Women in Localization, an organization led by industry female powerhouses since 2008, held its second Mentoring Matters event aimed to provide guidance and support to both avid newcomers and seasoned professionals. This time around, they tried the TGROW model of coaching among the attendees. I may be biased, but these are some reasons why I think it turned out to be a brilliant approach.
1. Duh, it’s women!
With no intention of turning into a sexist argument, there seemed to be an implicit understanding of the way women face and deal with challenges. They embraced it, and once one opened up, this instant sisterhood invited you to connect and share.
2. Mask off
Using the TGROW model implied tackling a challenge. Unlike most events where you show up, recite a beautifully crafted elevator pitch and appear as put together as possible, admitting you have a problem, or at least that there’s room for improvement and growth in the way you operate, immediately evened the playing field.
3. Mentor vs. mentee
This was my favorite part because it switched my perspective unexpectedly. I assumed there would be a selected panel of experts that would lecture us into wisdom. It turned out that we all suddenly became mentors too. How genious was this? First, having a fresh pair of eyes giving you a new viewpoint is invaluable. Regardless of background, we could all contribute to a solution. Second, you can’t force compatibility by assigning a mentor to a mentee (or vice versa), but when you leave it up to them, birds of a feather flock together! It was a very smart dynamic that kept us engaged the whole time and that will most likely spark collaborations in such an organic way.
4. And there was light
The whole point of the TGROW exercise was to guide us to brainstorm options, possible solutions, and ultimately, a useful course of action. By asking questions, reframing scenarios, and listening to our own ideas out loud, a lot of us came to the realization that we might just have the answers we’re looking for. And furthermore, new plans we hadn’t really considered that might very well be worth a try!
5. Meaningful networking
It goes without saying that these kind of events are an opportunity to network. What was particular about this one is that it went far beyond the usual business card extravaganza. It got personal. In fact, it doesn’t get more personal than sharing your goals, some of them not even work related, to what would seem complete strangers as you meet them. This event was able to prompt that, and that was pretty special.