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You can extend your organization's mentoring activities – particularly if resources are thin, with not enough qualified mentors to go round – by group mentoring. In this case, a number of people intent on learning gather together to help each other improve. In the Peer Bulletin, Lois Zachary, author of The Mentoring Guide, suggests three possibilities:

Facilitated group mentoring: The facilitator asks questions to draw out the accumulated wisdom of the group, as well as providing his or her own experience and serving as a sounding board. Example: Seven physicians meet once a month to talk about issues pertinent to their specialty area, picking an outside facilitator – usually a medical academician – based on the topic being discussed.

Peer group mentoring: Here the group takes responsibility for crafting its own learning agenda and managing the process and sessions themselves. They need to make sure that each member's learning needs are met and everyone derives the maximum benefit from the group's combined knowledge and experience. Example: Each participant presents a problem or issue, and all members respond with their thoughts.

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Team mentoring: The individuals in a team articulate their mutual learning goals and then work simultaneously with one or two mentors who guide them through a learning process. Example: Two mentors with different legal experience work with an internal group of law-firm associates to help them better understand what they do and how they do it.

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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