10 differences between formal and informal business mentoring

Formal mentoring and informal mentoringInformal and formal mentoring are often perceived as being the same, but they have significant differences. A failure by individuals engaged in such relationships to understand these differences can lead to disappointment and frustration. Both can benefit the organization and the individuals involved.



  1. Tied to business objectives
  2. Goals are established
  3. Results are measured
  4. Access is open to all who meet criteria
  5. Mentors and Mentorees are matched
  6. Matching is based on compatibility
  7. Mentoree Manager is involved
  8. Mentoring is time-limited
  9. Training in mentoring is provided
  10. Program Manager is a resource



  1. No direct link to business objectives.
  2. Goals are unspecified
  3. Results are not always clear
  4. Access is limited and may exclude some
  5. Mentors and Mentorees self-select
  6. Matching is based on chemistry
  7. Mentoree Manager is not involved
  8. Mentoring may last for years
  9. No training is provided
  10. No Program Manager is involved

Which is right for your company? Formal or informal business mentoring? We are not suggesting that one is right and one is not right. Business mentoring programs have different goals and criteria. It's best to understand which category yours falls into (formal or informal) before rolling it out to participants. Check out our free mentoring resources below to help you get started.


Topics: Mentoring Programs, Mentoring Program Manager