+Ian Milton has written a short post on how he found the first experience... Ian had never attended anything like this before..
At the appointed hour a mix of business people gathered in a virtual space with a facilitator and timekeeper, all set to embark on a new venture and way of developing businesses.
This then was the beginning of the first OMG or Online Mentoring Group which took place on 9th November at noon and lasted for two hours and 45 minutes, which seemed at first as though it may be a marathon. Actually once it was under way, the time sped away and before I knew it we were at then end of the session.
We began by introducing ourselves briefly and rapport building began as we sorted out microphones, camera angles and all the fun stuff you have with cyber meeting places. Dalek voices were de rigeur for the first fifteen minutes or so until replacement mics were unearthed.
After we had been introduced to the rules and timing (essential for smooth running and meeting time constraints), three members of the group were invited to outline their issue during the session. The three had been previously agreed and so there was some preparation involved. I was one of the three selected for this month.
Each 40 minute issue follows a proven process. Five minutes to explain to the group what the issue appears to be (not always the real issue). Following on from this ten minutes for the rest of the group to ask questions in order to gain more clarity on the issue. Rules were adhered to! At the merest suggestion of a solution came out during this phase, the facilitator nipped it in the bud and gently brought us back to the rules.
Questions only please! Following this a 15 minute ideas / suggestions section. During this time the issue holder, writes profusely. A tough section... lots of grey matter firing up and an opportunity to learn from those in the group as they share their thoughts, experience and wisdom.
The final part of each segment (10 minutes) is the chance for the issue holder to choose from the group's ideas and suggestions, what actions (if any) they would pursue in the coming month. A very important element as what's agreed here is that which we're to be accountable for next month. Additionally we'll be posting these into a Private Google community set up so we can update on progress and continue the conversation during the month.
Although this is the first time we had ‘met’ as a group there was an openness and honesty among us. The space created is non judgmental and allows us all the opportunity to take on board new ideas (or not). It is quite challenging at the start to be honest, but nevertheless I trusted my peers to treat me with the respect I afforded them and they did not let me down. There was compassion and respect in spadefuls.
The facilitator did a great job of being firm, fair and immensely helpful keeping us all on track and reminding us of the ground rules and timing at all key points. This meant that what may have proven to be quite a tricky and ungainly first foray into OMG instead, was a very positive experience.
I came out of this first OMG with no bruises, emotional scars or scraped knees but with a group of business colleagues, nay, friends that I know now that I can rely on to be honest, open, respectful, non judgmental, helpful, funny, caring, and above all trustworthy. I count it an honour and privilege to be counted among them.
OMG!I would like to thank Ian for taking the time to write this post.