How “mind mapping” can help mentors and mentees find activities

mind-mapBy Shawn Mintz (from MentorCity)

Brainstorm possibilities on how you can achieve your goals and create action-oriented plans.

Sometimes when you are in a mentoring relationship, you get stuck on what else you can do together. There are several activities that you can do to figure out your next steps, but let’s talk about one of my all-time favourite activities – mind mapping.

Mind mapping is when you write, draw and/or add pictures of a goal that you would like to achieve and then you brainstorm everything you need to do to achieve that goal. Honestly, I use mind mapping for everything. I have used mind mapping to help me overcome obstacles, visualize goals, write essays, create business plans, write this article and even plan my own wedding.

At the mentoring meeting

Start by taking out a large piece of paper – the bigger the better. Then, in the centre, write down your goal. With your mentor, brainstorm everything that you need to do to achieve that goal. Write down all of those ideas in circles around your goal and then use lines to connect them to your goal. Now, you can start expanding on each idea.

For example, one of my goals is to enhance my public speaking skills. So, I will write that in the middle of the page. Then around my goal, I will write that I would like to take acting classes, practice my skills more often, read books about public speaking, observe public speakers and find a mentor who is a public speaker.

Now I’m ready to start digging deeper into each action item. For taking acting classes, I will need to research classes on the Internet, ask friends for recommendations, read reviews, and then call the various schools to learn more about their curriculum, prices and to see if the class satisfies my needs.

The powerful thing about this exercise is that with your mentor, you can brainstorm ideas that you may not have thought of before. Be sure to write everything down and ignore the voices inside your head that may be making excuses as to why you would never do that or could never do that. Also avoid telling your mentor whether you have unsuccessfully or successfully tried a certain idea in the past. Capture everything – it will keep the ideas flowing.

After the mentoring meeting

Type all your notes into an action plan format by creating a table and labelling the columns Tasks, Due Date and Results. As you start typing, add new ideas that come to you, remove the not so good ideas and the ones that you don’t think will work.

You now have a dynamic action plan, which can continue to develop and evolve. Get started on it right away and remember to keep your mentor posted as you make progress – they will love to hear how you are moving forward based on the mind map that you created together. Your mentor can also help you to stay focussed on your goals and overcome any difficulties that you may come across as you implement this plan.