Use Cases for Limited-Session Programming
Micro-Mentoring is intentional pairing of a mentor and mentee for between one and three sessions focused on a very specific topic or skill. For more of an introduction, read our earlier blog post. Of course, it is possible to create programs with more than three sessions! But at some point we move from Micro-Mentoring to "regular" mentoring. What is most important is to use a structure and definition that make the most sense for your context.
Mentors and mentees meet once, either virtually or in-person. The session can be structured to include some pre- and post-reflection or follow-up, depending on the objectives. There are multiple use-cases for single-session programing. For instance:
Encourage informational interviews about roles, departments or sites for those considering career moves
Expand professional networks, and bring fresh perspectives to the work
Bring attention and focus to narrowly defined topic areas
You can run multiple single-session "events" to create more connections between staff and tap into multiple areas of expertise. If you have a limited number of experts in a particular area, multiple mentees can be paired with each expert to form small group coaching sessions.
Mentors and mentees meet twice, either virtually, in-person or one of each. The program can be structured to can include some pre and post reflection or follow-up. The two-session format provides an opportunity to include an activity or email touchpoint between the two meetings. These middle activities can vary depending on the topic, objectives of the mentoring or other intuitional factors, but can include the mentee:
Designing a plan, getting email feedback from the mentor and executing the plan before the next session
Taking action steps and reporting by email for feedback before the next session
Creating a work product for feedback that can be implemented before the next session (for instance an email communication to families, an analysis of student data and a differentiated lesson plan, etc.)
A program with a three-meeting structure can include different blends of virtual or in-person sessions. These provide the opportunity for two feedback touchpoints between the sessions. Because three meetings allow for some specific action steps between the meetings as well as reflection and follow-up, they are useful to:
Deepen engagement with topics where feedback on work products would be helpful to build confidence and expertise in between the two live sessions (lesson planning, differentiating activities, etc.)
Promote shared reflection with the second meeting as well as support identifying action steps or additional ways to progress
Provide more time for diagnosing the problems or identifying focus areas (useful when your development areas are broadly defined)
Allow for a quick session of meetings that aren't centered around a work product but where immediate feedback and reflection may be most helpful (for instance classroom management, family engagement, etc.)
For links to down loadable resources to support participants, visit our Micro-Mentoring Resources page.