Finding mentors & advisors: 1:1 or a roster?

A couple of weeks ago I attended a really interesting seminar at Orbital here in NYC.

The hosts Gary and Christina had just finished up teaching their ‘Teach The 1k’ program at the SVA Design School, and this session was for them to share what they taught (and just as importantly, what they learned).

Note: Gary & Christina are shortly appearing on the Tickets podcast, so for the full Teach The 1k story make sure you subscribe 🙂

There was a ton of good stuff they shared – here’s just one little nugget.

We all know how important networks are: everyone talks about building a network, networking, hustling, connecting; all that stuff.

It’s less often that we actually visualize what’s available, and see what the network can do. This can be particularly valuable for people who are coming into a new situation or circumstance with a very limited network – and more pertinently, limited access.

This was the case for many of Gary & Christina’s SVA students.

On these two slides they showed us the benefit of adding advisors to the program, and the impact a roster of advisors could have on each student.

Here’s ‘before’:

And here’s after:

This is pretty obvious, but what’s worth noting here is how the roster of advisors can easily create a ‘spray’ effect.

Just by adding a handful of engaged, invested people to the students and their projects, the Teach the 1k team were able to augment a student’s existing network and add a bunch of spokes that could spray out into all kinds of interesting directions.

I’ve seen first hand from my own work with young people that access is one of the biggest challenges many of them experience – this method of using the roster massively helps with enabling access and the opportunity to build a network of meaningful relationships.

I’ve also been involved in numerous programs where we’ve opted to utilize a 1:1 mentorship system rather than roster-based.

Both have their advantages.

The key for any learning design team is to think through whether the members of the cohort most need to go specialized and deep, or spread out and discover.

And this isn’t limited solely to education programs; it’s just as relevant for executives, entrepreneurs, and independents.

We can all benefit from support in one way or another – a great first step is to visually map out your network to figure out who and what you need to get where you want to go. From there you can decide if you’re drilling down deep or placing more spokes around your existing hub.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.