The benefits of a traditional mentoring program are already well known. But did you know that there are many different types of mentoring to choose from? From traditional one-on-one mentoring to reverse mentoring, it is an adaptable, flexible and effective way to boost employee engagement, foster a culture of knowledge sharing and support diversity and inclusion initiatives.
But what happens when you’re limited by a lack of good mentors in your organisation or looking to get a large number of employees involved in mentoring at speed? This is where group mentoring comes in.
In this article, we break down what group mentoring is and how it can benefit your organisation.
Let’s start with the basics. Group mentoring is a type of mentoring in which one mentor works with several mentees at once in a group. The mentor will have an area of expertise to share and the mentees will have similar personal development goals or wish to learn specific new skills or knowledge.
The format means that the group will support each other to learn and grow, as well as bring in a range of different perspectives and experiences. In turn, the mentor will also learn from the group discussion. It works well for people that learn best collaboratively and has a wide range of benefits, but more on that later.
The important thing to remember with group mentoring is that it can be combined with other types of mentoring to create an experience that meets the needs of your organisation best.
Not quite, but they are similar. Team mentoring is where a group of mentors and a group of mentees come together in a mentoring relationship. It involves learning together as a team, using a range of different mentors' expertise.
While it is similar to group mentoring in that you learn together, the relationship between the mentor and mentees is slightly different. Team mentorship is typically characterised by multiple mentors working with a group of mentees, whereas group mentoring is with just one mentor.
People may also refer to team mentoring when an individual assembles a team of mentors at once that can support them across a range of personal and professional development goals.
Group mentoring has a wide range of uses. As it allows multiple mentees to benefit at once with the input of fewer mentors, it is particularly useful for organisations that have a lack of good mentors available.
There are many different use cases for mentoring; below we list the top reasons to implement a group mentoring program:
Remember, group mentoring can complement your existing mentoring program and offers a flexible way to meet the needs of your employees. It can also be used in combination with other types of mentoring. For example, running a flash mentoring session in a group can maximise knowledge sharing at speed in your business.
Group mentoring comes with all the benefits of traditional mentoring, such as improving skill sharing, improving employee experience, reducing stress and much more.
It also has some unique benefits that make it additionally appealing, some of which we’ve touched on already in this article.
It’s worth noting that when building an inclusive mentoring program, some people may not feel comfortable working alone with new colleagues. Group mentoring is an opportunity to create a safer, more inclusive environment for everyone to benefit from mentoring.
Sounds great right? But hold on a second, there are challenges specific to this type of mentoring.
While group mentoring has its advantages, it can be challenging too. As with any mentoring program, there are things that you need to be aware of before getting started implementing your program.
The key challenges to look out for include:
😰 Challenge: Won’t mentors need to prepare more for group sessions?
💡 Solution: If preparation time is a problem, mentors can prepare sessions on key topics and reuse them for different groups of mentees, saving time in the future. They will also benefit from the group bringing their own topics and can ask mentees to prepare in advance to make the most of the experience.
😰 Challenge: Will mentees receive a less personalised experience?
💡 Solution: Perhaps, but mentees will benefit in other ways from exploring ideas within a group setting. If an individual is looking for a more personal experience, they can seek out a one-to-one mentoring relationship too. There are no limits to the number of mentors one person can have!
😰 Challenge: What if scheduling sessions is challenging?
💡 Solution: If scheduling sessions is a pain point in your organisation, why not try mentoring software such as Guider? Mentoring software can improve the overall user experience as well as make life easier for managers implementing the program.
At the end of the day, everyone learns differently. Group mentoring is an excellent addition to any mentoring program and provides people with the opportunity to learn and grow together.
With proper preparation, you can overcome the challenges and reap the rewards of group mentoring in your organisation.
📖 Read up on how to implement a mentoring program in your organisation here 📖
If you’re interested in setting up a group mentoring program then download our latest e-book on the different types of mentoring today 📝 It includes program templates and checklists to get you started.
To find out more about how Guider can connect people across your organisation through mentoring, book a chat with our mentoring guides 👇