Over the last three days, I have blogged about the mentoring communities I lead each year. Over the last thirty-one years I have mentored groups of high school students, college students, twenty-somethings, athletic directors, coaches, and mid-life executive leaders. On day one of my series, I blogged about what I look for in the people I choose to mentor. Yesterday, I wrote about the commitment I ask for in those I mentor. Today—I will write about what we do.
What We Do Over the Course of a Year:
1. Once I determine who will be in the group, we participate in a weekend retreat together, to get acquainted and to set an expectation for the year.
2. We meet once a month for discussion, accountability and to support each other. Our meeting lasts about three hours. Participants are to be punctual. If one person can’t make it they call everyone else and we often simply don’t meet that month.
3. We read one book a month and discuss it in our meetings. I suggest a list of books and allow the group to give me feedback if they wish to add or delete.
4. We discuss a major topic, which the book compliments, and I offer insights for them to reflect upon as they grow in a given area.
5. We agree to apply what we’ve learned in a specific “homework” assignment that corresponds to the topic of the month.
6. We hold each other accountable to practice what we talked about in each meeting. This means we begin each meeting by reflecting on how well we embodied the topic.
7. At the conclusion of the year, we meet again for a special dinner for a time of celebration, reflection and application. Each person shares who they will mentor and in what capacity they will lead, going forward.
It is amazing how life-changing this kind of experience is for leaders. Some have told me it is the single most impacting experience they’ve ever had. Most have never been mentored and most want to mentor others, once the know how. I challenge you to try it, if you haven’t yet.