Dear Facilitators and Participants,
Consider how rich our understanding of the world could be and how much more impactful our coordinated actions if we could effectively integrate different perspectives across silos? How effective we could be if we expressed ourselves honestly and received support in growing towards our full potential? How much we might learn by relying on one another and being willing to really listen and let ourselves be seen?
This Toolkit is an iteration of an ongoing experiment to grow significantly more healthy collaborative relationships to help address the urgent needs in our world. The program is founded on the premise that strategic dialogue across the silos of age, race, class, issue focus (to name a few) can help us reach a more informed understanding of the problem at hand, and a more strategic approach to solutions. Originally designed to support strategic dialogue specifically within the climate movement, this toolkit is meant to be adapted and improved. Here are some suggestions for you in crafting your own co-mentorship experience, drawing from four years of learning and experimentation:
- Co-mentorship can be very different from the framework of traditional mentorship, where one person is ‘the expert’ and the other is an ‘empty vessel’. While this kind of relationship can serve a valuable purpose, it is different than the model we are offering here. The co-mentorship relationship we hope to support with these resources identifies both participants as teachers and learners. It is critical to enter the relationship with shared buy-in on this framing, and to revisit it again to make sure each person is contributing to their full potential.
- It is also critical that the match is done thoughtfully. In fact, this is possibly the most critical component of a successful co-mentorship program. Are pairs compatible interpersonally? What do they have to offer one another? Are they able to meet in person?
- To set participants up for success, encourage individuals to state their goals and expectations for the program early on. Why are they interested in the program? What are they looking to get out of it? What do they have to offer a co-mentor? What are they most eager to learn about? Participants can share this in an application or pre-survey, and should share it again with their match during one of the first few meetings.
- Finally, it is important to strike a balance between structure and flexibility. This toolkit provides a progression of self-facilitating activities that can be utilized as is, adapted, or ignored. It’s important to let pairs decide what works best for them, and encourage people to respond to organic conversation that feels powerful and timely.
We hope this toolkit is useful to you, and encourage you to adapt it and share it with others.
~The Climate Generation Team