The collective wisdom of a group is often greater than that of any single mentor or mentee. Group mentoring activities, in this way, can become a powerful tool to boost any workplace mentoring program.
While many organizations have implemented one-on-one mentorship programs, research has shown that a significant number of male managers in the US (60%) and UK (40%) feel uncomfortable mentoring female colleagues.
Left unchecked, the fears of male leaders to mentor high-talent women will stifle female advancement.
This is a significant issue that our team unpacked with W Brad Johnson, Ph.D., author of Athena Rising, how and Why Men Should Mentor Women. We discussed how to confront these fears in your mentoring program and design programs that break the glass ceiling.
Group mentoring offers a practical solution. Implementing group mentoring activities creates an environment of learning and development that is more equitable. Through these activities, employers can provide support for employees and help them reach their full potential.
In this guide, we discuss effective mentoring activities for groups. Let's jump right in.
What is group mentoring?
In essence, mentoring is providing guidance and support to a person, usually in pursuit of their career or life goals.
While it’s most commonly believed that mentoring involves a one-on-one mentorship between a young, inexperienced mentee and an older, wiser mentor, there are many other effective forms of mentorship beyond the traditional model.
Group mentoring is a form of mentoring that has been gaining traction lately and can take various approaches depending on the needs of those involved. One way to organize a group mentoring program is to have one mentor take on 3-5 mentees at once. Alternatively, multiple mentors can act as co-leaders of a larger group in a collaborative seminar format.
Regardless of the structure, the purpose of group mentoring is to create a "peer learning environment" where peers can learn from each other in a supportive setting.
There are many advantages to one-on-one mentoring, such as developing a personal relationship with the mentor and being able to focus on specific issues or concerns.
This may, however, lead to hyper-focus on one individual's needs or goals that might not be beneficial to the organization in the long term. Furthermore, it can be time-consuming and resource-intensive to conduct individual mentoring, as opposed to group mentoring, which can save valuable time and resources.
There are many mentoring programs available, but your choice will depend on what concerns you wish to address, the scope of the program, and how best to utilize the opportunity.
What are the types of group mentoring?
With group mentoring, you can create an impactful mentoring program that enables individuals to learn from the experiences of others. In addition, you can provide an opportunity to build relationships with those who have different perspectives.
As mentioned in the previous section, group mentoring can take various forms, and each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, but all provide invaluable opportunities for personal development and collective growth.
- Team mentoring - A range of mentors with their own individual skills and experience in mentoring collaborate to provide mentees with a comprehensive and varied mentoring atmosphere.
- Peer mentoring - We can gain a great deal of knowledge from our fellow mentees, which permits them to mentor each other, strengthening mentoring relationships and developing leadership skills.
- Facilitated group mentoring - The mentor acts as a guide or facilitator who helps the mentees develop their skills and abilities through structured activities or tasks. Though you will still have a mentor as usual, the other mentees in your group can set objectives and plans to enhance your learning experience.
As an invaluable tool in aiding personal growth and building relationships between peers and professionals alike, group mentoring can develop new skill sets within a team setting—all the while promoting positive change.
What is the purpose of group mentoring?
Participants in group mentoring can learn from each other and build meaningful collaborations with their peers to achieve success, but this form of mentoring can do so much more.
There are several purposes for which group mentoring can be utilized.
Ease of onboarding
When you're onboarding a lot of new employees, group mentoring can help introduce them to the company culture and teach them what they need to know straight away. This allows for a more efficient learning process and can help to reduce the amount of time it takes for someone to become well-versed in their job duties.
Group mentoring also provides an opportunity for new employees to make connections with other members of the team. This makes the onboarding process smoother and less intimidating.
When employees end their careers or move on from the company, they take with them any knowledge and experience they have. With group mentoring, this expertise can be utilized rather than wasted.
The collective knowledge gained through group mentoring helps ensure that employees have access to various sources of information, making it easier to retain and apply what they have learned.
Incorporating group mentoring into your business's educational and growth plans can be an economical way to increase the skills of multiple employees at once. Rather than recruiting outside instructors, you can pair mentors with relevant expertise with groups that need it.
Moreover, this will enable your mentors to develop key leadership and instruction skills, as well as provide an opportunity for individuals to gain networking opportunities that may be beneficial in the future.
Parental leave assistance
Your organization can provide essential holistic support to parent employees by establishing a group mentoring program. This could be a particular group for those who are new parents or are returning to work after taking time off. This would enable them to easily transition back into their job.
12 group mentoring activities you can try today
Engaging in group mentoring activities can be a helpful way to connect with others, build team relationships, and develop skills in a safe and comfortable environment.
Whether you are planning to build a mentorship program or just looking for a fun new way for colleagues to connect, there are plenty of options available.
Icebreaker activities in the workplace can promote team building and foster a more positive work atmosphere. Not only do they help break down barriers between coworkers, but they also provide an opportunity for people to get to know each other better in a fun and relaxed setting.
Team spirit contributes significantly to the happiness of employees, with happy employees being 20% more productive than those who are unhappy.
Coffee (or tea) sessions
How about bringing the team together with their favorite brew? Getting to know each other in a casual setting will help your mentees relieve some tension during a mentor meeting.
Starting out mentorships can be stressful for mentees, which is why establishing a relaxed environment could be helpful in leaving a positive impression on them.
Increasingly popular as a way to connect senior leaders with emerging talents, reverse mentoring offers groups an opportunity to learn from one another.
As we see more diverse ages and generations in the workforce today, we are able to take advantage of this by bringing a wealth of perspectives and skills to the workplace, which is particularly valuable in mentoring.
Attend a conference as a group mentoring activity to gain new and valuable insights for both mentors and mentees. Discover ways to increase your skills, expand your network, and get inspired by the latest industry trends.
Your mentoring participants have a variety of conferences they can attend that will help them meet the objectives of your program. If, for instance, the goal is to learn new skills, then you could find a conference centered on that topic. This helps meet mentoring program objectives while gaining knowledge from experts in the field.
Brainstorm bucket list ideas
Gather your colleagues for an inspiring group mentoring session to discover, discuss, and develop your bucket list ideas. Mentors can offer advice on how to achieve their life goals by helping their mentees brainstorm a list.
Brainstorming together will open up a world of possibilities and let you explore unique experiences that may not have been considered before. By pooling collective knowledge and perspectives, each participant can share their own personal dreams as well as encourage others to reach for theirs.
Organizing team-building activities promote collaboration, encourages creativity, and builds relationships between members of your organization.
These activities, like "Human Knot" and "Virtual Team Trivia," ultimately provide an opportunity for meaningful dialogue to encourage a more cohesive work environment where individuals are free to explore ideas while feeling supported by their peers.
How job shadowing works is simple: your mentees will watch you and observe what work looks like from your perspective. This can be particularly useful for younger workers, as they learn to appreciate the role you play in the organization and gain insight into the skills required for success.
With reverse mentoring programs, senior-level employees also get to view their workspace through the eyes of their younger colleagues. By doing so, everyone can benefit from collaboration and conversation.
Through roleplaying, employees can gain insights into each other’s strengths, weaknesses, communication styles, conflict resolution techniques, and work habits - all of which are invaluable for successful teamwork.
Group mentoring through roleplaying activities is also great for developing critical thinking abilities as well as creative solutions to challenging problems.
Exploring and discussing a book together makes it easier to learn for both you and your mentees. Not only can group book reading stimulate meaningful conversations among participants, but it can also help boost morale by bringing colleagues together in a relaxed atmosphere.
Consider books that are relevant to the mentor-mentee relationship or to the objectives of your mentorship program. With guided discussion points along the way, this team-building activity is sure to bring out everyone's creative sides.
Bring your mentees together for an engaging networking event that will build strong relationships and help them develop their professional skills.
Young employees may find networking uncomfortable because it is perceived as sleazy. To assist them, organize a networking event specifically for them or introduce more subtle and casual methods to help put them at ease.
Every effective mentoring program should begin with achievable goals in mind. While statistics are one way to measure progress, qualitative methods can also be effective when it comes to gauging success.
This group mentoring activity is designed to help employees develop and strengthen their professional goals. Through honest discussion, you'll be able to create a plan of action that will motivate each person to reach their objectives.
Volunteering as a group mentoring activity allows employees to build strong, reciprocal relationships among themselves and within the community.
Volunteers and the people they work with have a mutual understanding of one another's experiences, skills, and networks. This allows them to develop solutions that are locally sourced and supported.
What are the benefits of group mentoring for mentors and mentees?
There is no doubt that one-on-one mentoring has its benefits and should not be undervalued. However, group mentoring is an entirely different experience that offers numerous benefits to the organization on a variety of levels.
- Creates a safe, relaxed atmosphere - Mentors and mentees feel comfortable sharing their concerns and are more able to express themselves and learn from different perspectives in a group setting.
- Developmental benefits - Improved competencies and skills of employees through group mentoring and the acquiring of new ones.
- Provides multiple perspectives - Enables mentees to gain valuable knowledge from various backgrounds while also learning how individuals think differently about the same topic.
- Accelerates network building - Mentees get exposed to more potential contacts when working with a group mentor than when working with only one.
- Boosts mentor influence - Enables mentors to teach a larger pool of mentees at once and maximize their influence.
- Improves communication skills - Everyone develops better public speaking abilities and achieves professional recognition.
With an effective mentoring program, both mentors and mentees benefit from group mentoring.
Bottom line: How to get started with group mentoring
Group mentoring activities not only provide the opportunity for mentors and mentees to gain new insights from each other, but they also create a strong learning culture within organizations that will help employees grow professionally and personally.
With ample planning and implementation of these activities, workplaces can create successful long-term mentorship programs that benefit both mentor participants and the organization as a whole.
It may not be easy to get a group mentoring program off the ground, which is why platforms like Together can provide an ideal solution. Get rid of the hassle of installing multiple software, and use our platform to simplify mentoring setup in one convenient place!