Why the role of mentor?


Why the role of mentor?

The 100-Day Challenge team operates outside the existing organisational accountability structures. It is commissioned by a group of leaders who typically represent multiple organisations. So, the team is accountable to this group of leaders. 

But we all know how hard it is to have multiple people to be accountable to. This is why, in 100-Day Challenges, we ask the group of leaders that commissioned the 100-Day Challenge team to elect one or two representatives to provide a more focused point of accountability for the team. We refer to these representatives as “Team Mentors”.

The Ambassadors, by contrast, were not elected by the leaders. They do not represent the leaders. Their role is to guide and support the 100-Day Team and to advise the Mentors. 

So there is an accountability relationship between the 100-Day Challenge Team and Team Mentors. The team, or team leaders, “report” to the Mentors. However, it is important to note that one of the reasons that 100-Day Challenges are so impactful is that they prescribe a very unique way to handle power within and between organisations. So even though Mentors are in a position of power vis-a-vis the team, 100-Day Challenges are an opportunity for Mentors to practise “power with” and “power through” the team versus “power over” the team. 

This is what we refer to as leading from a place of curiosity and “confident humility”. 

So the two roles are different, and both are important and needed. More often than not, both Ambassadors and Mentors provide support to the team (and especially the team leaders). 

However, at times, the Ambassador will advise and coach the Mentor to play a heavy-handed role with the team if, for example, team members start deprioritising their commitment to the goal they set for themselves. This heavy-handed role cannot be played by the Ambassador, as the team does not report to the Ambassador, but it can be played, if needed, by the Mentors. 

Thought starter reflection questions

Jot down thoughts on these questions – to the extent they are relevant to your experience at the session:
  • When did the mood in the event shift from “why are we here?” to “this could be interesting – I am excited to be part of this.” What triggered this shift? 
  • When did you have to go “off script” on the agenda or to change the agenda? What triggered this? What did you adjust? How did it go?
  • What was most surprising to you at the event?
  • What new insights did you gain about the issue at hand, and about the way leaders in the system interacted with each other?
  • Where did the conversation get stuck? What got it unstuck?
  • How would you characterise the level of trust among participants in the meeting? To what extent did this shift as the meeting progressed? To what do you attribute this shift, if indeed it happened?

Thought starter...

Reflection Questions 

Jot down thoughts on these questions – to the extent they are relevant to your experience at the session:

  • When did the mood in the event shift from “why are we here?” to “this could be interesting – I am excited to be part of this.” What triggered this shift? 
  • When did you have to go “off script” on the agenda or to change the agenda? What triggered this? What did you adjust? How did it go?
  • What was most surprising to you at the event?
  • What new insights did you gain about the issue at hand, and about the way leaders in the system interacted with each other?
  • Where did the conversation get stuck? What got it unstuck?
These are 100-Day Challenge Mentors. 

They did some work before you received the Challenge Note. This included:

  • Writing the Challenge Note, and making sure that the leaders of all the organisations represented on the team are comfortable with it – and committed to supporting the work of the team
  • Helping the leaders of these organisation recruit you and your colleagues to the team
  • Gathering some baseline data and other information that will help you and your teammates set your 100-Day goal and develop your plan.
  • Making sure all the preparations are made for a successful Lift-Off workshop, when you and your teammates will meet and get your 100-Day Challenge started. This includes venue, facilitation support, food, swags, comms, travel arrangements and whatever else is needed.

 

Mentors will participate in all or part of the Lift-Off Workshop, mostly at the start to provide context and answer questions, and at the end to give you and your teammates feedback about the goal and plan you develop.

During the 100 days following the Lift-Off Workshop, here’s what the Mentors will do:  

  • They will check in every two weeks with the team leaders to see how the team is doing and what support they and the team need.
  • They will keep other organisational leaders informed and engaged during the 100 days, and pull them in to help as needed.
  • They will participate in the last part of the Refuelling Workshop, halfway through the 100 days, to see what additional support the team needs, and to begin to plan with the team for sustainability and scale-up.
  • They will work with the team at the Sustainability Workshop to finalise recommendations on sustaining the results and building on the work of the team.