Group Mentoring: 4 Red Flags


Group mentoring offers some very rich opportunities for promoting group and individual learning.
While group mentoring multiplies the learning, it can only do so when members of the group intentionally and effectively work at strengthening relationships between and among themselves.

What are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid when it comes to group mentoring?

11. Jumpstarting the process without first building trust. Too often group mentoring participants — particularly peer mentors — are so eager to get started that they jump right into mentoring without taking enough time to establish and build trust among themselves. In group mentoring, all mentoring partners must feel safe before they can feel comfortable enough to be open with one another and to experience significant learning.



22. Failure to acknowledge difference. It is easy to assume that by virtue of being in a group, group members share common interests. While it is quite true that they may share some things in common, they are unique individuals and each brings who they are into the relationship. When members fail to understand their own and each other’s’ uniqueness, they miss out on the opportunity to learn from different perspectives.



33. Not fully committed to the process. When individuals are required to participate in group mentoring, they may fail to engage fully in the process. They may choose instead to sit back passively or withhold their opinions. Inevitably, it is the group that misses out. Lack of engagement impacts the learning of the entire group.




44. Failure to engage in conversation. Mentoring groups may sometimes say that they engage in “conversation.” What they are actually doing, though, is participating in a series of transactions or interactions. It is only when mentoring partners fully engage in conversation that deeper insights emerge. Conversation that demands collaborative engagement accelerates learning and takes group mentoring to a whole new level.

Getting Group Mentoring Started


There appears to be a groundswell of interest in group mentoring. New formats and forms of group mentoring are emerging all the time and in different industries and setting around the globe.
In group mentoring individuals either mentor each other or rely on one or more individuals to facilitate the learning of a group of mentees. Mentoring groups can be peer-led or facilitated by one or more experts who serve as group mentors.

10 Best Practices for Getting Group Mentoring Startedgroup_session_800_clr_5156

  1. Get to know the members of your group— not just their business titles but who they are as people.
  2. Clarify the purpose of the group. What is the purpose of your group and what do you want to accomplish?
  3. Decide on the process you are going to follow. Who will lead the group? What process will be used to make sure that participants receive what they need from the group?
  4. Define roles and responsibilities of group members so that each participant is clear about what is expected of them.
  5. Make everyone feel safe by putting confidentiality agreements in place.
  6. Talk about personal and group boundaries and how to address potential stumbling blocks, when and if they occur.
  7. Establish an agreed-upon set of ground rules. Will there be an agenda? When is the group going to meet? What happens if someone’s attendance is inconsistent or infrequent?
  8. Discuss each person’s learning style and how individual learning styles might affect the learning that goes on in the group.
  9. Agree on when and how to bring the group to positive closure. How will you know it is time for the group to come to closure?
  10. Establish an accountability process to help the group and its members stay on track. Is the group meeting its goals?