Each month during a Known Collective mentoring season, every mentee meets with another member of the group one-on-one. The goal is to get to know the other woman individually and to provide space where they can engage in conversations that matter and share feedback on that month’s topic and homework. By the end of the mentoring season, every mentee will have been “growth partners” with each person at least once. And hopefully, develop a closer relationship with one or two of them.
These Growth Partner relationships are one of the five elements that make up the “content” of a Known Collective group, along with Reading, Scripture Memory, Homework, and Prayer. Of these five, Growth Partners often get the least attention, both in meetings and outside. So, what can you, as the mentor, do to emphasize these relationships? Keep reading for a few ideas.
One co-mentor pair from Atlanta, GA, does a great job giving prominence to Growth Partners in their mentoring groups. Upfront, they set the expectation that the two growth partners should do more than meet once each month. They should be talking to each other on the phone multiple times, texting regularly, and really tracking with each other. And then, to reinforce the importance of these relationships, during their mentoring meetings, the mentors don’t ask each mentee how they’re doing, they ask each growth partner how the past month went for their counterpart. (This could be a separate meeting element or take place during regrouping time at the beginning of your meeting.)
Another mentor from Holland, MI, puts a different twist on the growth partner relationships. In addition to her full group meeting, she divides her mentees into subgroups. And then the subgroups meet during the month as well. She assigns a subgroup leader, whose job is to determine the meeting agenda. Usually, they talk about something relating to their monthly topic that probably won’t come up in the full group meeting, or they dive into a question that needs more unpacking than the normal meeting allows. Each month, the groups and the leaders rotate so that everyone can interact with each other in a smaller setting.
We’ve heard from other mentors who encourage their mentees to pair their growth partner meetings with an activity. Instead of just getting coffee or lunch, the growth partners go on walks or do a service project together. This typically creates a more extended time window than a 45-minute lunch and allows mentees to get a taste of how their growth partner lives outside the monthly meetings. Setting your mentees up for these types of interactions can help those who seem a little more introverted become more engaged in ways that are comfortable for them.
If one of our goals as mentors is to create an environment for authentic relationships to form, it’s essential that we create opportunities for bonding and connecting that meet our mentees where they are. Having everyone tell their story early is an effective way to light this fire, but it must be continually stoked and encouraged throughout the mentoring season if you really want the relationships in your group to ignite. Growth Partner meetings are an excellent opportunity to lean into the community aspect of your group. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Your mentees will benefit.
Question: What have you done to encourage your group to make the most of their Growth Partner meetings?
This article originally appeared on radicalmentoring.com.
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