Monday, January 17, 2011

Group mentoring

At a lunch this week, with a mouth full of Soma chocolate lave cake, I managed to ask "Where does group mentoring fit in?"

Luckily, as no one else at the table was indulging in dessert, there were some spirited answers.

One person said that carefully constructed groups, with participants selected through profiling, could use group mentoring to bring projects to a new level.

Another remarked to me quietly that group mentoring was what was happening at the table at that moment - ad hoc and unscripted.

I've seen many kinds of group mentoring - some efforts that stretch the definition rather thinly... some that are tables of folks gathered once to solve a problem with or without any expectation of success.

I'm not sure where I sit with formal programs. I think the essence of group mentoring happens all the time, throughout one's community. It's the heart of peer-to-peer. Perhaps the more formal it becomes, the closer it moves to coaching and the project/corporation's needs and less about the individual's - the reason for choosing mentoring in the first place.

Maybe that's the question to be asking. Instead of having others tell us we should have a mentor or use mentoring as a tool, we should see it a natural fit for our questions we are seeking to answer. Instead of 'showing up', we need to articulate what we are seeking for ourselves in order to create more meaningful participation and solutions?

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

When it comes to group mentoring, I think success and self-improvement are dependant on two factors:

1) The protogee's understanding of why they have been invited to participate, and
2) The protogee's motivation for participating.

Without self-reflection and motivation to "be a better person," any sincere mentoring relationships are challenging.

I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately.