The 411 on Group Mentoring

We've been getting a lot of questions recently about group mentoring: what it is, how it works, pros and cons. So we thought we'd dedicate our summer issue to this important topic.

 

Let's get to it!

 

Q: What is group mentoring?

A: Group mentoring is when one mentor is paired with five or more mentorees. The group typically meets together once a month, every other month, or once a quarter.

Q: When would it be appropriate to use group mentoring?

 

A: Group mentoring is usually used when one-to-one mentoring isn't an option because there are few mentors available but a large number of mentorees in an organization.  

 

Q: How does group mentoring work?  

 

A: Group mentoring combines the models of peer mentoring and senior mentoring. The mentor is usually senior to the mentorees and, therefore, he or she facilitates the group. The mentorees are typically peers who benefit from getting outlook from one another as well.  

 

Q: What are the pros and cons of group mentoring?

 

A: The pros and cons overlap somewhat (i.e. a "con" can be turned around into a "pro," depending on how you look at it). Group mentoring is useful in bringing senior management into the group discussion in an organization. That said, mentorees sacrifice a private, confidential relationship with their mentor. What a mentoree may experience in a traditional one-to-one relationship is not what he/she will experience in a group. However, a group mentoring experience can be just as transformational for mentorees. In group mentoring, mentorees learn to trust the group. They also learn much about group dynamics. Finally, group mentoring can boost learning -- read how here.    

 

Q: What are some tips for effective group mentoring?

 

A: Here are four tips:

1. Group norms need to be established and agreed upon:

  • How often will we meet?
  • What to do with group members who are late?
  • What to do with group members who are disruptive?
  • Who will create the agenda?
  • Who will take notes?

 

2. Managing the relationships within the group

  • Are there sides being taken?
  • Are there cliques being established?
  • How is the group going to deal with that?

 

3. Ending the group

Any issues that have come to the surface throughout the process need to be resolved before the group sessions come to an end. Never end a group mentoring session with upset members with unresolved issues. Issues must be resolved for people to move on.


4. Cardinal Rule of Group Mentoring  

Group mentorees should not have individual access to the mentor unless everyone else has that access.

 

Would you like to learn more about group mentoring? Check out our eBook: Group Mentoring: Manual For Mentors.

Topics include the difference between one-to-one and group mentoring, the role of the mentor, tips and techniques for managing the group, and insights on group dynamics. In addition, this workbook also provides plenty of resources, including access to helpful downloadable documents on the Management Mentors website.

It's available on:

If you check it out, definitely let me know what you think of it. We also recently did a webinar on the topic -- you can access the recording here.

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