How to Get Started with Team Mentoring
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
By Chris Danek
If you have experienced being part of a high-performing team, you realize that even the best teams go through many ups and downs as they work together to reach their goals. One way to guide a team and improve performance? Bring in a team mentor. A team mentor is a guide who can help a team along its journey, helping it look inward or outside to recognize ways to continue improving.
When I talk about “team mentoring,” one of the first questions I hear is, “How do I get started?”
My simple advice: Start. Don’t label it as a “program.” Don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. Instead, think of it as an experiment. A prototype. A chance to prove results.
Try this simple quick-start formula for team mentoring
Identify a team that could use a mentor. Which team are you counting on most to create value for your organization? Which is struggling or overwhelmed?
Ask what that team needs most to improve its chances of success.
Find potential mentors for the team. Who could give the team a boost? Whose perspective would give the team an advantage? Who has the right combination of subject matter expertise + the ability to connect with the team in a way the team will accept?
Confirm buy-in. If you’ve gotten this correct, you will have created an easy YES and set up a situation where it seems obvious to the team, and your stakeholders, that supplying a mentor could only help the team and the business.
Test and refine with one team. Then, you can iterate and scale.
Repeat this process with three teams in your initial prototyping to maximize your learning. “Learn from Failure” is one of our critical human-centered design mindsets, and planning to work with several teams at the start will also increase the odds of success to build on.
→ TRY IT: How could you test out team mentoring? What teams could you help with? How could you take this concept and make it real in your organization?