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The aims of a mentoring programme includes:

  • Assisting performance management.

  • Preparing and supporting people through change.

  • Supporting self-directed learning and development

It is important also to recognise what mentoring is not:

  • Mentoring is not counselling, because there is an assumption that the mentees involved in mentoring are well enough to engage in it on the above terms. If a mentee has sufficient emotional difficulties they will either need a trained counsellor to provide them with support in addition to a highly trained mentor, or will simply need counselling. 

  • Mentoring isn't coaching either. Mentors do offer some of their life experiences and knowledge to help mentees, but still try not to be directive or to take too much control of the relationship. Coaching typically requires minimal and highly controlled sharing of experience and knowledge. 


It is important to recognise, however, that the skills involved in mentoring, coaching and counselling have a huge overlap, of which empathy, listening and asking questions are key.

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