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: How does one find a farming mentor?
A: I just did a search via Google and used the words “farming mentor”. There over 9M hits and some that are really good points of reference.
Take a look at some of the organizations that offer farming mentors and see if any of them meet your needs.
Industry experience is a nice to have - not a need to have. An extraordinary mentor would prepare themselves to work with you by researching the industry and to be familiar with some of the trends. Lack of industry knowledge just means that they will be asking lots of questions which stimulates your critical thinking, demonstrates their interest in you, your industry and helps to build a trusting relationship.
Q: If you were given an opportunity to help someone with communication skills, what would be the greatest words that you’d speak?
Q: How would a 17 year old find a mentor in real-estate investing? How can I go find people to get help from in LA?
A: I would suggest finding someone in the industry and asking them for their advice and guidance. You could say, “I am interested in working in your industry once I have completed my education. What would you recommend that I do?”
As with anything in life there are no quick wins financially so be prepared to work hard for what you will achieve. It is refreshing to see that you have a vision and are seeking guidance early.
Q: As a team leader, how do you deal with individuals who struggle with cooperation and interaction with other group members?
A: I will respond to this from the role of a mentor and a team leader could take a similar approach.
Remember that relationships are two way so the other group members may be part of the challenge.
Using mentoring techniques and concepts I would engage with each of the team members to build a trusting relationship. I would focus on their individual challenges on a personal and then a professional level. By approaching it that way we will identify any barriers or obstacles that are impeding their ability to cooperate and interact with fellow team members.
From there it is a matter of providing them with communication tools as well as relationship building skills.
One thing that works well for me when it comes to group challenges such as this is to facilitate group mentoring to get them working together to critically think their way through a problem that they have been trying to solve.
A team leader that has been provided with proper leadership training supplemented by working with a mentor will be able to work through this challenge with a high degree of success.
Q: What advice do you have for people who interview badly?
A: I work with a number of people as their mentor while they are job hunting. Preparing for the interview is one of those steps. Your resume and cover letter can be rock solid but if you are not good at the interview process then you won’t be successful.
Dee has referenced using the technique of mental imagery/visualization which I fully support. I worked with a person who hadn’t been interviewed in over 19 years and we prepared for two interviews using this technique. She crushed both interviews and was successful in being hired by one of the employers.
Wayne’s recommendation to get a mentor is another great recommendation. Mentor’s will guide you and support you but they will not do the heavy lifting - that is your responsibility. I don’t write your resume - you do that but I will make suggestions. At the end of the day you own the resume and have to defend it so having me write it isn’t the path we want to take.
Q: Is leadership quality in every employee of an organization important?
A: I think it is a most definite nice to have - but I don’t think realistically that it would be a need to have. The leadership talent shortage that we are experiencing globally tells us that it is important but we are still trying to figure out how to address it.
I am a firm believe that we can prepare future leaders for tomorrow through the mentoring process. I have worked with potential leaders and current leaders to gain/enhance leadership skills using the mentoring process. There has been behavioral changes that has resulted in their leadership skills rising to the top. It becomes infectious in that other employees want to emulate the same behavior.
We have work to do but without strong leadership there is untapped potential that alludes us and lost productivity resulting in a huge impact on organization’s bottom line.
Q: How do you demonstrate the pros to someone focused on the cons?
A: I have worked with someone that was just like that.
What we did was to focus on the positive and we used reflection as a means to see both the pro and the con of something. We were able to look at what we might do differently the next time to make it a more positive outcome.
What I have also done is to use the Socratic Method to ask questions that helped us focus on the positive. Example, “What could we have said differently that would change the outcome”. Another approach is to provide two or three alternatives and have them think which would be the better approach.
If they are focused on the cons - they likely have low self-esteem so you may want to start there.
Q: Why would a mentor teach someone specifically how to succeed?
A: We need to look at the definition of mentoring in order to answer your question. Mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee learn and grow together - personally and professionally.
As the mentor shares their lived experiences with the mentee they are also learning something along the journey. It may be about the mentee, their organization, the challenges they have or had but just as importantly about themselves as a person and mentor.
It is about giving back but there is also the element that I as a mentor am going to learn and grow as well.
Q: How does a mentor choose his mentees?
A: Sometimes it is the mentee that selects the mentor as a result of a referral. The mentor needs to make sure that they have the capacity to take on the mentee.
When I am deciding whether or not I am going to work with a certain mentee it is usually due to the chemistry and whether or not the person appears committed to the journey. I need to be able to build a trusted relationship and that requires two people to make it happen.
The mentee would need to understand the difference between coaching and mentoring and what the outcomes of a mentoring relationship could be. I always recommend that the mentee take a day or two to reflect on our first meeting and if they feel there is chemistry and want to proceed then we can set up another time to meet. This ensures that we are starting the relationship/arrangement with both eyes open.
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 late 2019.
Do you have a workplace crisis or issue to resolve? Schedule a time to meet with Doug: https://calendly.com/doug-lawrence