When the term “mentoring” is used in a business context, it is most commonly pictured as the wise, grey-haired senior executive having lunch meetings with an up-and-coming younger employee. There’s nothing wrong with that picture, and it’s probably still the most common form of mentoring in business. But have you also considered the power of peer mentoring, which happens between peers, colleagues, and possibly even competitors?
Mentoring isn’t only for passing on wisdom and experience in one direction, especially now, when everybody – even the newest graduates or youngest team members – bring valuable skills, experience and insight to the organisation. Peer mentoring, where people with complementary skills and experiences mentor each other, allows you to capture these skills and maximise these opportunities.
The best-known example of peer mentoring is a mastermind group, where people meet regularly to share ideas, questions, answers, and insights with each other. The mastermind group, popularised by Napoleon Hill in the book “Think and Grow Rich”, is formed primarily to help its members, who generally work independently of the group, but seek advice, guidance and counsel from the group.
Here are a few ways to engage in peer mentoring:
- Create or join a mastermind group of your peers.
- Explore the opportunities that are already available within your professional association or industry group.
- Encourage your team members or employees to create or join their own mastermind group.
Another form of peer mentoring happens across organisations and industries, where people with different skills come together as a group. For example, an accountant, lawyer, marketing expert, IT expert, and financial planner might form a group to help each other and act as an informal “board of directors” for each other. Their diversity helps to broaden the outlook for everybody, and they can also offer informal advice within their respective areas of expertise.
Yet another kind of peer mentoring is “buddying”, where two peers with similar goals help each other. You can even use this in addition to other mentoring. For example, if two of your team members are being mentored (separately), you could invite them to be “buddies” for each other, so they keep each other accountable and learn from each other’s experience as well as their own.
How can YOU get some peer mentoring?
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get – and give – mentoring in this way. It’s a powerful way to share ideas, ask and answer questions, and get laser-focussed advice for your business.