In a newly-merged multinational organization, there is typically an urgent need to ensure quality and consistency in talent development – even if the strategy is to continue to operate largely as separate entities within the same group. One of the key areas to examine, and one where it is possible to have a large impact on business performance rapidly and at low cost, is mentoring. There will undoubtedly be significant differences in concept and application of mentoring around the world, with for example, the US typically adopting relative directive, knowledge-sharing sponsorship-oriented approaches and Europe having a much more person-centred approach that focuses on quality of the mentee’s thinking. In a global company, these differences of expectation and practice can greatly undermine the impact of mentoring. It is worth noting that the International Standards for Mentoring Programs in Mentoring are based on European approaches and that many US corporations have adopted the European model.


A pragmatic approach to building a global mentoring capability in this situation would include:

  • Initial research to establish what mentoring is happening across the organization and how closely that aligns with global good practice
  • Development of initial training resources to support mentors, mentees and other stakeholders – with a consistent message and approach, but local customization as needed
  • Follow up training and mentor supervision as needed
  • Training for HR globally in how to design and manage an effective mentoring programme
  • IT systems as needed, to organise training, matching and continued support for mentors and mentees, as well as monitoring both relationships and the program overall
  • A data-base of support materials to cover problems that arise and to support HR in managing mentoring
  • Developing a cadre of internal trainers, licensed to deliver world class training to mentors and mentees


Experience of other multinationals suggests that a strategy of globalization (global standards with some local adaptation) works best.



© David Clutterbuck, 2014


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