Structuring Mentorship Time

I have a couple of dear colleagues and friends who serve as my professional mentors. We’ve met once a month, mostly over Skype, for the last 4-5 years. We’ve seen each other through many transitions, dramas, shake-ups and job changes.

When we started, we had a very simple structure to our time together. Each of us spent about 10 minutes reporting on:

  1. What are you currently working on?
  2. What challenges are you facing?
  3. What’s a question that you have?

This has served us pretty well for our sessions together. But now we’re at a good place to revisit that structure and see if there are ways we can better organize our time together.

I’ve had life coaches and advisers help me in the past. But typically these were medium to short-term relationships, focused often on a particular milestone or project I was working on. So our sessions were fairly focused on building out a presentation or moving into a new position at my company.

Our sessions are often similar to an emotional support group, but without the bad coffee and reliance on a higher power to get us through the day. It’s great just being able to count on two smart people who know your situation and ask what you need at that moment.

But my assumption is that there are other ways of structuring time with a mentor. Perhaps a format that involves more goal-setting, challenging assumptions, and pushing beyond your comfort zone. So we’re exploring what those formats might look like.

One idea is to adapt “consultancy protocols” that I’ve used in the past for team meetings. (One example.) These protocols are typically employed for projects that face a particular challenge or transition and required more minds to solve. But still might be helpful to look at.

Would love any ideas or suggestions, if others out there can suggest any.

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