A question for all of you who subscribe to my blog:
How many of you provide group mentoring or know a colleague that does?
In my 22 years of mentoring experience, I have found that group mentoring is the least used model.
Group mentoring is a great model when your organization has a large number of mentorees but few mentors. By having 6-8 mentorees meet with a mentor on a monthly basis, you're actually combining the benefits of senior and peer mentoring since mentorees not only gain the insights of a mentor but also of one's peers. It's also a great way for new employees to build relationships among peers as they participate in the group mentoring process. In addition, group mentoring may involve less time on the part of the mentor because they are meeting with 6-8 other people but usually only for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on a monthly basis.
Like any program, there are drawbacks. The most common one is that group mentoring doesn't allow for the close relationship that is generally achieved in the one-to-one model whereby a mentor has only one mentoree. Because of that, discussions can often be more "task focused" as opposed to "personal development" focused. In other words, it's not my agenda as a mentoree that operates but the group's agenda.
In my experience, there is a better return on group mentoring when combined with another model: one-to-one. For example, you might have a program that provides for one mentor to be matched with one mentoree but you might add a group model, whereby, mentorees also meet with a group mentor (senior leaders or managers) who discuss overall strategy and vision of the organization. This helps avoid some of the political challenges when being mentored one-to-one by a senior manager.
I would welcome anyone who would like to comment on the experience of being in a group mentoring program and the benefits and challenges they faced in that model. Please leave your comments in the comments section.Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com