May 14, 2019


Doug Lawrence

INTERNATIONAL MENTORING COMMUNITY: What is it and How Can You Benefit from It?






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: What kind of strategy should I look for in a mentor?

A: While each mentor is different they should all approach the mentoring arrangement/relationship using strong mentoring concepts and techniques.

Remember that mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn and grow together. A good mentor will, 1) build a trusted relationship with you, 2) be willing to share something personal about themselves in order to build trust, 3) create a safe environment for your conversation, 4) communicate effectively with you and share that technique to help you grow, 5) ask for your feedback - “what value did you get from our time together today?”, 6) Ask a series of questions to guide you to the answers - DO NOT TELL you what to do, 7) help facilitate the growth of your critical thinking skills and ideally have a calming presence.

Q: How is 'effective management' possible through the delegation of authority?

A: Delegation of authority is part of “effective management”. You should be striving for a work force that is engaged, empowered and accountable and a step towards that direction is delegation of authority.

There will be an element of trust that comes into place with delegation of authority. It will also create an environment of learning opportunities.

There are not many organizations that can demonstrate today that they are practicing “effective management”. Effective communication is always what holds them back.

Q: How do you manage a team of employees if you are not as smart as they are?

A: I would look at this from a different perspective. I would suggest that your team of employees possess certain skill sets that you may not have and you in turn possess skill sets that they don’t have. You have created the beginning of your learning and development environment.

As a leader or manager it should never come down to who is smarter than the other. What matters is that you complement each other based on the skills that you bring to the table.

As the manager or leader you need to engage and empower your team and lead them to success. If they are successful then so will you be.

As a trained mentor when I hear a statement like this I immediately begin to think of self-esteem challenges and I know that is not the case here.

Value your employees for what each brings to the table. Provide them with your guidance and show them the path that lies ahead to success for all.

Q: How can you tell if a business coach/mentor is good? Are there red flags to look out for?

A: Define your expectations up front. What do you hope to get from the relationship? One of the things that I always do with people that I am working with is to ask the question, “what was the value that we got from the time we spent together today?” A mentoring relationship is all about value. What value can the participants bring to the relationship?

Some things to consider:

  1. Watch the body language - it will tell you whether or not there is chemistry and whether or not the person is engaged in the conversation.
  2. Be mindful of your own body language as it will send a message as well.
  3. Are they present or do they appear to be someplace else when you are talking.
  4. Do they hold you accountable - what I mean by that is,  do they ask you questions to guide you to answers rather than telling you what to do.
  5. If they say something such as, “You should know how to deal with this so just go and deal with it. My time is too valuable for little things like this.” It is time to end the relationship and look for another mentor.
  6. You need chemistry, a trusted relationship and effective communication. If any or all of these are missing then it is not a relationship for you.

Q: What are the most important leadership skills for the future?

A: Effective communication is at the top of my list for leadership skills for the future. I work inside organizations from a mentoring capacity and I see the lack of being able to communicate effectively as the root cause for a lot of the challenges that they have. When we have provided employees with the tools they need to communicate effectively the difference is like night and day. Better communicators become better problem solvers. There are a lot of segments to consider when we talk about communicating effectively. Each is key to becoming that effective communicator.

Another skill set that is definitely needed for the future is the ability to build trusted relationships. Most managers, supervisors and leaders do not take the time to build those relationships. This can and will create a culture of disengagement.

It is okay to make a mistake. If we “FAIL” at something that is alright. FAIL is short for “first attempt in learning.” As supervisors, managers and leaders we need to encourage our employees to go beyond and that it is okay to make a mistake. Let’s determine the cause of the mistake, address it and move on.

Q: What are some tips to establish a solid foundation for good corporate culture in a young company?

A: There have been some very good responses to this question already.

I would offer some points from my lived experiences working as an external mentor in some organizations.

  1. Involve employees in the building of the culture. I built a culture in an organization from the bottom up and it was very rewarding for all once it was embraced. It was torn down after I left and became top down and it became a toxic work place.
  2. Share your strategic vision and work with employees to understand how their function/role in the organization on a daily basis contributes to the success of the organization. Most organizations do not do this and it is most definitely needed to build a strong culture.
  3. Provide mentorship to everyone in the organization but in particular to people that are new to the supervisor/manager role. If they do not have the tools it will be difficult to build a positive work place. I have observed this far too often and there is a solution.
  4. Leaders in the organization need to be the role models of your culture. It should be something that they do without thinking.

These are just a few things that I have observed that would assist in building a good work place culture. It can be a daunting task but the rewards are well worth the journey.

Q: How important is it to have a mentor for starting a start-up for the first time?

A: It is very important. A must have. There are number of incubators that have built in mentoring as a service that start-ups can obtain. Some offer it as part of their fee structure while others charge extra for that service and may make it mandatory.

I had an advisory board of mentors when I first started my company and it was something I could not imagine being without. Each of my mentors brought something different from their forte and lived experiences.

Q: How do I go about finding a mentor and how do you approach someone for mentorship (especially in places like NYC)?

A: I would ideally like a little more information in order to properly answer your question.

  1. What are your expectations in acquiring a mentor?
  2. Is this for personal or professional growth or both?
  3. What industry are you working in?
  4. Are there professional associations within your industry that you could check with regarding mentoring?
  5. Virtual mentoring is also a solution that you can look at it. I mentor people internationally and we do that virtually using technology to bridge the distance.


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 (

An international speaker and author of The Gift of Mentoring (2014), Doug’s second book is set to publish in late 2019.

Do you have a workplace crisis or issue to resolve?  Schedule a time to meet with Doug:



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