Mentoring in mainland Europe and the Republic of Ireland

by John Walton

Commissioned by Herts TEC, December 1998, copyright Herts TEC

1) Introduction

The author of this research was requested to undertake a literature and internet review on behalf of Herts TEC, reinforced if deemed appropriate by field trips, in order to identify and describe features of practical mentoring schemes in Western Europe outside the UK. The commissioning agent expressed particular interest in seeking out references to schemes in the voluntary sector because of the innovative work done in this area by Herts TEC (see Langridge 1998)

The request was for introductory and exploratory research into the subject that might support subsequent collaborative transnational projects to build upon the work undertaken in this field in the UK by Herts TEC.

This is an interim report on the subject. A number of mentoring schemes identified are in the start up phase and further details are awaited on them. Other contacts in a number of European countries that have been generated as a result of the research request have not yet reported back. Nevertheless it is felt that the findings represent a fairly accurate picture of the current state of play.

II) Methodology

The primary approach adopted has been to engage in a literature and internet search (including Mentorsforum, the web site set up by Herts TEC) for reported accounts in English of mentoring practice and supporting theory in mainland Western Europe and the Republic of Ireland. References discovered have then been subjected to a secondary analysis in order to establish themes and patterns and to develop tentative explanatory hypotheses in respect of similarities and differences encountered. In the absence of literature sources for certain countries, contacts in the field have been drawn upon to check whether there are significant examples of practice that have not been reported. The purpose was to

  1. Identify the extent of mentoring in the targeted domain
  2. To establish evidence of similarities and differences in approach between countries
  3. To determine whether examples of practice in various countries are `home grown' or `imported'.
  4. To identify instances of innovative practice that might be imported into the UK
  5. To identify any instances of mentoring practice in small and medium sized enterprises and in particular voluntary organisations.

So far no scheme has been discovered outside of the UK within the SME/voluntary sector that is sufficiently developed to justify a specific field visit.

III The voluntary sector

Interest in `learning and development' within the voluntary sector across the European Union is likely to increase following the publication in 1998 by the European Commission of a White Paper on `Promoting the Role of Voluntary Organisations and Foundations in Europe'. Its stated aim `is to illustrate the growing importance of the sector within the European Union, to show what problems and challenges these organisations are facing and to open up a dialogue on the basis of a set of ideas, in order to favour their development at European and national level, to improve their capacity to meet future needs and maximise their contribution to European integration'. The paper goes on to say that voluntary organisations `not only play an important part in democracy today but also are seen as a major source of new employment in areas which are under great pressure'. It makes the point that they have grown dramatically in the last twenty years in the European Union with some 45% of organisations being created after 1981.

IV Previous research work on the subject

Although much has been written on mentoring in recent years there is an absence of any systematic study of mentoring practices across the European Union in general and for the voluntary sector in particular.

The European Mentoring Centre produced a bibliography on mentoring in September 1996. In the main this is a simple listing of sources in alphabetical order with some supportive commentary. The greater majority of texts listed are from the US or the UK. Although there are some useful references to mainland European practice this is not singled out for particular attention and there is no mention of the voluntary sector (European Mentoring Centre 1996).

Langridge (op cit) in a general trawl for sources on mentoring, and with a specific interest in the voluntary sector, additionally carried out a search of the Internet using the search engines: Altavista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Yahoo, Webcrawler, Research Archive, Hotbot, AOL, and Looksmart. He found a `total lack of reference in any of the web sites or related literature to any scheme whereby keyworkers in the voluntary sector are themselves mentored'.

Barham and Conway (1998) from the Ashridge Management Centre refer to a questionnaire on mentoring that they sent in 1997 to the top 200 European companies, including those from the UK. Of the 36 companies which responded only 14 said that they already used mentoring, and of these only 6 were from outside the UK. Two were from Sweden, two from the Netherlands and one firm each from Finland and Switzerland. All of the schemes were of relatively recent (post 1994) origin.

V Themes emerging from the literature

  • Mentoring and women

Langridge (1998), without specifically referring to European practice outside the UK, makes the general point from his literature trawl that there are an increasing number of `women's' schemes, based on North American ideology and looking to develop individual skills and self esteem. Inter alia he contends that the weakness of these programmes is that they measure success in terms of women mentees developing the confidence and skills to occupy previously male held positions of power. It is a matter of opinion whether or not this is a weakness. Nevertheless, schemes for women are a recurrent theme in the European mentoring literature.

For example, Patton (1991) details the findings of an internal working party, the `Women in BP Focus Group', on the potential for using mentoring as a vehicle for enhancing the careers of women in BP Oil Europe. The connection is made to issues around sex discrimination that women face in terms of career development, and how mentoring may help to overcome them.

A number of subsequent case studies on mentoring for women have been reported as a result of seminars held by the EWMD (European Women's Management Development Network) (Antal 1993 p449).

Additionally a number of schemes reported via the `Mentorsforum' web site have focussed on women, and in some instances have been the only references discovered for the country in question.

  • Cultural differences in Mentoring

Barham and Conway (1998) emphasise national cultural differences - hidden and often unconscious assumptions - that might be expected to affect mentoring across Europe. Influenced by Hofstede (1991), Laurent (1981,1983) and Trompenaars (1993,1994) they list as key factors

Change  Low versus high uncertainty avoidance 
Power  High versus low centralisation 
Communication flow  Acceptability outside the hierarchy 
Group  Versus individual 
Status  Who you are versus what you do 
Achievement  Versus nurturing 
Leadership  Manager as expert versus facilitator 
Communication context  High level of interaction versus low 
Involvement  High versus low 

They state: `The way these iceberg factors operate in different cultures can affect a number of aspects of mentoring: the expectations and role of the mentor, mentoree, and line manager: the nature of the mentoring agreement; and the participants' feedback style and attitudes to confidentiality.'

  • Uncertainty Avoidance and Power Distance

The first two items on the Barham and Conway (op cit) list equate to Hofstede's criteria of `uncertainty avoidance' and `power distance'. Uncertainty avoidance relates to the extent to which human beings try to control their environment through predictable ways of working. Hofstede defines power distance as `the extent to which members of a society accept that power in institutions and organisations is distributed unequally'.

Hofstede was able to identify a number of discrete national clusters based on a comparison of attitudes to power distance and uncertainty avoidance. The countries in Western Europe that have taken to mentoring seem to be those that demonstrate `small power distance' and `weak uncertainty avoidance' on the Hofstede dimensions (see Hofstede (1991).

In Europe: Sweden; the UK; the Republic of Ireland; Norway; and the Netherlands fit this cluster.

Those that have not taken so readily to mentoring demonstrate `high power distance' and `strong uncertainty avoidance' on the Hofstede dimensions. The European Mediterranean countries such as France, Italy and Spain fit this cluster.

Cultural aspects should not be considered purely in terms of national differences. Antal (1993) quotes a case study on mentoring for the municipal authorities of the City of Stockholm. The first time the programme was run the training consultant `tried to mix people from different cultures: she tried matching a mentor from a `hard' department with one from a `softer' area in the administration, but found that the cultures of the departments were so different that the people could not understand each other's problems'.

  • Coaching v counselling

A number of sources have commented on the Janus faced nature of mentoring, and how it `partakes of both counselling and coaching but is neither; i.e. it has boundaries' (Langridge op cit). Langridge goes on to make the point that mentoring can move between being career focused with the use of some coaching tools to being psychosocial oriented with the use of some counselling tools. This perception requires a sophisticated understanding of mentoring and may however be culture specific.

As we have seen Barham and Conway (op cit), following Laurent differentiate between cultures wherein the manager is seen as expert as opposed to those in which the manager may be seen more as a facilitator. They go on to contend that where there is a high expert orientation, then mentoring may be much more like coaching and that the role may be seen as imparting expert knowledge. In turn the mentorees could become passive in their expectations of the mentor, who they see as imparting wisdom. Laurent contends that European countries such as Germany, France and Italy have a high manager-as-expert orientation.

They suggest that in cultures where the manager is seen more as a facilitator the mentors will give greater legitimacy to learning and development, and the mentees will seek sharing of information and counselling. Following Langridge, we might also expect greater comfort with the psychosocial connotations of the role. Laurent contends that Sweden and the Netherlands have a relatively low manager-as-expert orientation.

  • External v internal mentoring

Although little is made of this in the literature, in small organisations in particular, one would expect recourse to be made to external as opposed to internal mentors. One of the distinctive features of the Harvest Mentoring Scheme was the use of external mentors and the care taken to match them to mentorees (Langridge op cit).

A number of examples have emerged in this review of the use of external mentors - for both large and smaller organisations. Motives have varied. In the Italian case study it is a function of organisational size. For Svenske Nestle, where retired business people are drawn upon, it is part of a process of providing a credible approach to employees aged 45+ who are beginning to think beyond their organisational career needs.

  • Mentoring for career development v mentoring for personal development

Much of the impetus for mentoring has been associated with career development but there has been a consistent strand emphasising issues of personal development. For example the Dutch writers Jelsma and Le Clerq (1994), drawing upon the work of Bateson, describe six levels of personal development and connect them with learning problems that a mentoree might experience. They suggest that in recognising these levels a mentor can support the mentee more effectively. The following case studies demonstrate some examples in practice in Europe of a personal development orientation, mainly from Sweden.

  • Expatriates and overseas assignments

Another theme emerging from the literature has been the felt need to provide mentoring support for individuals during a period of overseas placement. Examples have been discovered across the national spectrum and this issue has clearly been a significant trigger for a number of formal mentoring schemes.

III) Case studies

1. Examples from North Europe

By far the greatest number of reported case studies from mainland Europe emanate from Sweden.

Svenska Nestle - situated in the South of Sweden with a staff of approximately 2300. Mentoring was initiated in the early 1980s when each junior member of staff was assigned an older and more experienced person who could be consulted and used as a discussion partner.

The process has now been extended for staff of age 45 and over to give this group a chance to stop for a minute, think and reflect upon their work and private lives. The project is designed to help those older employees to be motivated and committed to their work, to give them a new spirit and to widen their capacity.

It operates in three stages as demonstrated in the original pilot.

In stage 1 a group of about 20 executives had the opportunity to reflect upon their situation in life regarding family, future and work.

In stage 2 each was allotted a mentor whom they did not know previously.

External mentors were chosen, all with a genuine knowledge based on experience, common sense, a natural authority and status. All were retired business people aged around 70.

Stage 3 was a 3-day seminar for the group. It addressed non-material values, human values, internationalisation, stress and leadership, all in order to enable the participants to build a clear picture of themselves in this changeable world.

The aim was for participants to learn that there exists an inexhaustible source of power, energy and joy; that life prolongs as long as one lives, and that it is never too late to make an effort to achieve the things one really wants; regeneration and change is a good thing, an opportunity rather than a threat.

Individual development plans were then produced for the mentorees covering work, family and life in general.

Comments made by mentors included:

'One must have experienced a lot, met many situations, been curious and willing to broaden one's own knowledge. Furthermore some must be interested in one's fellow beings.'

'If everybody had an experienced and wise person to talk to, a lot of mistakes could be avoided.'

'We, who are approaching 70 years of age, have our careers behind us and we do not have to keep our noses to the grindstone. We have the time to commit ourselves to the learners. We have also a vast experience to share with them. Furthermore we do not compete with anyone. We can stay impartial and be fairly objective without letting ourselves be influenced by accidental occurrences or different moods.'

Mentors commented that the relationships were:

  • affirmative
  • valuable
  • developing
  • thought provoking
  • a personal uplift

(taken from Hultman J (1995) )

ABB Sweden, which is part of ABB Asea Brown Boveri, the global power engineering group, introduced a mentoring scheme for women in 1991-2. It started with 100 `adepts' the in-house term for mentorees. Because of its success, men asked to be involved and in 1993-4 the scheme was extended to include men. The company now has 5 mentoring programmes involving about 1000 employees, both white and blue collar.

The company's survey of mentors and adepts reveals the following perceived benefits from mentors

  • understanding other's situations (90%)
  • gaining a new friend (51%)
  • personal growth and development (38%)
  • more knowledge of company (37%)
  • a wider perspective on life (36%)

Adepts claim:

  • personal growth and development (55%)
  • understanding others' situations (53%)
  • a wider perspective on life (49%)
  • greater self-awareness (36%)

quoted in Barham & Conway (op cit).

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) uses mentoring to bolster up its approach to international placements. The company considers that managers working abroad need to have someone at home who cares about them and with whom they can get in touch.

The domestic mentoring programme has been working since 1991. Mentoring in SAS is defined as `a dialogue between two people in a growing relationship, based on voluntary participation and trust'.

Other quotes from Jellbring-Klang and Tamm-Buckle R (1996):

`Plant the seeds through mentorship now and we will have a mentorforest later. We should have done it years ago'.

`Giving mentorship a form is a way of creating the right conditions for spontaneous mentoring to arise'.

`Build on what is already in place in SAS'.

`Mentorship is listening - not teaching'

`Different needs could be covered by different mentors'

Needs listed include:

  • advice and inspiration
  • career support
  • experience and wisdom
  • new useful input
  • someone to listen

Roles listed include:

  • a consultant
  • a coach
  • a grandmother/father
  • a grandson/daughter
  • a priest

The framework for mentoring requires the following conditions:

  • voluntary
  • trust
  • mentoree driven
  • availability
  • no intervention
  • establishing frequency of meetings
  • clarifying responsibility for the relationship

Ruter Dam

This organisation whose name can be translated as `Queen of Diamonds' (a colloquial expression for a gutsy woman) was founded in 1988 by Gunilla Ahren in order to organise mentoring between companies as part of a management development programme for women. The goal was `to have more women in higher positions in bigger companies' and participants all come from the biggest companies in Sweden.

Ahren recommends that mentees are aged between 30-45, with operational responsibilities and with an interest in being promoted to senior management positions. Mentors, predominantly men to date, are also senior managers in the largest Swedish companies. Many of them have participated as mentors in the past and have found the experience so rewarding that they are prepared to repeat it.

It is recommended that the parties meet one a month. Ahren meets with the mentors in advance and suggests that they discuss

  • the future plans of the mentee and how she wants to develop
  • the relationships with the boss, colleagues and staff
  • personal situation of the mentee (this takes some of the mentors by surprise)

In matching mentors and mentees, a basic ground rule is that they do not work for the same company. Ahren recognises that there should be synergy between the parties - her method of matching the partners is on the basis of a personal feeling that the two people will fit together (Antal 1993).

City of Stockholm

Reference has already been made to the mentoring scheme at the City of Stockholm in terms of problems of matching people from `hard' and `softer' departments (Antal op cit). This scheme was originally intended as a developmental resource for women to break into senior management positions but concern about alienating men led to the programme being made available to both sexes.

Mentees are chosen by heads of departments on the following criteria:

  • drive
  • willingness to be challenged
  • able to listen to others and accept guidance
  • willing to take responsibility for their personal development.

Mentors are sought amongst top managers on the basis of:

  • vision
  • good understanding of the organisation
  • knowledge of both the explicit and implicit rules
  • ability to handle conflict
  • interest in human resource development.

Marie Kelpe, the originator of the scheme made a point of pairing men and women and found that it worked quite successfully. `At first it is difficult for men to understand that there are differences between men and women in management, partly because they automatically assume that `different' means `less' but that through the mentoring relationship, the men develop a greater appreciation of the situation.' (Quoted in Antal op cit).

Reasons she gives to managers to become mentors include telling them that they can `get the pleasure of being immortal, of giving their experience and knowledge to the next generation, everything you fought for in your life'. Successful mentors she has known have commented upon the opportunity it has afforded them

  • to test their ideas
  • to meet the younger generation
  • to get knowledge from other areas of the organisation
  • to gain pleasure from giving away their knowledge and experience


Nothing in the way of published case studies was found from Norway. However by inference it does seem to be well established. For example a member of Mentorsforum from Norway who registered in July 1998 states that he is coaching 3 people in Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company, and operating as mentor for one person in another organisation.

2. Examples from The Netherlands

Mentoring seems to be becoming more common in the Netherlands and quite broad ranging in its conception although there is little in the way of published case studies to demonstrate that. Barham and Conway (op cit) go into no detail on the two Dutch schemes reported in the Ashridge 1997 survey, beyond stating they were both for graduate recruits and mentioning Royal Dutch PTT as one of the respondents.

The literature from the Netherlands makes a clear distinction between mentoring and coaching, and books on the subject draw upon sources and contributions from outside the country. Take for example the interesting book produced on Mentoring and Coaching (Lazeron N et al 1994) where contributions include articles from Bob Garvey and David Clutterbuck from the UK.

In the introduction to this text coaching is seen as focussing on the day-to-day work situation and engineered by the line manager. Mentoring on the other hand is held to be done by a wider range of people and offers more possibilities for generating a broader context for the learning process. This distinction does not explore the different type of relationship and interaction that some people consider to be inherent in mentoring as opposed to coaching.

One of the contributors, Susanne Piet, notes the absence of female mentors (and coaches) in the Netherlands and how little appreciation is afforded to those who are. She concludes that the gaps between empowered women and those without power, and the consequent lack of role models, clearly indicates a long-term need for women to invest in the individual growth of other women. One of the trends noted in the preparatory research for this report has been the growth of women's support networks across Europe and the use of mentoring as a career development mechanism for women.

3. Examples from The Republic of Ireland

Clutterbuck (1995) reports on a mentoring scheme in the Republic of Ireland at Aer Rianta which manages three international airports - at Dublin, Cork and Shannon. Its initiation into mentoring came about as a result of a `Women in Management' project set up in 1992. The mentoring programme was launched in January 1993 and involved 18 women managers being mentored by senior male managers in the company. The objective was to equip women with the skills and confidence to break through the glass ceiling within the organisation that meant that all senior posts were a male preserve. The original idea was for an `understudy' programme where women would be paired with more senior male colleagues in order to learn by observation and discussion. This was then extended into a more formal mentoring arrangement. Participation was on a voluntary basis.

The launch programme involved a half-day training programme for mentors provided by an external consultant, followed by a lunchtime meeting when mentors and mentees met to arrange their first formal appointment. An attempt was made to match mentors and mentees as closely as possible to the mentee's individual needs.

The women's progress was monitored by such means as network lunches of the Women into management group and telephone contact with mentors. Some relationships blossomed quickly, others never got off the ground. One relationship initially seemed to be going nowhere - on investigation it was deemed to be because of the hierarchical difference between the two participants. Once this surfaced the issue was discussed and resolved.

Critical components of a successful relationship were seen to be:

  • commitment
  • openness
  • encouragement
  • investing time (not just in meetings but in preparation and follow up)
  • demonstration of interest
  • trust and confidentiality
  • clear objectives
  • developing a career path
  • feedback
  • sharing experience
  • questioning
  • the mentor being a critical friend

According to the manager of equal opportunities development within the organisation, mentoring showed the women that they could do more senior jobs and that there was no mystique about senior management. It led to women being promoted or being seen to have so increased their potential as to be candidates for promotion.

One outcome has been that male managers at the same level as the females have asked to be included.

4. Examples from Mediterranean countries in Europe


Belet (1996) of the French Consultancy BLV Learning Partners makes the point that `the French management educational system is still very much inspired by a didactical and pedagogical philosophy based on the teaching of knowledge ... and on the dominant role of the instructor or expert.' He contends however that `an implicit learning approach to management development in France is emerging'. In this context he refers to the emergence of management consultants such as the TRANSFORMANCE consultancy based in Paris (Lenhardt 1992) which specialise in the implementation of various management development methods and which stress the learning processes of individual managers embodied in concepts such as `coaching', `team building' and `mentoring'. Barham and Conway (op cit) refer to an unnamed French company with which they are familiar `whose HR managers believe that mentoring fits their aim to move from `training solutions' to `learning solutions' for developing a competitive business and its people. They provide no evidence that mentoring has actually been introduced in this organisation.

Borredon (1995) contends that whereas in the UK there is a tradition of personal tutoring and low `power distance', France has a tradition entailing high `power distance'. For her this Hofstede originated explanation provides a reason why mentoring is less common in France than in the UK and why it is more difficult to introduce.

Her position supports the hypothesis that mentoring programmes would be more successful in societies/situations where there is less power distance.

She describes a mentoring arrangement developed for the personal supervision of students in a French Grande Ecole. The term `mentoring' was eschewed in favour of parrainage or `godparenting' - the students did not like the term mentoring. The mentors were defined as `parrains' and the mentorees were defined as `filleuls' or `godchildren.

A Charter was developed for mentors. It included statements such as:

`A mentor in this organisation is someone who chooses to be so.'
`Mentoring is a voluntary engagement and non remunerative: under no condition can it be imposed on either mentor or student'
`Mentoring is based on strict confidentiality and respect'
`The basis of mentoring is establishing a relationship of mutual trust. The exchange between student and mentor concerns only those two individuals.'
`While mentoring requires confidentiality and respect, mentors will be asked to exchange personal learning in order that all concerned can further their work'.
`Mentoring is not the exclusive prerogative of teaching staff: the requirement for being a mentor rests on acceptance of this charter.'

Administrative staff as well as academic staff constituted the 25 `parrains' - but in each case the students allocated to an administrator did not return for a second meeting.

Borredon (1996) reveals that mentoring as such was rejected within the school as a result of the experience. Key reasons given were

  • insufficient resource
  • mentoring is too personal; role of lecturers seen as to teach not to `mother'.
  • we have not been trained as psychologists: to be `mentor' requires expertise and specific qualification
  • to mentor is also to advise and orient: lecturers would not be credible if they could not answer specific questions or solve problems for students
  • lecturers wanted recognition of themselves, and a mentoring scheme that was acknowledged and integrated into the organisational offer.
  • management did not consider the timing opportune.

The preference for the term `godparenting' also emerges in the French pharmaceutical company Rhone-Poulenc where mentoring seems to have been more successful in the context of overseas placements. Barham and Devine (1991) refer to expatriates being assigned godfathers, senior managers with wide relationships with other managers across the group, with whom the filleuls could keep in regular contact during their overseas assignment and who could alert their mentorees to a variety of different career opportunities and help them consider and negotiate their next career step.

(In February 1999, 50 French post experience students involved in HRD in their organisations are visiting London Guildhall University and their understanding and experience of mentoring practice will be tested out through questionnaire and focus group activity. Findings will be added to this report)


Little evidence has been found of mentoring in Italy and there is no tradition of mentoring in the country. This is not entirely a surprise in a country which emphasises the hierarchical and expert role of the manager. Laurent (1983) of INSEAD asked the question

`It is important for a manager to have at hand precise answers to most of the questions that his subordinates may raise about their work'. In Italy 66% of his respondents agreed with this assertion.

One interesting project with a mentoring aspect to it has been started for women entrepreneurs who either wish to set up, or are involved in, small businesses in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.

Supported by funding from the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Security it is run by ISTUD (Istituto Studio Direzionali), an organisation which is described in its publicity material as `an advanced research and management training centre with the aim to bridge theory and practice'. Based on the banks of Lake Maggiore. Stated aim of project is `to support enterprise creation, consolidation and further development by the application of a new methodology (my italics): Mentoring'. The implication of this statement reinforces the perception that there is no tradition of mentoring in Italy.

Programme consists of three paths - for small and medium sized enterprises at start-up, consolidation and development. At each stage of the programme, participants will have the opportunity to be mentored by a successful entrepreneur (female or male) who will provide support with her/his knowledge and experiences.

The programme started in November 1998 and ISTUD is due to report on how successful it was in October 1999.


This researcher has not been able to find any instances of home grown mentoring schemes in Spain. There is anecdotal evidence of one UK company experiencing great difficulty in finding a mentor when trying to introduce mentoring into its Barcelona office.

5. Examples from elsewhere in Europe

Case studies are few and far between. Barham and Conway (1998) suggest that `Germany's traditionally strong line and coaching focus has probably contributed to a lack of organisational mentoring schemes. They make passing reference to an engineering group (not attributed) which is using mentoring to complement the development of high potential management groups.

One Austrian organisation which was traced through the mentorsforum is called `Verein zur Forderung von Frauen in der Karrierplannung' (Union of the Demand of Women for Career Planning). It is a non-profit organisation in the Tyrol, Austria, whose goal is to support women in their career planning and which additionally wants to promote mentoring as an instrument towards this and towards personal development.


  1. The author was unable to find any references in the literature to mentoring schemes in Europe in the voluntary sector (and very few for SMEs). However there is the possibility that the publication of the White Paper on the voluntary sector will generate interest in `learning and development' issues in this area.
  2. Mentoring seems well established in Scandinavia - especially Sweden - and there are a number of examples of innovative practice. On the other hand there is little evidence of mentoring schemes in Southern Europe - which lends support to the hypothesis based on Hofstede that mentoring is more suited to countries with low power distance and a high tolerance for uncertainty. There is however some evidence of a shift of emphasis in countries such as France, and a concern with generating more of a learner centred approach as opposed to a trainer centred approach. Such a shift could lead to greater enthusiasm for and empathy with, mentoring.
  3. There is evidence of European (EU) interest in mentoring and support for mentoring initiatives in countries where there is no tradition (eg Italy). It is too early to determine whether it will catch on in such countries. If one accepts the Hofstede and Laurent findings then it is either unlikely or will take more of an expert coaching model than a supportive counselling approach.
  4. Evidence of growing interest in mentoring to support women's networks. There is also evidence that mentoring in a number of organisations originated as part of a structured career development route for women and was then extended for men
  5. Multi-national organisations might provide a significant trigger for the spread of mentoring across Europe, either because of exposure to schemes via international placements or because of benchmarking activities through conferences.


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