Mentoring Handbook

Providing Systemic Support for Mentees and Their Projects. A Handbook for Facilitators

To support another person in personal development is a fulfilling and ambitious task. You get to know a new person in an intense way and hear about his or her motivations and ideas. As a mentor, you also develop your knowledge and increase your networks. Mentors also develop coaching and leadership skills that are useful for their work in other contexts. On the other hand, this is challenging. You have to get involved with a new person. Sometimes you become aware of your current limitations and face new challenges. In short: Mentoring is a journey involving two people. They work together and learn from each other.

Mentoring is a relationship between two people who have different amounts of experience. The more experienced mentor supports the mentee for a certain period of time.

As such it is used essentially as a developmental process. Mentorship programs exist in many different contexts today. They take place within companies, political institutions, universities, social work, civic activism, and in schools.

The traditional meaning of mentoring is referring to influential ans skilled mentors in an institutional context, supporting a mentee on her or his way into the organisation/institution/company, or on their career paths. Such informal mentoring goes back to Ulysses and the Odyssey, where Mentor accompanied the young noble Telemachus. Today’s diverse mentoring programs organize this relation more targeted, most with the goal to help a person to learn by experience and to grow personally.


The handbook was the result of the mentoring program of Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg, which I was building up in 2008. We realized during practice as mentors, mentees and facilitators that many concepts and methods might be useful beyond our very specific context. In this sense, the handbook aims to be helpful also for mentoring programs in different institutional contexts and for different purposes.

It is breathing the spirit of empowerment, systemic coaching and the idea of creating realistic and socially embedded learning process. Until today it is one of the few guides approaching mentors as active creators of mentoring processes.

From the Table of Content

  • Mentoring: definitions and the learning theory behind it
  • Attitudes as a mentor
  • Organizing a mentorship
  • Development & Analysis
  • Performance & Intervention
  • Personalities
  • Dialogic Communication
  • Reflection