Mentoring Circles™

Mentoring Circles LogoMentoring Circles™ provide a chance for personal reflection and self-development helping you to achieve your personal and professional life goals.

Come along to a Circle led by an experienced coach to reflect on your skills, build confidence, and meet others travelling along a similar path of self-development. Circles provide the opportunity to reflect and develop your self-understanding to help you through a range of life changes.

We are accredited by:

For more information about Mentoring Circles™, please contact us.

What are Mentoring Circles?

Mentoring has proven to be a successful tool to support individuals to gain vital confidence and support during times of change in their life. They are more general than Enterprise or Career Circles™ and can support individuals on a more personal level as well as a professional level.

Mentoring Circles™ were developed by Inova Education and Training in 2001 and use an innovative methodology which combines the benefits gained from one to one mentoring with those from working with a group of peers. A combination of action learning, coaching and peer mentoring principles provides mentees with a wider source of support and inspiration for idea generation and greater creativity in problem solving during crucial times in their life.

Within the Circle suite of products, Inova has also developed and run:

  • Enterprise Circles™ to support start-up businesses or to help you grow your existing business.
  • Career Circles™ to support those looking for career development or who are returning to employment after a break.

What happens in a Mentoring Circle™?

Mentoring Circles™ usually have up to 5 individuals (mentees) working with 1 trained mentor/facilitator. Circles meet for an agreed number of sessions e.g. once every four to six weeks, over an agreed time period. A Mentoring Circle™ lasts approximately 3-4 hours with every member given the opportunity to discuss individual issues, followed by group support and members acting as a sounding board for individuals to bounce ideas and potential solutions to problems/issues.

Mentoring Circles™

  • Help individuals through a period of personal reflection and self-development.
  • Are based on an action learning methodology whereby circle members are encouraged to facilitate learning through asking open questions rather than offering advice and are encouraged to engage in self-reflection practices.

Mentoring Circles Licences

Are you interested in delivering Mentoring Circles™? Inova provide licences to individuals or organisations interested in delivering their own Mentoring Circle™ programmes. We also provide training to support you in the delivery of your Circles.

Please contact us for more information.

Useful Tools

We use a wide range of tools and activities during mentoring circles and as ‘homework’ activities to consolidate learning and skill development of mentees. An example tool is provided below, why not give it a try?

Iceberg Exercise

When assessing our issues much of what we are tackling on the surface is just the tip of our iceberg. This exercise helps us to address issues for the long term by examining the underlying emotional and psychological aspects that will help address and reinforce our goals.

  • This means identifying how we feel and what emotions are stirred by particular issues so we can keep them in check.
  • Underneath our emotions are the deeply held values which we use to operate effectively on.  When we are clear of the values we hold for particular purposes, it helps us to know when we can compromise or where compromise is not acceptable.
  • Being true to one’s values often yields a more satisfactory outcome for all parties involved.

Below you can download an example of the Iceberg exercise completed by someone experiencing problems at work.

Example iceberg exercise (PDF, 93.26 KB)


Since the company was launched in 2001, Inova has helped many people to develop their soft skills and increase their self-understanding through periods of change . Read some feedback from past participants here:

"The mentoring circle provided great help and encouragement at a time when a lot of decisions had to be made."Charlotte Taylor
"The mentoring circle has helped me to focus on small, manageable size pieces; before I found it all too daunting."Julie Poulter
"I have met interesting women from diverse backgrounds with different ambitions, and I am motivated and inspired"
"Listening to other group members is so helpful – it gets you thinking about your own issues as well as offering them advice/tips"

Fe:Male Project

Women setting up a business were supported by Circles in the UK, Netherlands, Malta and Cyprus.

Watch interviews with some participants in the Netherlands below:

See more videos on the Fe:Male Project YouTube channel

Accredited Providers



Switzerland have been an observer of Career Circles through the EU Return Project

Project Providers






The Netherlands


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