Mentoring is a long-term relationship between a person with tremendous baggage of experience and knowledge (mentor) who supports the development of a person with less experience or shorter period of employment (mentee). Mentoring can be both an informal relationship and a formalized program. It’s one of the most effective (focused on practice) methods of learning the aim of which is to develop a mentee’s potential and prepare them for any forthcoming challenges. In contrast with coaching, it is usually carried out within a longer time perspective – from 1 to 3 years.


What does mentor do?

Experts at a given area, field or company who play the role of an internal adviser can be mentors. It would be good if a mentor was considered an authority in their environment (i.e. cream of the crop in their company) and, first and foremost, was interested and ready to support less experienced people in raising work-related and interpersonal competencies. In a formalized process, mentors act on the basis of previously developed methods. Moreover, the scope of a mentoring relationship narrows down to professional matters and concentrates on developing a mentee’s career. A mentor is a guide who builds a relationship with a mentee on mutual respect and trust.

A mentor helps a mentee discover and develop his/her potential. Mentors inspire and encourage into action. They help a mentee to reflect on his/her action and set goals. They strengthen mentees in walking along the chosen career path.

Mentoring vs. coaching

When a coach, in contrast with a mentor, supports development of an employee, he/she works in such a way so that a coachee could independently choose his/her goals and the ways to achieve them. A coach’s task is to offer assistance while transferring general intentions into specific projects and support the client during their realization.

A mentor, on the other hand, is someone who also supports but acts in a more directive way. They give guidelines, teach and sometimes allocate tasks and assess their realization.

To sum up, mentoring is applied in order to:

  • identify and analyze a mentee’s strengths and weaknesses
  • support a mentee in challenges they undertake
  • discover and develop a mentee’s potential and internal motivation
  • develop a mentee’s business awareness
  • discover an employee’s ability to influence others
  • determine a career path and analyze threats and opportunities
  • develop interpersonal and social competencies


  • tremendous – olbrzymi
  • forthcoming – oczekujący, nadchodzący
  • to carry out – przeprowadzić
  • first and foremost – przede wszystkim
  • mutual – wzajemny
  • guidelines – wskazówki
  • to assess – oceniać
  • to undertake – podejmować się
  • awareness – świadomość
  • threat – zagrożenie

Idiom of the month:

cream of the crop


the best employees in a company

in Polish:

Najlepsi pracownicy w firmie.

Czołówka pracowników.


  • After a few years of hard work I’ve become the cream of the crop.
  • I hear they’re taking


After reading the text above which of the statements are true or false:

A coaching process usually lasts longer that a mentoring one and is more exhaustive.

A mentee should choose someone from their co-workers as their mentor.

Mentoring is a more directive process than coaching.

It is essential that a mentor should act as a guide for their mentee in the area of professional growth.

Mentoring usually lasts not less than 3 years.

In an organization mentoring can have 2 forms: formal or informal.

A mentor is a person whose experience and knowledge is much greater than that of a mentee.

Exercise – Fiona C. the HR Lady:

After reading the text above which of the statements are true or false:

Lucy would gladly take part in a mentoring course with the same people as she worked with during the coaching workshop.

Kate attended a coaching course together with Lucy.

Kate would love to be a mentor for an audit employee, but she has no time to attend the course.

Fiona thinks that a mentoring course is very expensive, that's why she invites only a few selected people to participate in it.

Kate thinks one can learn mentoring from books.

Fiona would like Kate to take part in a mentoring course.