Skip Navigation

Is My Group a "Mentoring Group?"

Now that mentoring groups are becoming popular, more and more individuals are asking us, “Just what is a so-called mentoring group? I meet with a group of people, but I’m not sure it’s really a mentoring group.”

Good question.

A true mentoring group has as its main purpose helping each individual member develop personal competencies (skills and knowledge) and/or character attributes.

Skills could be: thinking strategically, making presentations, creating a video, or thousands of others.

Knowledge might include: how to get a proposal funded, an organization’s hiring policies, new federal laws, or thousands of other pools of information.

Character attributes include: loyalty, honesty, perseverance, and many others.

A Checklist for Mentoring Groups

Here are some characteristics of genuine mentoring groups. See if the collection of people you have in mind includes all or most of these features.

           The main purpose of the group is to help each individual develop personal competencies and/or character attributes.
           Each person in the group has at least one specific personal growth goal that he/she is working on with the help of the group. The goals could revolve around a similar need (e.g., to become a better leader) or be very unique to each individual in the group.
           The group is aware of each member’s goal(s).
           Individuals are working on their goals through “within-group” learning experiences (listening to presentations, engaging in discussions, asking and answering questions, giving each other specific feedback, doing group projects, practicing skills and character attributes on each other, etc.)
           Individuals are working on their goals through “outside-of-group” learning experiences (e.g., reading, taking classes, doing research, practicing skills and character attributes on people outside the group).
           Individuals report their progress on their goals to the group.
           The group holds the individuals accountable for reaching their goals.
8.            When individuals reach or make significant progress on their goals, the group celebrates.
9.            The group has one or more trained mentor-facilitators who act as mentors to each member as well as the facilitators of the group discussions.

How close does your group come to being a genuine mentoring group? Are you satisfied with its current emphasis and ways of operating? Would you like to introduce more of a mentoring element?

Is My Group a “Mentoring Group?”
by Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones

13560 Mesa Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95949, USA
Phone: 530.268.1146 Fax: 530.268.3636 e-mail:
All materials copyright © 2004 - 1998 CCC/THE MENTORING GROUP