Career Advice
October 1, 2021

What is a Peer Mentoring Program?

What is a Peer Mentoring Program?

A peer mentoring program could be described as an initiative or strategy to help the process of adjustment and adaptation in a particular role. You may have experienced this at school or at university, where a class president or a representative from your course voluntarily offers themselves to guide you and build long-lasting friendships along the way. This program is usually guided by someone who is about the same age as you and holds similar roles and responsibilities.  

This is not a comparison of which mentorship programs work better but provides another option for you if you are keen to know more about peer mentoring programs. Let’s read more!

Advantages of a Peer Mentoring Program

Advantages of a Peer Mentoring Program

1. Remove hierarchical gaps that could make it easier to build a rapport.

Having someone in the same role as you to mentor could remove the hierarchical gap between you and your mentor. The kind that makes you draw a thick bold line to behave in a more guarded and professional way with your (more) experienced mentor.

With your peer mentor, you might feel less pressured to approach and be more open to discussing certain issues. You build a better connection without having the anxious thought, “Wait, I shouldn’t do that, that’s not ‘appropriate’, or  control your behavior in a certain way.

Psst, you can find our approachable and friendly mentors here

2. Talk the language in which your mentor understands your concerns and views from a similar perspective.

Your peer mentor gets you. They understand why you are feeling in that particular manner, the type of decision-making process you decide to pursue, and your point of view.

Clear communication could make the relationship between you and your peer mentor closer. Keep it lit !

3. Positive role models that give support and inspiration to reach your goals.

The moving visual board at the workplace. If a visual board could create a sense law of attraction, what about a live-moving visual board that you communicate on a regular basis? No, this is not the fish in your aquarium, we are talking about your peer mentor.

Having a peer mentor could inject a sense of motivation and inspiration that realistically you can be as successful as your peer mentor in the near future. Exchanging ideas and tips could help you to climb the ladder quicker.

4. ‘In the same shoes ’in which your mentor understands the issues you are dealing with as they just recently have been in your shoes.

Years of experience with mentors have been in your shoes before, but things might have changed a bit over the years, and they do not quite understand your point of view.

A peer mentor could understand the obstacles that you are facing a little better. Or shall we say achieving a much more precise understanding

5. Provides a sense of responsibility & commitment to complete the mentorship program tasks.

If your mentor could do it, why can’t you? A peer mentorship program provides a  sense of responsibility and commitment that you are capable of completing the mentorship program tasks.

With the connection you have built together, it makes you feel obliged and motivated to increase your effort in making the program a success. 

Disadvantages of a Peer Mentoring Program

Disadvantages of a Peer Mentoring Program

1. Feel pressure to excel as well as your peer mentor

During the program, you might be feeling dissatisfied with the results you achieved. You start to           compare yourself with your mentor. This might trigger a tense environment between you and your mentor.

How to overcome: There are a variety of ways to scale achievement. A successful peer mentorship program does not mean that you must achieve the exact  achievements and characteristics as your peer mentor, design your milestone and be proud of it.

2. Being Egoistic by questioning the peer mentor's credibility to guide you.

There are some mentorship programs that have set you with a peer mentor within a set timeframe. Questioning the credibility of your mentor will have many  negative effects on the program. You might dismiss the tips given by your mentor, do not respect the mentor’s time and have a record of being late for appointments, and find excuses to avoid the sessions.

How to overcome: Guess what? If you decide to continue being egoistic or skeptical throughout the program, you are planning to fail (and the joke is back on you) .At the end of the program, you are the one who will show that you have zero credibility to succeed. Even if the mentor is less credible, exchanging knowledge and skills between one another will lead to shaping 2 successful individuals. Bamm!

3. A Weak structure that has no clear program direction.

It’s like walking on an empty deserted road. How to start the program? What are the types of tasks you will be executing? Why do I feel that I am not even in the program when an agreement states that I do?

The mentor's lack of experience in conducting a mentorship program may lead to a poor mentorship outcome. A weak peer mentorship program structure will create a demotivated environment for both parties to proceed with the program.

How to overcome: Set a clear direction of your goals before the session starts or before agreeing to join the program. Share with your peer mentor and get           feedback. If your peer mentor agrees and provides some structure for the program, perhaps both of you could make the program work. If your peer mentor is not interested in creating a structure, that’s a big red flag.

4. Ghosted the program due to the lack of chemistry and poor effort between you and your peer mentor.

So, who would prefer to be the ghost and disappear first? You or your peer mentor? 😆 The lack of chemistry and poor effort is a recipe for a disaster rapport. Despite being similar in terms of roles and responsibilities, we have to accept the fact that each individual is different, and before the program ends either one of you will ‘mysteriously’ disappear.  Code 404 Not Found Error.

How to overcome:
If you are able to, talk to your mentor or mentee before their sudden Adios. Discuss the issue openly, and highlight the reason the mentorship program is unsuccessful. There is a chance for you to save the program and construct a new structure or mindset.

In the future, you might bump into each other again, and if you ghosted the program, the situation might not just be awkward, but it  may affect your reputation.