A mastermind mentoring circle focused on determining the best strategies for each circle member to get quick results on their chosen project or goal


In the everyday world, S.W.A.T. teams are elite, highly disciplined special forces in law enforcement who are trained for laser-focused execution.  The S.W.A.T. Mentoring Circle is a unique talent development component that encourages laser-focused discipline on solving urgent problems, using the power of innovation, group think and execution.

Mentoring circle participants bring to a circle session critical business or leadership challenges.
They are then guided through a peer mentoring model, based on the foundation of the learning
concept called action learning. SWAT Mentoring Circles_Cover

Participants take advantage of the crowd-sourcing of ideas to help each member of the mentoring circle to achieve faster success than they could have ever achieved on their own. S.W.A.T. is an acronym for SDL’s proprietary mastermind mentoring model, which stands for:

  • STRATEGY– Creating a strategic focus on an urgent problem
  • WISDOM – Using collective wisdom and group think to source solution alternatives
  • ACTION– Defining a plan of actions and next steps
  • TACTICS – Executing the tactics of the action plan, course correcting when needed


Karan Ferrell-Rhodes, CEO of Shockingly Different Leadership, is a certified action learning coach from the World Institute of Action Learning and would love to bring this cost-effective
concept of mentoring circles to your organization!

Intrigued? Then let’s learn more!

What is the Difference Between Group Coaching & a Mentoring Circle?
Both group coaching and mentoring circles are valuable development tools. Although both use similar processes, there are some key differences.

Mentoring is a power-free experience where your facilitator and circle members help you to discover your best course of action, based on the insights you and the circle discuss.

Coaching has a set agenda to reinforce or change skills and behaviors. The coach ensures there is an objective or goal for each discussion that relates to skills/behaviors.

Implementing a S.W.A.T. Mentoring Circle is popular for those individuals or organizations wanting to help their people solve an issue or problem in a short amount of time.

Need coaching instead? We can help.

How does a S.W.A.T. Mentoring Circle work?
Each circle session is facilitated by a certified action learning coach to help facilitate optimal learning.

Circles can be focused on 1 pre-determined topic or each circle member can identify their own topic.

During each mentoring circle session, each member has a time slot to update the circle on:
1.  what has happened with their problem since the previous session and
2.  what is their new priority for help and assistance.

Both the action learning coach and circle participants help mentor you during your time slot and you return the favor for your fellow circle colleagues.

Participants tell us that they not only benefit from the personal mentoring from so many different perspectives, but they also find extreme value from hearing the challenges and lessons learned by their fellow circle members. The circles, which can be virtual or in-person, are commonly comprised of 4-8 individuals per circle. The mentoring circle experience is approximately 90 minutes per meeting and is spread out over a minimum of 3-6 weeks.

What Does a Typical Mentoring Circle Agenda Look Like?

 PRE-SESSION: A brief 1-on-1 “meet and greet” with action learning coach

 ORIENTATION & CIRCLE MEET & GREET: There will be a brief orientation with all circle members to allow everyone to introduce themselves, to train everyone on the circle process, and to explain the brief pre-work required before the first session.

 MENTORING CIRCLE SESSIONS: Circles then will experience weekly or bi-monthly sessions

 Group Q&A SESSION (if more than 1 mentoring circle is established in an organization):  Question and answer session with the members of ALL the different S.W.A.T. Mentoring Circles who are participating in the program to talk about the experience, best practices, and lessons learned

 S.W.A.T. Mentoring Circle Guidebook & Resource Guide

 Email support between sessions

Want a Crash Course on Action Learning?

See this great video from our colleagues at Sage Ways Consulting

Mentoring Circle Quick Facts

Benefits of a Mentoring Circle:

  • knowledge sharing is amplified
  • team development occurs without a specific team building exercise
  • relationships are created and/or strengthened around a common business purpose
  • individual and collective leadership capacity is increased

How Participants Benefit

  • Will enhance cross-departmental connections
  • Will further develop innovation, problem-solving, and execution skills
  • Will create a space of trust and rapport amongst colleagues and co-workers
  • Will accelerate ability to achieve big, hairly goals, even in the midst of ambiguity

Ideal For:

Those with a career challenge, leadership goal, problem or challenge that is a priority to solve.

Mentoring circle participants must be committed and dedicated to both doing what it takes to catapult themselves, while also being willing to “pay it forward” by helping the other members in the circle.

We’ve discovered that critical personality qualities of circles members include being: execution-focused, level-headed, patient, adaptable, disciplined, brave, dependable and knowledgeable . . . all with a level of high integrity and follow-through.

Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Get in touch to bring mentoring circles to your organization!

How to Book a Mentoring Circle for your Organization

There are multiple ways to enjoy this unique developmental offering:

  • Bring this workshop to your organization.  Contact us to discuss dates and pricing.
  • Register Online for an Open-Enrollment Offering (currently not available)

Payment Options

SDL provides two payment options for your convenience:

Payments may be made by:

1.  Credit Card: Both corporate and personal credit cards accepted.

2.  Purchase Order/Invoice: SDL will send an invoice directly to you or your company. If a purchase order or registration in your company’s vendor system is required, please contact us at 770-384-1103 or via email.

Public Offering Policies

Transfer, Cancellation and Refund Policy

For open-enrollment Classroom, Live Online, and Webinar programs, participants who can no longer attend may transfer to a future session, send someone to take their place or cancel without penalty at any time up to three weeks prior to the session.

If you provide SDL with less than three weeks notice, or fail to attend, you will be liable for the entire program fee.

Privately offered sessions for organizations are bound by the terms of the separately negotiated Statement of Work.

Hours and Attire

Q: What time does my workshop begin and end?
A: On the first morning, please arrive at 8:30 am to pick up your registration packet and room assignment. Workshops generally begin at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm, except on the last day. On the last day, workshops that run the full day begin at 9:00 am and end at 4:30 pm. Workshops that conclude with half day sessions end at 12:00 pm.

Q: What should I wear?
A: Business casual attire is appropriate. Note: room temperatures may vary so you may want to dress in layers. Travel and Accommodations

Q: Will SDL help me make travel arrangements?
A: SDL partners with leading travel organizations to offer participants special discounts on hotel rooms and car rentals when attending SDL open-enrollment workshops.  We provide these to all participants on this site when public offerings are available. Participants will be required to make and pay for the reservations themselves.

We appreciate that this is an important investment for you and your company and would like to accommodate your needs the best we can. Therefore, please contact us should you have any additional questions.

Or be notified of next public offering by completing form below


Shockingly Different Leadership is a human capital professional services consultancy that provides organizations access to the best consulting expertise in the areas of Talent Development, Organizational Development, and Human Resources – on an on-demand, project, or contract basis.


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