A good mentor can be invaluable in helping you to succeed – in business, in your career or to solve a particular problem. But sometimes you just can’t find one. One solution to this is peer mentoring. One novel approach is speed peer mentoring, where a group of people get together and mentor each other. This is also sometimes called a mastermind session.
First we need to clarify some terms:
When you can’t find someone who has more experience than you, perhaps because you are a pioneering entrepreneur or there isn’t someone nearby available as a mentor, being mentoring by someone with the same level of experience to you is an alternative approach. Peer to peer mentoring means taking turns with someone else to be mentor and mentee. In other words, you share your experience to the benefit of each other.
This is a form of group mentoring done in a structured but fast way in a single session. This can be very effective in helping you choose a longer term peer mentor from a group of potential mentors. It also works well when you have a specific goal or problem and need some quick alternatives.
Get a group of at least 5 people together. It doesn’t matter what their background is, in fact the broader the better. You are aiming for a group with different ideas to yourself. Locate yourself somewhere where loud talking won’t distract other people! Speed mentoring can be very noisy!
Before the meeting, ask everyone to identify a particular goal they’d like help with achieving, or a problem they’d like ideas to solve.
Speed mentoring session
- Break into groups of between 4 and 6 people in each group, and sit in a circle.
- Choose a facilitator. You will need someone keeping an eye on time and ensuring people participate equally.
- First person takes 2 minutes to be the mentee and describe a goal they want to achieve or a problem they’d like to solve. No-one should interrupt them.
- Then, everyone takes in turn to ask 1 or 2 questions each of the mentee.
- Everyone then says ‘if I were in your shoes, I would….’
- The mentee summarizes what they will do.
- You then move onto the next person in the group and repeat steps 2-6.
- Depending on how much time you have, people move to a new group and repeat the process.
- Each cycle takes between 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of group and number of questions. Don’t have more than 3 cycles in one session. It can be quite exhausting!
This approach gives each person a turn to be a mentee and be mentored by the rest of the group. With a session of 3 cycles and 6 people in a group, everyone will be mentored by up to 15 mentors. You may be surprised by how many good ideas come out of a session like this.