May 8, 2019


Doug Lawrence






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 you initiate a mentor-mentee relationship?

A: First off you need to find someone that could be a mentor for you. That may be from your current network or through some other sources such as a mentor software site that has a database of mentors. (

There are also some organizations that offer mentorship to people as part of their services that they provide. If you are an entrepreneur there are programs that have mentorship included. (

Once you have found a mentor then the next step is to set up a time to meet and define the terms of the relationship. Makes sure you both articulate your expectations so that it is clear what both parties hope to gain from the time spent together.

I usually have the first meeting and then recommend that we sleep on it. If I wake up in the morning feeling positive about the proposed relationship then I am ready to move forward. If I am not feeling good then I will work with you to find someone that you would be more compatible with.

Q: I'm a teacher and I love it, but I don't feel as if I'm a good teacher. What can I do to improve?

A: You could connect with a mentor as the first step. Your willingness to improve is the sign of a person who wants to continue to improve and continue to be of value to others.

My favorite quote is “when we stop learning, we stop leading” (Ken Blanchard). Don’ t view this as something negative but view this as an opportunity to learn and grow. Believe in yourself and the value that you bring to the classroom. As a teacher you are changing lives and you are doing that with passion. Continue your focus in that direction and believe in who you are.

Q: Can you provide an example of transformational leadership?

A: Steve Jobs – Steve Jobs has to mandatorily be one of the names in the most iconic transformational leaders the world has ever seen. His passion for perfection, simplicity and sophistication drove the company and he made sure that it got engraved into every employee who worked at Apple. He constantly challenged his employees to think beyond what has already been done and made them create products that the world did not even know it needed.

Q: Why don't more people get start-up mentoring? Research shows founders with mentors are far more successful.

A: I agree that having a mentor contributes to achieving success. It is possible that we do not have enough incubators that can provide mentoring as part of their service. It could also be that the cost of mentors through the incubator are too steep for someone in the early stages. There is also the issue of you sometimes get what you pay for. Sometimes we get a business coach when we actually wanted a mentor. If you are a start-up you need to do some homework to see if there are any incubators in your area. If not then I encourage you to reach out through this site to find someone. Take a look at This is a great organization that has a unique model for providing the services that it offers.

Q; Do you believe leadership is born talent?

A: I believe that some people are born leaders while others learn the skill over time. i also believe that you can be at different levels as a leader depending on your lived experiences and capacity to continuous learn.

Jim Collins and a couple of other leadership experts speak to the 5 levels of leadership. (Good to Great - Jim Collins).

The challenge that we have today is in the development of those highly sought after skills. There is a global leadership talent shortage that is not getting better but is getting worse. Leadership development needs to become a priority for organizations.

Q: How can a manager with an empowering style succeed in an organization with very little authority granted to employees and managers?

A: My first thought was that perhaps this is not the right organization for you if your style differs from that of the organization.

We always tell leaders that each employee that they work with is unique and that they have to tailor their leadership style to meet the needs of each employee. This creates the optimum organization and a positive culture.

What I teach employees that I work with through mentoring is the reverse of this concept. I get them to see each manager that they work with as being unique and how they communicate with that manager needs to be tailored to that particular person. Use of the Socratic Method of asking questions can be a valuable tool but it must be used correctly or it may make things worse.

My suggestion is that you would benefit from a trained mentor who will provide you with some tools to deal with the situation that you have outlined.

I have been working with a couple of people recently that have experienced exactly what you are talking about. I have provided them with the tools they need to increase their survival rate.

Q: What is involved in a mentor relationship? As the mentor and as the beneficiary.

A: First off we need to understand the definition of mentoring: Mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee are both going to learn and grow on a personal and professional basis.

This is a bit of a paradigm shift in that the Traditional style of mentoring was always an older person mentoring a younger person with a focus on career development (professional growth). You could also add into the mix the idea of a younger person mentoring an older person - referred to as “reverse mentoring” which is a term I am not a huge fan of. Reverse means to go backwards - my mentoring relationships are not focused on going backwards!

The term effective mentoring fits quite nicely with the definition provided - a two way trust relationship where both parties learn and grow together.

There needs to be commitment on the part of the mentor and mentee. There needs to be accountability to each other. Expectations need to be set at the very beginning of the relationship. Personal growth challenges need to be addressed early if not first in the relationship (self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-doubt). There should be a comfort level in sharing something personal in order to build trust. If you can’t establish trust then the relationship will not be successful.


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:



Book A


One Hour Meeting With Doug Lawrence!

To Discuss Opportunities To Implement Mentoring Or Your Mental Health
Whether You Are An Employee Or A Business Owner, You CANNOT Miss This Valuable Opportunity!
Book Your Meeting Now!