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 do I find a mentor coach to help with behavioral addictions?
A: From a mentor perspective we look at personal and professional growth. Behavioral addictions would be what I refer to as obstacles or barriers to your professional growth. A trained mentor will only be able to do so much and you would need professional counseling to take you further. Having said that if you engage with an effective mentor they would still own the relationship with you and would have the network of professionals that they can connect you with.
Q: What attributes should a good mentor have?
A: First off I believe we need to understand the true definition of mentoring. Mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee will both learn and grow personally and professionally.
There are mentors, great mentors and extraordinary mentors - each with their own skill set and abilities.
You would want a mentor that is great at building trust and in fact trusted relationships, is an effective communicator. By that I mean that they listen and hear, they know when to be quiet and listen versus always wanting to take the floor. They need to have compassion and the ability to build a safe environment for a mentoring conversation to take place. They need to understand the Socratic Method of asking questions and need to know when and how to use that technique. They need to guide versus tell and must never be responsible for the outcomes - if this happens they then take ownership of accountability and will create a dependency relationship.
I hope that this gives you some insight into what you should be looking for.
Q: What does a professional mentor do?
A: Great question!
I would be what you call a professional mentor or the term that I use is extraordinary mentor.
Here is the definition of an extraordinary mentor: “An extraordinary mentor is the one person that we all seek to become “our” mentor. They have embraced effective mentoring and the mentoring concepts as a way of life. They are typically someone that has had formal training and is certified as a competent mentor. Their client base spans the corporate world, private sector and entrepreneurial space. They demonstrate that industry knowledge is a nice to have – not a need to have as they are comfortable working cross industry. They are humble and use story telling/story sharing as a means to share their experiences. They mentor in person and remotely using technology as a communication medium. They are a student of the mentoring process and strive to learn and grow as much as the people they are mentoring. They create that extraordinary mentoring experience.”
I mentor people at all levels of an organization in person and virtually globally. I focus on the personal aspect of my client and then on their professional growth as the two are very much related.
If you wish to learn more please feel free to reach out to me and we can have a conversation.
Q: As a mentor, how do you get through to those facing different challenges than you had?
A: An extraordinary mentor is good at asking questions and knowing the right questions to ask in order to stimulate the critical thinking skills of their mentee. They are also good at story telling or story sharing using relevant experiences that are translated into a story format - guiding not telling.
I have had mentoring sessions that I did not have industry experience in on a professional level or something that the person is dealing with on a personal basis. I have found in each and every one that asking questions and telling stories has helped us navigate through the challenges with positive outcomes.
Proper mentor training will help alleviate questions that you may have on how to pull all of this together.
Q: Which mentors have helped you helped you in your life and which were not worth the time as you look back now?
A: All of my mentors - current and past has brought something to the mentor relationship. I can honestly say that there was never the time that I would say that it had been worth the time. If you are wanting to work with a mentor you need to be open to learning and development and knowing how to identify what those learning opportunities are. Sometimes the messages are there but we just don’t realize it at that specific time. Listen and hear what is being shared with you as it can be transformational.
Q: How do you mentor or help that one person who is always judgemental in pointing out the flaws of their co-workers?
A: My first question would be whether or not this person is open to constructive feedback themselves before they pass judgement on others. A large part of the challenge is the lack of communication skills in situations like this. One of the things that we teach through the mentoring process is the art of effective communication which would work well in this particular case. Using the pause technique and asking yourself how is what I am about to say going to be received is a great place to start. If you have any doubt that it will not be received in the right context then perhaps it is time to reword! This process works really well and enhances people’s communication skills.
Q: As a supervisor or boss, how do you handle a worker who has issues at work?
A: What some organizations have done is to bring in an external mentor to work with the employee to initiate behavioral changes for the positive. In all the situations that I have been involved in we have been successful in each and every one. In some cases the issues were personal which translated into work place behavior challenges. In other situations it was all about providing tools to assist in a positive behavior going forward. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not always the worker who needs guidance but it could also be the supervisor or boss.
Q: What are the benefits to having a business mentor?
A: I started my own business a number of years ago and have had mentors with me for the entire journey. I found mentors that brought certain skills and knowledge to the table to assist me. The important thing was that they all shared their lived experience but did not tell me what to do. They encouraged me by asking me questions to get me to critically think my way through the various challenges and opportunities that I would encounter.
I would not be where I am today if it were not from their guidance.
Q: How can entrepreneurs/founders get more leadership training?
A: Leadership training can come in a number of different manners of which mentoring is one. I am working with organizations to help develop their new managers through the mentoring process. I work with entrepreneurs to provide them with guidance to enhance their leadership capabilities. Formal leadership training if recommended is only part of the journey. You do need to have mentoring built into any leadership development program that you may have. I would recommend reaching out to a trained mentor to see what they can do for you. Make sure that you are going to get value from this and that they are the right fit for your organization.
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