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Mentoring Guidelines

The Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society (GPTS) values thought-provoking discussions. To help ensure our new discussion leaders understand our way of guiding discussions we are developing a mentoring process. This is a work in progress: please suggest improvements.

Since every human being has unique strengths and weaknesses, the mentor should try to assess the new discussion leader's strengths and weaknesses to make a customized mentoring plan. There is no "right" way to mentor and no "right" way to lead discussions. Even our experienced discussion leaders are learning all the time and occasionally try an experiment that flops.


  • New discussion leaders should attend at least two GPTS events led by different leaders before they lead a discussion on their own.
  • Set a date and topic for the discussion. Get it penciled into the calendar (please post a "note" to the calendar to reserve a date).
  • Ask them to write a title. If their title isn't compelling enough, this may become an interactive joint design project to improve it.
  • Ask them to write a description for the event. Review that description and work with them to refine it.
  • Schedule the meetup listing the new leader as 'Event Host' with you (or another mentor who will help the new leader at the event itself).
  • Let them post and/or tweak the description (event hosts can do this).
  • Remind them about our Discussion Leader Guidelines.
  • Advise them about the importance of being clear and concise while providing space and encouraging others to speak.
  • Advise them to prepare their presentation so those outside their areas of expertise can easily understand the subject.
  • Negotiate a division of responsibilities during the meetup.

    • Prior to the meeting discuss with the new leader what kind of support they would like, need, or want and fill in as needed.
    • For at least the first meetup led by the new discussion leader, The mentor should do normal business at the beginning and then introduce the new leader. At that point let them take over and step in with assistance as needed.
    • As they lead more meetups, let them take over more and more of the administrative details at the beginning of the meeting. [Note: some discussion leaders may want to prepare content for discussion and may never assume any administrative functions. We welcome such leaders as they help us to present more interesting topics than our core group of discussion leaders could ever hope to provide.]
  • After the meeting provide kudos and one or two suggestions to improve.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Our Discussion Leaders August 30, 2017 9:28 AM CJ F.
Mentoring Guidelines February 21, 2016 10:16 AM CJ F.
Discussion Leader Guidelines February 21, 2016 10:01 AM CJ F.
Frequently Asked Questions November 4, 2016 8:21 AM CJ F.
About Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society August 4, 2016 5:05 PM CJ F.

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