégé’s organizational context, or have experience in the same field.


If you have been approached to be a mentor, or would like to offer to be someone’smentor, reflect on these questions prior to committing to the relationship:
• What experiences and learning can I bring to the mentoring relationship?
• What are my own expectations for the relationship?
• Are there any obstacles that could impede the relationship’s development?


Lets Get Started

You have made a wonderful and very important decision in choosing to become a mentor. If you’ve reached this conclusion, you’ve done enough research to have an idea how different each mentoring situation can be. Before you begin, think about and identify your own interests and needs. Finding a mentoring program you’re excited about and comfortable with can require some time and thought, but the good news is that we have something for everyone. To help you decide if mentoring is what want, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What time commitment can I make?
  • What age of youth would I like to work with?
  • Would I like to work with one child or with a group of children?
  • Would I like to team with other adults to mentor a child or a group of children?
  • What types of activities interest me? Do I want to help a youth learn a specific skill, pursue an interest, help with schoolwork, or just be a caring adult friend?
  • What mentoring location would I prefer?

While thinking about these questions, remember that, mentoring provides students with supportive relationships fron nonparental adults to address their academic and nonacademic needs. If you are interested in becoming a HRAP mentor, please complete the form below. Thanks from all of us here at HRAP, Inc. 

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