Identifies the need to develop a conceptual framework to explain the diversity of organized mentoring in formal schemes as an important practical and theoretical concern. Interviews with participants in formal mentoring schemes were undertaken to obtain accounts of their experiences within formal entoring schemes. From an analysis of these interviews a conceptual framework for explaining the diversity of organized mentoring in formal schemes was developed. This framework involves three levels: the identification of a mentoring continuum, the adoption of an explicit human resource development (HRD) perspective to define relevant mentoring issues, and a classification of potential analytical approaches to mentoring. This conceptual framework enables diversity in organized mentoring to be defined and considered from both a practical and a theoretical perspective. In conclusion, identifies issues about the further development and evaluation of organized mentoring in formal schemes, given the picture this conceptual framework provides.