Phases of Mentoring

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The model describes a typical process of mentoring. Most mentorships are embedded in a program’s framework and these programs last from a few months up to a year, in some cases even longer.


Matching is the forming of mentorship teams. Mentees and mentors come together to form trustful relationships.

In some programs, mentors select their mentees, thus increasing the feasibility that mentors find one with whom they like working. In other programs, mentees select their mentors.

But, as a study in Germany shows, in most cases mentors and mentees are selected by a third party based on specific criteria (personalities, positions, specific experience, and motivation). Therefore, having both mentors and mentees fill out mentoring profiles is very useful.

In some cases, mentors and mentees have the opportunity to meet in group workshops and then to choose how to pair up. We have successfully matched people in project management workshops in which future mentors coached their potential mentees in the process of project development.

1 Joining & Contracting

From the mentee's perspective this phase entails meeting the mentor and becoming familiar with the new situation. Here a virtual contract is signed by agreeing on expectations and goals.

2 Development & Analysis

Mentees develop their activities, or project ideas. The mentorship focuses on the analysis of demands and potentials.

3 Performance & Intervention

The "hot" phase of the mentee´s activities. Mentorship oscillates between silence, only short meetings, active support through a mentor, or his or her intervention. Typical question in this phase include:

  • How will this mentorship suit my specific needs for performance and independent action?
  • From the perspective of the mentor: To what extent are intervention and active involvement useful and needed?

4 Reflection

From high performance back to a more observational focus: In the reflection phase, mentees take stock.

  • What skills did they gain?
  • What were the outcomes – of the project, on the mentee's personality, her or his network, the environment?
  • What future perspectives did they develop?
  • And last but not least: Did the mentor and the mentee meet the goals they set in the joining & contracting phase?

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. He writes and works on the topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Coordinator of European projects, in example DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship, DARE network.

Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience.



Mentoring Handbook

Providing Systemic Support for Mentees and Their Projects

MitOst editions, Berlin 2012, Online