Welcome to the premier source for mentoring & coaching resources in the world!

The IMA is an association of mentoring professionals and interested parties. Through this association we each and together:

  1. GAIN access to the best available information about mentoring and mentoring support;
    • offering guidance to increase results in the following area:
      • Retention;
      • Performance;
      • Staff diversity and inclusion;
      • The success of youth;
      • Implementation of training to improve daily practice;
      • The number of prepared, skilled leaders in your talent “pipeline”;
      • The effectiveness of leader succession;
      • The function of your organization as a learning community.
  2. GIVE our support, friendship, encouragement, knowledge, skills, and experiences to others;
  3. Spread the word about and benefits of mentoring across the world in an initiative to benefit humanity

You can personally experience our quality services on the publicly available pages right away. We encourage you to register with us and gain access to our MEMBERS ONLY resources. You can see our full range of value and services for our members by browsing through the menu.

Whether you want to attend a mentoring event; looking for mentoring publications or need face-to-face interaction with mentoring experts; The International Mentoring Association has it ALL!

This article has been prepared to help YOU fully understand and perhaps, actively participate in the IMA in those three important ways.

Table of Contents

  1. What is the IMA?
  2. The IMA Mission
  3. A Brief History of the International Mentoring Association
  4. Living Our Commitment
  5. How is the IMA Governed?
  6. Is the IMA a Not-For-Profit Organization?
  7. How Does the IMA Communicate With Its Members?
  8. Who Can Join the IMA?
  9. Member Benefits
  10. How can you, “GAIN access to the best available information about mentoring and mentoring support”?
  11. How can you, “GIVE your support, friendship, encouragement, knowledge, skills, and experiences to others”?
  12. How can you, “Spread the word about and benefits of mentoring across the world in an initiative to benefit humanity”?


Since 1988, the International Mentoring Association (IMA) has been the premier source for best practice solutions and support of mentoring and coaching professionals and their programs.

The International Mentoring Association advances individual and organization development by promoting the use of mentoring best practices in every organizational setting. Our diverse and dynamic worldwide organization unites a broad cross-section of hundreds of persons who are interested in the theory and practice of effective mentoring. Members bring unique experiences and a fresh perspective from their various fields of mentoring. Working together, we share a common commitment to increasing:

  • the impact of mentoring
  • the performance of mentoring participants
  • the effectiveness of the organizations those programs serve.


The mission of the International Mentoring Association is to create global communities for sharing best practices that lead to development of highly effective mentoring programs. We do this through a diverse support base and a variety of venues.

Membership is open to all who support the Mission of the Association.


In the Beginning – In 1987 a number of individuals interested in mentoring came together for a conference at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Among the topics discussed was the use of mentoring to increase the retention and success of minority students in higher education and other mentoring benefits and applications. The enthusiastic response to the conference and the opportunity to learn from each other led to a proposal to form a mentoring association.

On July 28-29, 1988, the interested parties met at Rhode Island Community College in Warwick, Rhode Island and the National Mentoring Association was formed. By-laws were drafted, committees formed, and a Board of Directors and officers were chosen.

On October 23, 1988, the association membership met at the American College at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. At that meeting, the proposed by-laws were adopted and the Association ratified by the majority of members present.

The Early Purposes – The National Mentoring Association was established in response to the growing need for an organized forum focusing on innovative and effective mentoring ideas and practices. Many of the original members of IMA came from higher education, but the desire to learn about effective mentoring and to support a worldwide mentoring initiative, led these persons to reach out to and learn from mentoring professionals from every setting.

The Scope and Name Are Changed – The Association quickly grew to become a worldwide organization that effectively unites a broad cross-section of hundreds of individuals, all of whom are interested in the theory and practice of effective mentoring. The name of the Association was changed to reflect this international membership and initiative.

IMA Became an Official NFP Association – As of January 1, 2011 the IMA transferred it’s status as an organization and now operates under the Three-Rivers NFP Foundation in Farmington New Mexico, USA. Three-Rivers is a USA IRS Tax exempt 501(c) 3 organization and their status includes the IMA. This was possible because the President of the IMA is also the Executive Director of the Three-Rivers Foundation. Later, the IMA acquired it’s own 501 (c) 3 status, and remains a not for profit association.

IMA Headquarters moves to University of New Mexico – On August 12, 2014, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the International Mentoring Association and the University of New Mexico. The MOU outlines the partnership between two institutions, including the obligations and responsibilities of each party. The primary purpose of the MOU is to provide effect collaboration between the University of New Mexico Mentoring Institute and the International Mentoring Association to enhance the field of mentoring by facilitating growth and development in quality mentoring programs.

Every member of the International Mentoring Association brings a diverse, unique experience, and a fresh perspective from the various fields of mentoring that each represents. However diverse the settings and needs, all members share a common commitment to learning and increasing the effective use of mentoring to benefit their varied program participants and organizations.

We invite you to join us in this journey!


There are at least four ways in which the IMA is unique.

A. Unique People — The IMA is a worldwide network of dynamic, thoughtful mentoring professionals who have established successful mentoring programs and are continually seeking to make those programs ever more effective at delivering the results for which they were created. We are also committed to increasing our ability to continually model effective mentoring relationships and practices. Our passion for effective mentoring leads us to gladly share our experience and knowledge with others.

B. Unique Information and Experience — The IMA is committed to increasing access to research-based, proven models and processes and to the best practices needed for planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and improving the impact of personal mentoring, mentor program leadership, and of mentoring programs.

C. Unique Diversity — In addition to celebrating and using the strengths that ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion provide, IMA is also committed to model and support a wider understanding of the term, “diversity.” All of IMA’s activities and publications focus on building upon the strengths provided by dialogue across all settings and roles, every age and experience level, gender, view point, and every other difference. We know that these differences create our learning opportunities. By utilizing our common commitment to mentoring as a tool for increased learning and performance and our rich diversity as a strength, we can work together and accomplish much more.

D. A Unique Initiative — We see mentoring as the most effective lever available for transforming the effectiveness and impact of human growth and endeavors. Through our conversations, events, presentations, publications, and projects, we are committed to provide a forum for discussing mentoring best practices, trends, innovative ideas, and strategies that will inspire us as leaders and transform our practices and organizations. In this way, we expect to gradually, but relentlessly change the world through effective mentoring, one relationship and one organization at a time.


The leadership of the IMA consists of the Board of Directors, which is led by the Executive Committee.

  • The Board of Directors ranges is size from 10 to 15 members, but can include as many as twenty. The Board meets at least twice a year, but also interacts and makes decisions between meetings by use of e-mail and conference calls.
  • The Executive Committee consists of the IMA officers which are elected by the Board: the President, the President-Elect, and the Secretary-Treasurer.

The IMA is currently housed at the office of the University of New Mexico Mentoring Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, which handles membership and IMA’s business activities.


Yes. The IMA holds a 501 (c) 3 status.


Our interaction with each other is the “life line” of our association and work. There are many ways we communicate with each other and work together.

  • The IMA web site at www.mentoringassociation.org – for news and expert content;
  • The Link, IMA’s newsletter, and Connect, IMA’s quarterly magazine, which comes every month via e-mail to all members who share their e-mail with us – for news and expert, best practices content;
  • Free monthly webinars;
  • Social media: find us on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn;
  • Of course, we also communicate through all our events, like the IMA International Conference;
  • Of course, we also just talk with each other, whether by email, phone or in person at events. If you want help or advice now, go to the last section of this document for the contact information for the IMA Office.


Consider joining IMA if you are:

  • A representative of a mentoring program or organization, whether in business, government, education, a community setting, or nonprofit
  • A mentoring program director
  • Education faculty (from K-12 to graduate)
  • A human resources leader or training professional
  • An organization development or staff development leader
  • A mentoring researcher, mentor trainer, or consultant
  • A mentor or coach, mentee or protégé
  • Interested in mentoring and support the IMA Mission


Every IMA member gains in multiple ways:


  • 560+ web pages of best practice guidelines, expert advice, research, models, program descriptions, and other articles in the Members Only section of the IMA web site;
  • Current mentoring news, book reviews, announcements, and the latest expert mentoring guidance and content, delivered through the Link e-newsletter, our magazine Connect, and free monthly webinars;
  • Interaction with and advice and insights from mentoring experts and practitioners from across the world, in your mentoring role and organizational setting;
  • The expertise of all members through the Membership Directory to help you design, implement, evaluate, and sustain your mentoring program;


  • Participation in the great cause represented by our leadership in a worldwide mentoring initiative.

10. HOW CAN YOU, “GAIN access to the best available information and mentoring about mentoring”?

We know – this is why you are here.  Fortunately, there are many ways to gain from IMA and it’s wonderful people.

A. Publications – Be sure that we have your e-mail address. The Link, IMA’s e-mail newsletter is a major vehicle to tell you of opportunities to “gain and to give”. Each issue comes to your e-mail inbox every month, usually . Each issue is packed with information on events, activities, and mentoring news and best practices.

We also release our quarterly magazine, Connect, to members. Typically, each issue has 10-15 articles, some for all members regardless of your mentoring setting, and the others are specific to the major settings and mentoring roles which we serve (education, business, nfp, youth, etc.)

And don’t miss our free monthly webinars!

B. The IMA Web Site – This is our most amazing resource and it’s provided exclusively for our members. By becoming a member, you have access to all our resources and member benefits! The public can access about 20 web pages which tell them about IMA and give them some introductory information on mentoring. That way, they can decide if membership would benefit them. The rest of the web site – over 560 web pages – gives YOU access to the best practices for each setting , each mentoring role, and exemplary program and mentoring models and practices, research summaries, conclusions, and best practice guidelines drawn for that research. And there is much, much more.

C. Attend the IMA International Mentoring Conference, which is held every year. THIS is where you really  gain and can get involved with your mentoring colleagues. This is where you will really be able to access the mentoring you seek. Find the information about this opportunity under the Conference tab.

D. Access mentoring expertise by contacting any officer or member of the IMA Board of Directors. They are in these roles exactly because they WANT to help and support you.

E. Access the IMA Membership Directory and talk with any other IMA member whose area of focus or other strengths match your interests and needs.

F. Gain by Giving –  It’s an amazing and wonderful fact, by giving of who we are and what we know to others, we will also be blessed. We learn, we grow our skills, increase our mentoring experience and understanding, we become more expert and confident. To explore how this give-to-get idea works, get involved in IMA by participating in one or more of the ways described just below in the next section.

11. HOW CAN YOU,  “GIVE your support, friendship, encouragement, knowledge, skills, and experiences to others”?

Maybe you are brand new to mentoring and cannot see how you have much to offer others. That may be true right now, but:

A. As you learn more about mentoring through your participation in the IMA and your own work, remember our commitment to helping others, and share what you know, whatever that is. So, as you  “gain”, also “give”.

B. What we share with each other is much more than just our mentoring knowledge and experiences. The differences between us are the very source of the strengths among us. Your diverse experiences and background as a person, as an employee, as a leader, whatever you have experienced, these have uniquely prepared you with many gifts to give to others so, “gain”, but also, “give”.

C. Get involved! Some possibilities include:

  • Submit an article about your mentoring experiences or program.
  • Host a webinar.
  • Join an IMA committee to help IMA serve it’s members
  • After two years of membership, consider joining the IMA Board of Directors, both to provide leadership and service (give) and to (gain) grow your own skills and insights.
  • Follow, share, and participate in the IMA social media.

D. Not sure which is the best way for you to get involved? Talk with a Board member or email our office at fsears@mentoringassociation.org.

12. HOW CAN YOU, “Spread the word about and benefits of mentoring across the world in an initiative to benefit humanity”?

The simple (not easy) answer is for you to “mentor the world.” Sound a bit overwhelming?

It’s not really. What that means is to view every interaction you have as an opportunity to practice, build, perfect, , and share your mentoring skills, knowledge, and strategies with others. Just do it one person and one relationship at a time.

Of course, there will be some interactions you have where the nature of it is superficial and momentary. But when you have the time to interact at greater depth, try to do so as a giving, caring, positive, and helpful person. In other words, be unique by being who you are and by sharing who you are more than is expected, to benefit others, not just yourself. Basically, just BE a mentor all day long, one conversation at a time. You will build your skills and you will make a bigger difference in others’ lives.

When you meet others who want to know more about mentoring:

  • Act as an ambassador of the IMA.
  • Provide or send them IMA membership information.
  • Give them the address for the IMA web site.
  • Add “Member of the International Mentoring Association, www.mentoringassociation.org” to the bottom or back of your business card, your stationary, etc.

By doing these things, you will, “Spread the word about and benefits of mentoring across the world in an initiative to benefit humanity”?