What Is The Difference Between Mentor Programs And Professional Development?

Everyone is different, and so are their dreams and goals. Some people shoot for the stars, while others want to be competent and comfortable – and nothing more. If you are a business owner, you will want to have a clear understanding of where each of your staff members is on this spectrum to provide them with what they need to do the best job possible. As an individual, knowing yourself and where you want to go is a crucial part of getting there. There are many ways to support career growth, and once those goals are established, it is time to choose which method to use: a mentor program or professional development? Let’s talk about both to determine the differences. 

What Is A Mentor Program?

  • Mentoring is a collaborative and reciprocal voluntary relationship that often occurs between a senior and junior employee for the mentee’s growth, learning, and career development. 
  • Often, the mentor and mentee are part of the same organization, emphasizing goals, organizational culture, career goals, advice on professional development, and work-life balance; this is not always the case. Influential mentors often act as sounding boards and role models for their mentees.
  • Mentoring can either be formal or informal. In an informal environment, the mentee sets the goals, and often these will be unstructured and not measurable. In a formal mentoring relationship, there are actionable and defined measurable goals with determining requirements.
  • A mentor program will be very interpersonal and much more intensive than sitting in a classroom or listening to a lecture. 

What Is Professional Development?

  • Professional development refers to the continued training and education of an individual regarding their career. Professional development aims to keep the person up-to-date on current trends and help them develop new skills for competency and advancement in their field.
  • Some professions require professional development to renew certification or licensure and ensure employees are up to standard. However, employees can often pursue professional development on their own through programs offered by educational institutions, professional organizations, or employers.
  • Professional development aims to allow professionals to learn and apply new knowledge and skills to help them excel at their jobs and further their careers. 
  • By having opportunities to learn, increase your skill sets, and stay up-to-date on industry trends, professionals increase their worth and add to the organization’s overall value. Professional development opportunities include: 
  • Attending professional conferences
  • Participating in workshops
  • Completing CE/CPE – education courses to hone knowledge and update the employee on their industry
  • Taking advantage of microlearning – an effective learning method especially useful for busy professionals, consisting of brief learning units that give focused bursts of content
  • Shadowing a colleague
  • Reading educational books and materials

Whatever your goals may be, Maistro Mentor is here to help you meet – and even exceed – them! Through our proven match system, we can help you find and create the perfect mentorship experience with qualified interns. Contact us today to learn more!

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