Group mentoring

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As a mentor, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of competencies that your mentees need help with? 

As a coordinator, do you struggle to find enough mentors?

Group mentoring can be an effective strategy to invest in several mentees at the same time. It helps to deal with a shortage of mentors, saves time and creates a dynamic learning environment. If in your workplace you have a set of competencies that many mentees need to work on, and you have access to some resources they can all draw on, a well-structured, group mentoring setting can help you and your mentees advance more quickly and efficiently. The resources on this website have been put together to help mentors and mentees work on essential consultant core competencies. In each category you will find at least 5 recommended resources. These can easily be used in a group mentoring setting across the different domains.

Here is a great example from Cameroon

In May 2023, Dr. Virginia Beavon-Ham (Linguistics Consultant, SIL Cameroon) started a series of group mentoring sessions. The topic of the first session was Consulting Process Skills, which is a required competency category for all consultants in her organisation.

Her strategy involves gathering mentors and mentees, once a month, in an hybrid group (in-person and online).  Each meeting targets one of the interdisciplinary consultant core competencies required across all domains. Each time a different consultant takes the lead to facilitate the conversation around the topic of the meeting. There is prework to be done using some recommended online resources. The 90-minute group discussion is based on this prework : participants reflect on the prework, contextualise it, ask questions, share experiences and consolidate their learning together with the mentor. After the meeting, there is homework to be done by the mentees to show that they can apply their takeaways in a real-life consulting situation and reflect on it skillfully.

Virginia’s email explaining all this to the participants ahead of time:

 “Pick one of the three first activities proposed on the Consultant Competencies website – either #1, #2, or #3.

If you pick #1, watch the two videos on the GROW model and take notes about the process that is proposed. Also in the demo conversation, take note of some tips that you would like to follow. If a relevant opportunity arises this week to engage with someone else’s concern using the GROW model, try it out.

If you pick #2, follow Paul Frank’s online self-paced Consultant Skills Moodle course, using the link given. Take notes on the 6 stages of the process as described in this course.

If you pick #3, read the three chapters cited from the book Flawless Consulting. Take notes on the main points of each chapter.

When we get together on Friday, I am hoping at least one person will have chosen each of the three options. My plan is to spend a little under 30 minutes sharing what people learned about consulting process skills from each activity proposed.

As follow-up from this meeting, you will submit to your consultant mentor the notes you took in preparation as well as any further insights you gained during our discussion. (Ask the mentor to assign to you an activity in Competency Manager which allows you to do this.) Then what I would also recommend as follow-up (although this would be up to your mentor) is that you choose another one of the three activities and do that as follow-up. I would also recommend you put into practice during a supervised consulting experience something you gained from this whole experience.”

This recent example from Cameroon is encouraging and shows that well-structured group mentoring sessions can save you time and money. They complement the competency-based consultant certification framework (CBC) and this website very well. If you use the recommended resources on this website as prework, you do not need to invest a lot of time in preparing the content. The hybrid option opens up the possibility to bring people together across continents which makes for a richer experience both in terms of learning and community.

  • Would you give this group mentoring approach a try in your context?
  • How do you use the resources on this website?

 Share your ideas and insights below by clicking on “Leave a comment”.

Great resources await you in each category

Take a look at our resources page! You will find at least 5 resources in each category to help your mentees to further develop their skills.

This is a work in progress and we would value your contributions. Please use the form below to share your ideas and suggestions.

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make sure you include the following:

  • a link to the resource you are recommending
  • the proficiency level of the resource (Who is it for?)
  • a brief rationale for why this resource should be made available here
  • a 3-sentence summary of the content (What is it about?)
  • a “pro tip” for mentors (How can this resource be used?)