Definitions of Mentoring

In the majority of traditional definitions of mentoring, the concept is that of a continuing process which involves the establishment of solid interpersonal relations between an older, more experienced, and competent expert in a specific field (known as the mentor) and a younger, less knowledgeable individual (the mentee). The paramount goal of the entire relationship is to encourage and support the personal and professional development of the mentored individual, utilising a diversified set of tools such as knowledge transfer, personal guidance, coaching, and constant feedback. [1]

A very creative and thoughtful definition of the mentoring process is provided by Gehrke[2], who explains the concept through the prism of a gift-giving process. Mentoring is seen as a process that involves several stages and is directed towards the enrichment of the mentee’s knowledge and capabilities and the expansion of their mindset. The creation of the gift is perceived as a rigorous and carefully planned process which involves a transformational element for the mentee and acts as a paradigm-shifter for the overall development and life vision of the individual being mentored. The rationale behind this course of action is said to go through several important phases, including the mindful creation of the gift, followed by the transformational stage of wisdom transfer, known as “the awakening phase”, and finally the stage of beneficial alteration in the mindset of the mentee, which results in an unwavering desire to “pass the gift” of knowledge to others.

Mentoring is a complex process which is not restricted to professional development and behaviour in the organisational setting, but is rather oriented towards merging personal growth and advancement with work performance. What is more, the process of mentoring has proven to be beneficial in various fields, including the academic, business, and community fields. Regardless of the physical setting, mentoring is seen as an essential contributor to enhanced academic and professional achievements and a vital promoter of sustainable self-identity and positive self-image.

The essence of mentoring has been distilled through the many definitions and descriptions of mentoring activities in the following graph:

Types of Mentoring

In the last several decades, the concept and practices of mentoring have expanded their scope to include a greater range of functions and to provide additional benefits to the professional and personal development of individuals. As a result of the digitalisation and increased socialisation of modern people, certain novel types of mentoring have been introduced along the traditional models.

When registering for the Euromentor platform, you can and will experience all types of mentoring at various stages and to different extents:

  • situational – based on mentors’ fields of expertise and mentoring, as well as the problems you are facing;
  • peer – through the communication channels of the platform you can connect to other potential and realised social entrepreneurs and exchange ideas, experiences, and everything else you find necessary between each other;
  • formal – structured in the form of mentoring courses;
  • informal – which can develop naturally over time in the platform;
  • group – through forum settings (link to Reddit)
  • reverse – the mentors will probably notice this as an informal process of exchanging ideas, knowledge, and practices;
  • and of course, as a frame for it all, e-mentoring is the basis of the project!

Find the best suit for you and enjoy the benefits of mentoring, described in detail in the Impact tab!


This information is based on the research from the book “Mentoring – Process, Guidelines and Programs” by Assoc. Prof. Daniela Ilieva-Koleva, published in 2015.

[1] Мullen, E. (1994) Framing the Mentoring Relationship as an Information Exchange, Human Resource Management Review

[2] Gehrke, N. (2001) Toward a Definition of Mentoring, Theory into Practice

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Erasmus + programme under Grant Agreement No 2016-2-RO01-KA205-024839.
This communication platform reflects the views only of the author and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.