The most common impression you probably have about mentoring is a one-on-one relationship between a less-experienced mentee and an older and wiser mentor. This is traditional one-on-one mentoring. Although one-on-one mentoring is important, It’s not the only way to do it. There’s also team mentoring.
In this article, we’ll examine what team mentoring is, its benefits, examples and the tools you can use to build a strong, functional team mentoring initiative in your workplace.
What is team mentoring?
Team mentoring or group mentoring is a situation where an individual serves as a mentor, overseeing multiple mentees. It can also be in the reverse, where a mentee has several mentors. It is a meeting of participants in a mentoring relationship, usually at fixed time intervals.
In group mentoring, the individuals making up the teams may have mutual learning goals and work with one or more mentors to facilitate their learning and development. It is commonly used when there is a shortage of mentors or a particular mentor has unique knowledge mentees can benefit from in an organization or for onboarding.
What are the benefits of team mentorship?
Like traditional mentoring, team mentorship is a mutually beneficial relationship for the mentors, mentees and their organization. Mentors and mentees can take part actively and share different perspectives on issues relating to their development. These open the doors to a healthier working relationship, improved knowledge transfer and better-skilled employees.
Let's explore other benefits of team mentorship below.
Skills and experience differ between generations, and this points to the need for making mentorship a two-way street. Team mentoring encourages collaboration among mentees and mentors for the achievement of their common goal of learning and development. It also opens up avenues for participants to ask questions, reflect and share stories. The result is a highly developed and distinct group of mentors and mentees with a broader understanding of complex issues affecting them.
Building strong team cultures
Most HR personnel and managers believe good pay is the best retention strategy. However, work culture is a key factor that attracts talent to a company. Team mentorship can help a company establish a sense of community among its employees. Also, by working in groups, mentees bond and build a strong network that improves their team spirit and, ultimately, workplace productivity.
A good mentoring relationship depends on the rapport between the mentor and mentee. It can sometimes be difficult to break the ice in one-on-one mentorship if you’re just meeting eachother for the first time. But with team mentorship, people with unique personalities are present, and settling into a comfortable relationship is easier. It also takes out the intimidation of one-on-one meetings. Team mentoring helps to build lasting relationships that reinforce communication, which creates a positive atmosphere in work environments.
Comfortable atmosphere for everyone
According to leanin.org, in the US, 60% of managers who are male and 40% of their counterparts in the UK feel uncomfortable working with women in common activities like mentoring. This can be challenging for women in a male-dominated workplace. However, with group mentoring, women can benefit from a male mentor without losing out. The mentor and mentees are more comfortable and able to share more information that will affect their relationship positively.
In organizations with a few people with the right mentoring skills, employees might miss out on vital developmental opportunities if there are no mentors to put them through. Team mentoring ensures people with the capacity to mentor have access to as many mentees as possible. This arrangement is also ideal for busy executives who want to increase their influence and make the most of mentoring relationships.
A workplace with people of varying backgrounds in terms of race, religious beliefs and culture will not only attract talent but likely keep it too. Diverse organizations are thrice more likely to succeed than non-diverse companies. Mentees and mentors develop different perspectives because of the presence of diversity, and their exposure to it through group mentorship. The diversity found in team mentorship is also a significant source of motivation and talent development.
Mentoring relationships can be beneficial for both parties when applied correctly. The mentor who plays an active role in guiding employees is developing his leadership skills and would get satisfaction from helping others.
What are examples of team mentoring?
There are several examples of team mentoring, depending on a person's needs. There is a group mentoring where mentees with similar goals come together. These mentees can work with a mentor or multiple mentors to achieve their career goals.
Another type of team mentoring is peer mentoring, where mentees act as their own mentors in a self-directed group. Also, you can organize a facilitated group mentoring. This is when you invite a trainer from outside the company to ask questions, facilitate the session, and support mentees in focusing on their learning and development goals.
As a mentee, you can have a team of mentors that grows and changes depending on the stage you are in your career.
How to start a mentoring program for your team?
First, you need to identify why your team needs mentoring, as mentoring has different purposes. It could be for leadership, career development, or other goals you are trying to achieve. Either way, mentoring is an excellent opportunity to grow your skills as a mentor or mentee.
Matching mentors to mentees might be a challenge unless you leverage Together, which has a customizable algorithm-assisted matching. This means you don’t have to worry about getting a generic match. The result depends on the information you provide, which the algorithm uses to intelligently match mentors and mentees. Just swing the magic wand on Together for your email template, custom domain, email template editor and multiple program support (one-on-one, group, reverse, fixed end date, continuous. etc)
No more manually adding data to spreadsheets to keep track of your mentorship programs, especially if you have several running at a time. You can also rely on Together for goal setting, action plan development, sending session reminders, feedback collection from all parties (mentors and mentees), surveys and tracking progress on mentorship programs.
What’s more? It is accessible on all devices and loaded with learning resources to get you started if you know next to nothing about mentoring. Together provides the right resources to make team collaboration easier and more effective.
In an environment that is supportive of learning and development, employees can support each other's growth through group mentorship. Team mentoring strengthens skills and encourages continuous learning, making it a win-win situation for the organization and the individuals involved.
Get started now with Together’s mentoring software which has all your mentoring needs in one place.