In a leadership development class I was teaching yesterday, one of the participants mentioned that their employer offers
regular speed mentoring opportunities and it occurred to me a lot of you may not be familiar
with this term or concept and what it is. So I’m sharing real quickly.
Simply put, speed mentoring includes brief conversations between multiple mentors and mentees on specific topics in rapid succession. Yes, in other words, it’s basically the same thing as speed dating, but instead it’s focused on mentor and mentee relationships.
Benefits of Speed Mentoring
So why is speed mentoring such a great thing?
- Networking: Well, if you think about it, first and foremost, the networking potential, even if you don’t end up establishing a long term mentoring relationship with those individuals you meet, you get a rapid-fire networking opportunity, side benefit number one.
- Multiple Perspectives: Second benefit is multiple viewpoints. If you go into these sessions (as is encouraged) with a theme or similar set of questions for each prospective mentor, you end up with multiple viewpoints on the topic you’re asking about.
- Mentor Selection: And third, you get to self-select those relationships going forward. One of my biggest complaints about mentoring relationships is they often feel forced when done by the employer.Now, don’t get me wrong. Having a good mentoring program as a part of your company’s leadership development program is a huge benefit, and you should definitely be doing it. However, I’ve found from my career that the best mentor mentee relationships I’ve had over the years have been the ones that have sort of self-selected where we just kind of met and it came out of a more informal mechanism. So it’s definitely better, from my opinion, when the mentor and mentee kind of self-select, rather than being formally paired through a program.
Opportunities for Speed Mentoring
So where should we be doing speed mentoring?
- Your Organization: Well, first and foremost, you should be doing it in your organization. If you don’t already have speed mentoring opportunities, and you’re a good sized organization, get one set up.
- Professional Associations: Second, professional associations. I don’t know why more professional associations are not offering this as a part of their regular program. There is not a high cost involved and it’s a great opportunity for your members.
- Conferences & Events: And third, different conferences and live events every conference and live event should be offering speed
mentoring opportunities. It just it makes perfect sense. Again, it’s helpful for your members, for your attendees. No reason not to be offering these very low cost, huge benefit to participants. I highly encourage it.
And there you have it. Speed mentoring. In a nutshell.
If you or your organization are not already offering speed mentoring, you should be! Reach out to your company
or your employer. Reach out to your professional association. Reach out to the event organizers for the event you’re coming up to.
If there’s not a speed mentoring session set up and you or your organization would like some assistance getting that set up, please reach out to me and let me know. I’d be happy to help.
I’m Ben Lichtenwalner. And until next time, keep serving.