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Show, Swap, Suggest: Mentoring

By January 29, 2015Teamwork

As we’ve been developing ideas for our upcoming TorFilm workshops, we’ve been trying to get our heads round effective ways of shadowing, or mentoring. I’ve been in situations where the idea is to be ‘learning on the job’ or observing how someone works, but so often the dots don’t seem to be fully joined up. Shadowing always requires initiative on the part of the shadower – to ask questions, to volunteer, to be enthusiastic to participate. But equally I think the person teaching has a large, if not greater role in enabling the shadower to take on board lessons that stick.

So we’ve developed our triple-S framework, and share it here in the hope that other mentors/trainers/teachers will find it useful!


Demonstrate, with explanation, the task been carried out.


Swap places with the person learning, so they can try it themselves.


Suggest what they could have done differently.

Working through these three steps, and repeating if necessary should help force the mentor to take the time to teach then observe then correct, rather than just teach and leave, and also encourage the learner to learn by doing as well as by hearing.

Of course, this takes longer than just doing the task yourself! Mentoring feels slow and the temptation is to just jump in and do it yourself. But the benefit of good mentoring is that the learner will soon be able to do the task themselves, and eventually free you up to teach others, learn new skills or focus your energy elsewhere. It’s essential for building a team from the ground up!

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