When embarking upon the difficult task of being a mentor, either in the workplace, school environment, or social programs, one valuable tool available to to make the mentor’s job easier is the use of mentoring games. By taking the concepts down to a fun and playful level, the mentor may be able to communicate higher level concepts to his or her pupil, despite their limited understanding of the entire system for which you, as a mentor, are there to help them navigate. Mentoring games can expand your influence on the learning process in a way that will foster independent thinking and exploration.
One way to use mentoring games effectively is to encourage a type of role playing technique which will challenge your subject to make choices they are uncomfortable with in a safe and controlled environment. When a problem or decision arises that they may have difficulty navigating have them write down a list of pros and cons based on the various outcomes of each of their choices. When they are done, have them act out the result of their decisions and really place themselves in a mindset of having made the choice in either direction. This game will help them look at the problem from a final point of view perspective. Be careful to only guide them in this and allow them to identify the outcomes of each choice. When you see they are missing something that they should have considered, continue the mentoring game by asking questions which may lead them to identify the true obstacles in their path. This and other similar mentoring games will encourage independent identification of their choices and potential outcomes.
Many mentoring games can be played in an effort to expand the knowledge of the individual while allowing them the chance to make mistakes with little actual negative impact. You can tailor these mentoring games to the specific lesson or situations you as a mentor feel need to be address independently, while still allowing yourself to be a wealth of knowledge and experience. By helping them play out the aspects of the a real situation that will effect them in the future in a fun and nonthreatening way, you are also teaching them a way of thinking and problem solving which can be valuable to their growth. Mentoring games can provide a soft touch to the mentoring process which can be the most lasting impsct of all your advice and guidance.