Mentoring as a process to develop and enhance the functioning of new members in organisations has become prominent in the last two decades. In various disciplines such as law, education and business, the implementation of mentoring processes and concepts have been embraced. With an estimated two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV/AIDS, health care professionals seem to have also embraced the mentoring process and concepts. In this study the experiences of lay counsellors, referred to as Befrienders, in a mentoring programme were explored. In addition, the researcher sought to identify potential challenges that Befrienders experienced in the mentoring programme, how they understood the challenges and how these challenges were addressed. The researcher then explored the potential skills that may have been learned within the mentoring programme. The exploration also produced some ideas on how the mentoring programme could be improved. Furthermore, the study seems to have made a contribution to mentoring theory. In the study, a convenient sample of five formal interviews and two pilot interviews were conducted. The participants consisted of four students, and one staff member from the University of Pretoria. Participants were interviewed for 1½ hours using semi-structured, individual and face-to-face interviews. A thematic analysis was used to interpret the data and social constructionism was used as the theoretical framework to make sense of the findings. In the findings, five prominent themes were identified, namely: (i) Being mentored (Experiencing the programme), (ii) Interpersonal relationships (Experiencing others), (iii) A developing inner world (Experiencing the Self), (iv) Negotiating boundaries (Managing relationships), and (v) Other issues related to HIV/AIDS (Experiencing the context). It was found, among other things, that the Befrienders constructed their own understanding of the mentoring process, that they used the mentoring relationship with their supervisor to understand the clients, and that they developed new perspectives as they learned about themselves. Finally, as a result of being mentored and of the process of development, the Befrienders seemed to have developed a deeper desire to do more work in the HIV/AIDS context.