Mentoring Methodology

Apr 4, 2018

I think one of the most interesting insider bits is what our group coaching and mentoring methodology is. 

Bear in mind that it will be tweaked and changed after we get more experience and feedback from the community.

We have experimented with the different pieces of the methodology in early 2016 with a group of volunteers. I've used some parts before in a 1-on-1 mentoring and small groups mentoring.


The design of the methodology is based on several models and includes several requirements. The goal of methodology is to induce experimentation and systems thinking in your day to day activity by various stimulus.  

  • There should be initial commitment for change and getting out of comfort zone from the members taking part in the course.
  • There should be quick wins and fast initial results.
  • Well-defined agenda and first steps for all practices.
  • Constant external stimulus for every member.
  • Constant feedback and analysis-inducing activities.
  • Focus on changing mindset and provoking actions.
  • Mentors should not spend more than 10 hours a week on a course.
  • All members should naturally learn the methodology to be able to eventually apply it on their own.

We are using Shuhari as an easy guiding principle and Dreyfus Model as a more detailed blueprint to create a system.
It means that at the very beginning you will get a sequence of predefined practices and some basic fundamental ideas for studying. It is necessary to get you into the mood and flow of constant experimentation without the need to think "what step should I take next?" (This is how Course Automation get designed).

At later stages you will get a list of available practices and basic philosophical blocks (MTDV Dashboard) so that you can tailor the methodology for yourself and get your unique personal system of sustainable lifestyle and constant improvements.  

This is our Grand Goal - to teach people how to apply engineering practices to their lives and careers.

Basic Parts

Here are some basic parts we use to build the methodology:

  • Reframing.
    Reframing is an ability to show the system from a different "angle of view". It's the ability to find and see different possible points of view on the situation. Or the ability to figure out different influencing factors and relations between them.
  • Inquiry.
    Inquiry is a basic coaching practice of asking questions.  There will be a lot of introspective questions starting with "Why". Both from your side, from mentor and from accountability partner.
  • Context and Differential Analysis.
    Context Analysis is a basic skill for every engineering activity. You identify all the external parameters of the environment that may influence your system.
    In our case, you will analyse your circumstances, environment, mood and technique and compare it to others to find differences. Usually, those differences help spot the strongly correlating parameters, defining success or failure of a given practice.
  • Retrospection.
    Retrospection is a practice of "looking back" at some activity and analysing it. We use retrospection to induce critical thinking and raise awareness of personal context and obstacles.
  • Group commitment.
    We use the group dynamics to boost the personal commitment of every member of the group. This is a natural factor making members of the group more efficient than their default potential.
  • Accountability Partnership.
    This practice is a very good way to set up a short feedback loop and get a 3rd person view on your activity. Our brain is very good at optimizing energy and focus usage, which makes it quite easy to slip into unimportant activities. The practice helps stay on track and induce critical thinking.
  • Mastermind Groups.
    This practice helps to boost group commitment and overall critical thinking, as well as helping it's members to stay on track and pursuit common goal.
  • Money-induced commitment.
    We use money as filter for initial commitment and as an additional stimulation factor for group coaching. This effect is very well known in coaching circles and is used and advised by most entrepreneurs as a way  of focused learning.
  • Challenging Comfort Zone.
    Some practices are designed so that you face your limiting beliefs and fears in contradiction or in a challenging setup. It is necessary to show your subconscious that those situations are not "deadly" and that they are overrated. As a result, the new framing will allow you make better judgement of the reality.
  • Progress Metrics.
    We are going to track your progress, at least as MTDV Level based on Achievements Matrix. It create an additional incentive and stimulus and gives you one more tool for feedback.
  • Efficient mentoring.
    We are using mentor-mentee pairing based on Dreyfus model. This is why we have MTDV Achievements and will require everyone to get through the basic assessment.
    The best way to pair people is to have a gap of 1 step in Dreyfus skill levels. This is the case where mentor still remember the pain, but knows how to deal with it efficiently.


How does it look like when implemented? 

There is a group up to 20 people and a mentor who leads them through a predefined course, consisting of practical assignments and philosophical ideas. The group splits in 10 pairs, so that everyone has an accountability partner. 

The goal of the mentor is to help the group go through the practices, to identify and remove obstacles, to induce critical thinking and to reframe complex ideas.

The group will have a group retro every week (1hr). Every pair will have a personal hour (1hr) with the mentor once a week.

Every pair should have periodical accountability partner sessions - this is an important part of the methodology.

Higher-Level Concepts

When you will be ready to tailor the system for yourself, you will be basically applying scientific and engineering thinking to your environment: 

  • Defining the problem you want to solve
  • Making hypothesis to form the possible solution
  • Picking tools you have already tried to verify the hypothesis
  • Conducting experiments with short feedback loops
  • Verifying the results and including the solution in your sustainable lifestyle
  • Automating the solution via habits and internal motivation

This is the top level of engineering - when you can treat your life as a system and make long-term investments and tweaks which will optimize the whole system.

The double benefit you get out of that is that you will be able to work with other systems in the world (your career, your projects, mentoring, human relationships) the same way.


This methodology is useable in a 1-on-1 or small group setting. You can try using it with your mentees as well! 

Also, feel free to relay this information to anyone asking you about Metadevelopment!

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