When it comes to mentoring styles, there is no one size fits all approach. Each and every mentor will bring a different offering to the table, so that’s why when you’re choosing your mentor you need to make sure their mentoring style suits your needs. In fact, it’s the very reason you may want more than one mentor. But as a mentor, it’s important to be self-aware of your own mentoring style – and how it pairs up with your mentee’s needs. 

Mentoring Style Guide

Here at Grasp, we’re passionate about helping you get mentoring right. Which is why we’ve developed our Mentoring Style Guide – helping to match mentors and mentees, whilst also providing a useful pathway to follow throughout the mentoring process. 


Prioritising the mentees needs

The heart of the Mentoring Style Guide is the same as the heart of any mentorship: The needs of the mentee. On the whole, mentees needs fall into four key areas: 

  • Spark: The mentee that likes to be challenged, and given a gentle nudge along their desired career trajectory.
  • Learn: This mentee wants to develop new skills, so they’ve picked their mentor based on experience and skillset. 
  • Support: Sometimes mentees look to their mentor for support, reassurance and direction. This mentee needs just that. 
  • Network: Networking is a critical component to career growth.  This mentee is looking for a stepping stone to expanding their network.

However, often mentees will not know exactly what they need – they simply know that they need some help, and often the mentor’s first task is establishing exactly what the mentee needs, and if they can cater to these needs. And this task sometimes proves challenging for mentors. But have no fear – our Mentoring Style Guide can help with this too. 

Determining mentees needs

The axis of our Mentoring Style Guide helps mentors determine specific needs of the mentee. You will need to ask open questions to your mentee to find out what motivates and drives them – which will help you identify the general direction of the mentee’s needs. The axes identify mentees needs based on:

  • Drive (which are external factors, such as their position in the organisation)
  • Foundations (personal goals, such as developing skills)
  • Development (driven by their performance and development)
  • Navigation (when the mentee feels lost in their role)

These areas will then pinpoint how the mentee needs you to support them. For example, a mentee that falls into ‘Drive’ and ‘Navigation’ may need you to advocate for them – championing their growth throughout the organisation. Similarly, if someone falls into ‘Foundations’ and ‘Development’, you may need to impart some knowledge, or teach them a new skill. 

Now think about your mentoring style…

All good mentorships start with the mentees’ needs front and centre. So it’s only once you’ve established the above, it’s time to think about you and your mentoring style. In our Mentoring Style Guide, we’ve grouped these into four key categories: 

  1. The Motivator: The motivator will use storytelling and task setting to inspire and challenge their mentee. They’re full of high energy and optimism – and they’re highly proactive when it comes to their mentorship. 
  2. The Sponsor: The Sponsor is similar to The Motivator, but is focussed on connecting and advocating for their mentee – ensuring their network expands to help their career growth. 
  3. The Anchor: The Anchor is the empathetic mentor, who is there to listen to their mentee and is oozing emotional intelligence. They’ll help their mentee thrive, not just survive, when faced with tough situations. 
  4. The Master of Craft: The Master of Craft is full of knowledge and skill and is ready to impart their learned experiences with their mentees. These people are usually short-term mentors, and help their mentees hit professional goals in a short span of time.