12 April 2022

Mentoring – Your Choices

Mentoring – Your Choices

Mentoring Panels – “One to One” / Mentoring Circles “One to Many”

Over the last ten years, Harvest has partnered with many organisations to set up internal mentoring panels, where we:

  • Work with a selected mentoring steering group (from the business and not HR/L&D led) to develop a mentoring framework that is fit for purpose for the organisation and the programme objectives
  • Design and deliver training for the mentoring cycle (mentors and mentees)
  • Build in review milestones and pre and post evaluation
  • Work to enhance the alumni of the programme where mentees pay it forward

However, we are now partnering with organisations to set up mentoring circles where the organisation has a one-to-many need.

We are now setting up more client partnerships that are focusing on mentoring circles, where there is a one-to-many need. Typically, mentoring circles have:

  • A mentoring circle programme coordinator (steering group) that creates a framework for how the process and each session will work
  • A mentoring circle coordinator (mentor) either creates mentoring discussion topics, asks potential participants (mentees) for pain points or aspirations, or asks potential mentors for areas of expertise they would be keen to share in a mentoring circle
  • After topics are selected, each group/topic is scheduled to meet about once every month or two to discuss the topic at hand. The mentor facilitates this
  • This arrangement dissolves if/when the subject is covered comprehensively, with the option for some of the mentees transitioning to a more traditional one-to-one mentorship with the mentor
  • The group format – we recommend that between six and eight are selected for each group. The mentor can be the same one allocated a group at the beginning of the journey, or the mentor can be rotated

Nisbet, McAllister & Heydon (2014) developed a framework for Peer Group Mentoring which contains many parallels with a Group Mentoring Circle. The key elements of that framework presented below have been adapted to fit an organisations Mentoring Circles Programme.



  • Dedicated/protected and regularly scheduled time for meetings

  • Frequent meetings

  • Meeting venue separate to usual workplace


  • Involvement of participants in planning of the group mentoring circle

  • Clarity of participant roles

  • Commitment by all to programme

  • Focus on rapport building

  • Diversity in group composition

  • Informal socialisation

Learning environment

  • Safe and supportive learning environment
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Creating space for reflection
  • Group interaction and feedback
  • Guided by a more experienced Mentor

*Adapted from Nisbet, G, McAllister, L., and Heydon, M. (2014). A Peer Group Mentoring Framework for the Development of Student Supervisors. MHCC, Sydney.

We would be delighted to chat to you about this initiative. It is particularly useful for new team members who have been onboarded remotely or in a hybrid environment, as it accelerates their knowledge of the company and their ability to navigate the relationships and the culture.