Scaling up mentoring programmes using Technology Enabled Collaborative Activities (TECAs)
Mentoring, or the act of sharing personalised knowledge, skills and experience from one person to another, holds immeasurable value, impacting not only professional development but also personal growth. Regrettably, it seems that both individuals and their unique insights remain an underutilised resource at most companies. Mentoring is a process with enormous potential to change lives, increase productivity, reveal answers to difficult questions, inspire leadership, encourage growth, and nurture self-esteem. Research has found that peer mentorship has positive impacts on a wide range of behavioural, attitudinal, health-related, relational, motivational, and career outcomes, especially in workplace and academic settings.
However, mentoring has slowly moved away from what we thought was its secret sauce — the mentor-mentee connection. It has transformed into a somewhat dry and mundane experience of juggling calls and schedules, without focusing on building relationships and exchanging ideas.
We found the following factors can create positive and effective mentoring experiences :
Collaborative: Collaboration in mentoring means that both the mentor and mentee actively contribute to the learning process. It involves open communication, peer-to-peer learning, and a partnership approach to achieve mutual goals.
Interactive: Interactivity implies that the mentoring relationship is dynamic and engaging. It encourages dialogue, questions, and discussions, ensuring that both mentor and mentee actively participate and exchange ideas.
Flexible: A flexible mentoring approach allows for adaptability to both parties changing needs and circumstances. Keeping up with the times, it should also be able to adapt to mentor and mentees' schedules.
Focused on peer-to-peer learning: Emphasising that mentoring is not just a one-way transfer of knowledge from mentor to mentee. Instead, it encourages a peer-to-peer exchange where both can learn from each other's experiences and perspectives.
Not Boring!: To keep the mentoring experience engaging and effective, it should avoid monotony and dullness. Incorporating interesting activities, discussions, and real-life examples can make the process more enjoyable and impactful for both mentor and mentee.
A new TECA: Mentor-Mentee Learning Experience
At Gamoteca we decided to do something about this. We went to the drawing board and thought about what was most important to the mentoring experience.
We know that if done correctly, the mentoring process can be one of the best ways to learn, develop, and grow both professionally and personally — regardless of whether you are the mentor or the mentee. But, for that to happen, the mentoring process has to be collaborative and engaging. To us, mentoring is not and cannot be a one-way street.
How do we do this? Staying true to our human-centred design process, our goal for our next Technology Enhanced Collaborative Activity (TECA) was guided by a simple “How Might We…” statement:
How Might We… design a TECA that prioritises human connection between mentees and mentors?
We focused on what we do best — created Technology Enhanced Collaboration Activities (TECAs). So, mentors and mentees can focus on what’s most important — learning and sharing. We wanted to focus our TECA on where it matters — sharing information, ideas and relevant knowledge, delivered in a way that is accessible and engaging. Just because your mentor may be in another continent, doesn’t mean that you have to settle for uninspired virtual calls! Technology has grown tremendously to support meaningful collaboration across oceans — and that is the sweet spot of our Mentoring TECA. We piggyback on technology to ensure that human connection is not lost.
So, try the Mentor-Mentee Learning Experience and add some fun back into your mentoring experience. Come for the experience, stay for the TECA!