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Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person who want to get on in their lives or careers. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise. Mentors share their experience, give advice or offer solutions. They look to use their training to help their clients come to realisations about themselves and to embrace their own inner power and capability.

A mentor: Teaches the mentoree about a specific issue; Coaches the mentoree on a particular skill; Facilitates the mentoree’s growth by sharing resources and networks; Challenges the mentoree to move beyond his or her comfort zone; Creates a safe learning environment for taking risks; Focuses on the mentoree’s total development.

Mentorship takes place outside of a line manager-employee relationship, at the mutual consent of a mentor and the person being mentored. It is career-focused or focuses on professional development that may be outside a mentoree’s area of work. Relationship is personal – a mentor provides both professional and personal support. Relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by the organization. Relationship crosses job boundaries. Relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship.

Coaching characteristics are: Managers coach all of their staff as a required part of the job; Coaching takes place within the confines of a formal manager-employee relationship Focuses on developing individuals within their current jobs; Interest is functional, arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities; Relationship tends to be initiated and driven by an individual’s manager; Relationship is finite – ends as an individual transfers to another job

The main reasons why organizations need coaching and mentoring activities are as follows: To maximize knowledge transfer, To increase the skill levels, For succession planning, To maximize knowledge transfer, Coaching & Mentoring provides a learning channel that effectively transfers knowledge within the organization, Critical knowledge is maintained in the organization, Contextual learning is evident and o increase skill levels