Mentoring at work has expanded in recent years from an activity largely aimed at high-flying young graduate entrants to almost anyone who can benefit from tapping into the wisdom of a more experienced person. Schemes that provide mentors include, for people returning to work (e.g. after maternity leave), for people disadvantaged by race or gender, for people transferred overseas or into challenging new assignments, and for new directors. It is now increasingly common for chief executives, in all sectors, to have personal mentors.
One definition of mentoring is "help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking". In practice, there are a variety of equally valid definitions, depending on the relationship purpose.
Mentoring should also be considered as a means of achieving development and personal growth; this is in contrast to much traditional mentoring in North America, which is focused on career sponsorship.