Presents some observations from both mentors and protégés who have been involved in a formal mentoring programme at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Data showed that the mentor/protégé relationship is best initiated in an informal environment away from the school, that mentors should clearly communicate their expectations, that mentoring relationships move through developmental and interpersonal stages, and that the benefits of the relationship are reciprocal for the mentor, protégé, the organization, and the system. Presents some suggestions for mentoring programmes in their early stages of development.
Examines the benefits of the mentoring component in the one‐year Diploma of Educational Administration programme offered by the National Institute of Education, to the education system in Singapore. Thirty‐six mentors involved in the programme since its inception in 1984 were invited to give their views on the benefits of the mentor/ protege programme. Thematic analysis of their responses showed that the most common theme which emerged was that of reciprocal learning. Mentors learn through helping others to learn. Through the mentoring programme, the educational system benefits as there is a pool of potential principals ready to take the helm of leadership in the schools. The programme also helps to ensure there is a possibility of systemic renewal and that of systemic repeat, i.e. practices which are passed on to the next generation of leaders.