The Triangle Offense of Mentoring

August 6, 2020

By: Jermaine N. Johnson CEO/Founder of Reality Check Mentoring, Inc.

When we think, speak, or hear about teamwork it’s often associated with sports or the workplace. Successful teams have strong communication, great leadership, organizational skills, focus on goals and results, and team members that contribute a fair share. Ideally, strengths and weaknesses are balanced among members of the team. Overall success comes from having a common understanding that everyone must work together. This same team mindset applies to mentoring and the mentor, mentee, and parent relationship.

One of the most successful basketball teams in the history of the NBA was the Chicago Bulls in the early 90’s. Of course a lot of that success is contributed to who most consider the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. But the teams’ success was also due to the offense they ran which was called the Triangle Offense. This offense was created to maximize the efficiency of a possession and to get the best shot possible. Before this offense became popular, most teams operated using isolation.

When it comes to mentoring, the focus is often placed on the importance of the mentor and mentee relationship. This is isolation. If we are to become truly effective with mentoring as mentoring programs and organizations, we must maximize the efficiency of possession of our mentees by actively including parents and guardians in our teams’ triangle offense. Triangles have three sides, three vertices, and three angles. Let’s apply this to mentoring and an equilateral triangle. The three equal sides consist of the mentor, the mentee, and the parent or guardian. All parties have an equal responsibility and role in creating the best shot possible that would contribute to wins in life of the mentee.

How do we ensure all team members are working together in this offense? We can ensure this through:

· Accountability

· Three way communication (Mentor, Mentee, Parent/Guardian)

· Reinforcement of lessons learned when away from the mentor

· Parent involvement in field experiences

· Surveys to obtain feedback from parents and mentees

The common acronym used for team is “together everyone achieves more.” Together our mentors, mentees, and parents can achieve more.