Less-is-more (LIM) mentoring means sometimes we teach more by doing less, and letting others do more. It’s the art of carefully not saying or doing anything, but observing and holding one’s peace.
And in this case, for me it means stepping into the background and letting students and new instructors take the stage as Natural Leaders running the show.
Here at Natural Leaders we're pushing LIM mentoring a step further, by actually delegating leadership of the class to the students. Students coordinate, take pictures, lead games, teach skills, watch out for dangers, tell stories, navigate and then report about our activities to the parents.
This puts students on the spot. They must take a risk, perform, venture into the unknown. It can be scary…
Sometimes it’s kind of a trial by fire. When we started out last fall, I had my doubts if this could work. But the students have impressed me, and continue to.
As mentors we hold a space for the students. We recognize, honor and inspire them. We share our thoughts, debriefing the teachable moments that students become open to only when they take on the leadership role and challenge.
Importantly, we help role model and cultivate a safe culture of support, respect and acceptance of every student, and his or her efforts.
Of course, beginning leaders don’t always do so well. Not as well as we adults would, or think we could.
But so what? That is the whole point, the learning process. We need to fail often to attain success.
But it is truly remarkable how quickly students attain competence when given the opportunity and position to. I am seeing young students performing roles at adult instructor level.
I think it's because of the need. As tracker and author Tom Brown Jr. hammers home repeatedly at his classes: “the greater the need, the greater the results.”
When students are assigned roles they discover that powerful NEED to learn, do and become. And the magic happens.