The Four Types of Mentors

Matching hats and outfits not required

Our People Coaching team believes that no one mentor size fits all.   We all need different types of mentors to help us through our careers.    We’ve divided our mentors into four categories:

1. A Sounding Board :  This is someone at a similar level to you in a different department. This type of mentor can help keep groups from becoming too siloed.

2. A Coach:   Sometimes a mentor is present to help you get past something holding you back, maybe it’s your presentation skills, organization, meeting facilitation. A coach will get you focused.

3. A Sponsor:   This is typically a senior level mentor to help get you into your next role.   They are there to advocate for you among the senior leadership team.

4. A Guide:   This is for a high performer who is very focused on their current role and might need some understanding about what’s next in their career.   A guide is typically someone more tenured who can give some ideas about new opportunities.

When our team meets to talk about mentoring, we often ask ourselves one question to guide us in the type of mentor a Fool might need:

Is this Fool achieving all they can right now?

And we have 3 categories of answers:

A:  Yes, they are on the right path.  (We pair them with a sounding board to broaden horizons)

B:  No, they are holding themselves back. (We pair them with a coach)

C:  No, and we need to provide them with a better opportunity to shine. (We pair them with a sponsor or guide) What other types of mentors have you had in your career?

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