Mentoring first-time managers: Proven strategies HR leaders can use

By William Gentry & Richard Walsh
Center for Creative Leadership


When individual contributors or professionals are promoted into their first formal leadership position, many do not realize how tough that transition can be for them. We often hear that these leaders are not prepared, and lack the support and development to help make that transition successfully. When they are not supported, they suffer, and so too do their teams, the organization, and the HR leadership pipeline, which ultimately can negatively impact the organization’s bottom line. First-time managers are an important part of an organization’s talent and succession management. In turn, organizations may attempt to help first-time managers make the transition into leadership easier by implementing a formal mentoring program. This white paper supports this effort by: (1) explaining the benefits a mentoring program can provide for first-time managers and their mentor, (2) providing organizations a way to strengthen their own mentoring programs and (3) offering HR leaders specific steps to follow and best practices applied in starting and maintaining a successful formal mentoring program specifically aimed at first-time managers.Formal mentoring programs are useful to support and develop first-time managers, an important leadership population that is vital for strengthening your leadership pipeline and succession management efforts. Armed with the knowledge from this white paper, we believe you will be able to gain a competitive advantage.


Gentry, B., & Walsh, R. (2015). Mentoring first-time managers: Proven strategies HR leaders can use [White paper]. Center for Creative Leadership.

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