Which mentoring style is right for you?

Dan stood with CMI mentoring banner
Dan stood with CMI mentoring bannerIn the same way that we have different learning styles, there are a number of styles of mentoring that may better suit your own experience and way of managing.
Here, CMI Southern’s Mentoring Champion Dan Carey encourages managers to consider what would work better for them in either a mentor or mentee role.


Mentoring styles can include:

  • teaching style
  • a sponsor
  • a cheerleader
  • counsellor
  • friend or buddy

When looking for a mentor I believe you need to decide which style you prefer to be at the receiving end of. As a mentor we need to be aware of our style and match the mentoring to the preferences of the mentee as best as possible.

The teaching style mentor includes the modelling of behaviour, providing information, etc., in order to better understand the what the mentee is seeking from the mentoring relationship.

The sponsoring style mentor is a little different. It is more aimed at opening doors, both mentally and practically. It could include signposting, referring the mentee to others, highlighting and promoting the mentee’s skills and abilities.

Being a cheerleader style mentor involves encouraging and inspiring the mentee to achieve more of what they can, challenging their assumptions and preconceptions, and doing all they can to help them ongoing, and hopefully continuous development.

The counsellor type mentor on the other hand takes on more of an empathic role, involves active listening, probing to discover the key issues affecting the mentees progress to date, identifying obstacles and opportunities, clarifying and advising what success means to them and how it motivates them to succeed.

As a fried or buddy, this style of mentor accepts the mentee for who and what they are and engages in a more personal, supporting relationship that supports the mentee in their personal and professional development.

As a mentor – what style of mentor are you really? – identify and build upon your style.

As a mentee, what role would you prefer in your mentoring relationship?



About the writer

Daniel Carey enjoys a career in training and developing business owners and managers in various aspects of business administration and in management knowledge transfer and best practice. He is a member of the Chartered Management Institute’s Southern Regional Board and has the responsibility for championing mentoring.