In Monday’s post, “Group Mentoring 101: Part 1,” we discussed how mentoring is no longer restricted to face-to-face interactions. In response, companies are beginning to leverage the advantages of incorporating group mentoring programs into their business cultures.
Setting up group mentorships within your institution is the first step, but the next step is ensuring that the groups you put together function as effective mentorships.
How do you go about doing this?
Group mentorships can vary in size and structure, so the first thing you need to do is determine what your groups will look like. Here are some questions you should work on answering in the very beginning:
- How many groups will you have?
- What will be the size and makeup of each group?
- What will be the mentor-to-mentee ratio?
- What will be the initial goal or goals set for each group?
- How often will groups meet and where?
- How long will group sessions be?
- Who will act as coordinator for each group?
Once you’ve answered these questions and are ready to get started, you can focus on ensuring that your group mentorships are effective by following these guidelines:
- Follow a set plan: Planning is fundamental to successful group mentoring. Develop a plan and stick to it—the number of mentors/mentees per group; the set goals and milestones; the scheduled meetings and allotted times for each session. This will ensure that your groups function smoothly and stay on track.
- Create a conducive environment: Group mentorships are highly collaborative and diversified. You want group members to feel comfortable interacting with each other, so set the scene by creating an environment conducive to group learning and activities, whether it’s inside a board room or outside sitting on a lawn.
- Manage group dynamics: In a diversified group of individuals, group dynamics are very important. It may get off to a slow start, but as time progresses, make sure that group dynamics are progressing with it. Check in with your groups to ensure that members are communicating easily and comfortably, that each mentee is getting equal attention, and that members are working together on set goals.
- Apply lessons learned to new programs: Incorporating group mentorships is a new and different experience for many organizations. It’s guaranteed that you’ll learn a lot in the process. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work, which parts of your plan were shaky and which ones were strong, and which approaches and techniques proved most effective. Apply what you have learned and continuously improve your group mentorship program.
Incorporating these guidelines into your group mentoring program will ensure that you have effective group mentorships. The advantage that a group mentorship offers is the opportunity to capitalize on the knowledge, referrals, supervision, and support of the various group members. Engaging in a group setting means that mentees will not only learn from mentors in the group, but also from their peers. This will serve to improve peer interactions by increasing levels of intimacy, communication, and trust.
A planned, well-thought-out group mentorship program will transfer all the benefits of a solid mentorship program to your employees. The experience will allow your employees to grow and learn, and will equip them with the tools they need to be successful in their careers.
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