Purpose – The purpose of this article is to encourage HR departments to establish a formal executive mentoring program in their organizations and to guide them in their efforts of implementing such a program. Design/methodology/approach – The article provides recommendations on selecting mentors and mentees as well as do's and don'ts for implementing a successful program and measuring its outcomes. Findings – Thoughtfully structured and implemented, a formal executive mentoring program has significant measurable benefits for mentors, mentees and the organization far beyond those that can be achieved with an informal program. The sharing of experience and wisdom that occurs in mentoring is a unique form of development that fosters growth and lets leaders be the best they can be. Practical implications – HR departments should take the lead in establishing a formal executive mentoring program rather than rely on grassroots emergence of “organic relationships.” Mentoring facilitates the process of turning the experiences and knowledge of junior executives into wisdom on the path to senior leadership. Originality/value – A formal mentoring program assures that the experience and expertise of retiring baby‐boomer leaders is used wisely in what little time remains.
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