I am asked on numerous occasions to respond to questions regarding mentoring, mentoring process and how mentoring can bring value to individuals and/or organizations. Here are some of those questions and my responses.
Q: If you could be mentored by a "rich" business person who would it be and why?
A: I highly recommend that your criteria for a mentor not be based solely on someone’s financial status. They may well have some great experience to share but there is more to mentoring than your financial status. You need to look beyond that when selecting a mentor.
I can think of a number of people that I would ask to be my mentor and none of them are what I would call “rich” financially. They are rich however in other areas which are more important to me.
Q: What is the best people skill advice that you would like to offer to someone?
A: To build relationships with your team - relationships premised on trust. Learn how to communicate effectively. I see a lot of people in leadership roles that create a fire storm rather than quelling it simply because they are not great or effective communicators.
Q: As a coach / mentor, what offends you the most?
A: I think that the word offend is a bit strong. I would suggest that I may be disappointed but I am never offended. If I look at this from a mentor-mentee relationship I could be disappointed when both parties are not committed to the relationship and the mentoring process. To not be part of the “gift of mentoring” is an error in judgement to say the least.
Q: How and where can I find a free legit mentor on entrepreneurship and business?
A: I would be doing some searching via Google to see what you can find. There are lots of organization that work with entrepreneurs and provide mentoring as part of their service. Some of the organizations charge a fee for their services which may include mentoring.
I would recommend exploring a couple of options that would include paying for mentoring services and mentoring being provided for free. As a mentor I find that people are more inclined to be committed to the process when they have to pay something for the service. The ROI is greater all around.
Q: What should you never say to your mentor?
A: It would depend on the relationship that you have with your mentor. With all the people that I spend time with in a mentoring relationship we focused on building a trusted and respectful relationship. As a result there is truly nothing that we could not say or share. If you define the terms of the relationship up front this question will never come up.
Q: How can I get a business mentor and co-founder?
A: From my perspective finding a business mentor and a co-founder are two separate things. The co-founder would be too invested in the business to not bring bias to a mentoring relationship. While there may be some elements of mentoring that takes place it would not be to the full extent that a business mentor would bring.
Q: Why does a command and control leadership style still exist when business demands and research show other leadership styles are more effective and needed?
A: I would suggest that it is hopefully the tail end of the old guard who lead by command and control. Command and control is a leadership style that may have served us at one time point but it is certainly not the style that we need to move forward with. We need to be people focused, inspiring our employees to be the best that they can be. We need to communicate better as we have lost the art of effective communication. The majority of the organizations that bring me in to work with them are experiencing a lack of effective communication skills. We need to better understand what the statement “lack of” means as it is causing us to begin to spiral and that is not good from the organization’s perspective and the people that they serve. People don’t respond all that well to command and control. I know that I never did!
Q: Does leadership training work?
A: Depends on your definition of training.
Most organizations provide the academic piece of a leadership development program. Most do not provide mentoring as a support to the leadership development program. The two go hand in hand.
What needs to take place with any leadership development program is - 1) the classroom - academic piece, and 2) a mentor assigned to the perspective leadership candidate to work with them after the classroom - academic part is done. Weekly meetings initially to reflect on what has taken place over the past week will make the transition into leadership roles more successful.
I am working with an organization that provides mentorship to new managers in order to set them up for success. The transition from employee to manager has gone smoothly.
Q: How can one hire a mentor for a career in the petroleum industry?
A: Understanding what you might get from a mentoring relationship is important. Mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee will learn and grow together on a personal and professional basis.
You can acquire (paid or free) a mentor with industry experience or you can acquire (paid or free) a mentor that has some form of training and can guide you on your journey. My experience is that industry experience is a nice to have - not a need to have.
I would search using Google to answer your question. Paid mentors are usually by the hour or by the session (similar to business coaches). You need to make sure that the person is a good fit for what you wish to accomplish especially if you are pursuing a paid mentor.
Q: Why do some people flourish with mentors, others not so much?
A: There are two variables in this equation, the mentor and the mentee. If there isn’t commitment to the mentoring relationship/process on either part then the relationship will not be successful. If you have a mentor who is mentoring because they have been told that is what they must do then you lessen the chance of a successful relationship. If you have a mentee that has been told that they must participate in a workplace mentoring program then you will likely struggle for anyone to succeed.
If you have a trained mentor and they are able to build a trusted relationship with the mentee you will see success. If your mentor is open and flexible to learn as well as the mentee then you have created an environment of learning and development for both parties in the relationship. A win-win situation.
Doug Lawrence is an extraordinary mentor and mentor certification trainer with TalentC® and is the International Mentoring Community Director of Education.
Doug shows organizations how mentoring programs will influence a happy workforce culture (mentors), improve employee productivity (mentees), reducing costly employee high turnover (onboarding), improves the bottom line (organizations), which saves 150% to 200% of the annual salary of each departing employee. He provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals and groups, all backgrounds and industries locally and internationally.
Doug is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner (ICMP), an International Certified Mentor Facilitator (ICMF), and has obtained his Certificate of Achievement – Mentoring and his Certificate of Competence – Mentor from the International Mentoring Community (IMC).
Doug is recognized as a “Most viewed writer in the Business Mentoring and Mentors and Mentoring categories on the Quora website (www.quora.com).
An international speaker and author of The Gift of Mentoring (2014), Doug’s second book is set to publish in 2020.
Do you have a workplace crisis or issue to resolve? Schedule a time to meet with Doug: https://calendly.com/doug-lawrence