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 is a question I received recently and my response.

Will a bully make a good corporate leader?

No.

We don’t need or want a bully at the helm of the organization. What happens when this occurs is that the good employees will leave because they can. I have seen this in a number of situations where a leader or leaders were bullying. Bullying is a way to mask insecurity and it can lead to Mental Health issues for the victims of bullying. Mental Health issues when not addressed properly in an organization can result in increased sick time and lost productivity. More importantly it can also cause pain and suffer for someone that does not need to experience pain and suffering.

Bullying is not good for the organization, their clients and their employees. It is not a leadership trait - never has been and never will be.

Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC® and the co-founder of the International Mentoring Community (IMC).

Doug Lawrence leads organizations to experience how mentoring will encourage workforce culture to flow in harmony (mentors), improve productivity from employees (mentees), reducing costly employee on-boarding improving the bottom line (organizations).

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’s Practice of Mentoring has resulted in his accumulation of 1,970 hours of mentoring (in person and virtual), 197 hours of speaking opportunities and 672 hours teaching others how to effectively mentor.

Doug is a volunteer mentor with the Sir Richard Branson Entrepreneur Program in the Caribbean and with the American Corporate Partners in the United States working with military personnel in their transition from military life to civilian life. Doug is currently working with researchers to examine the role of mentoring as a support for those struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His experience in law enforcement coupled with working with people suffering from PTSD has afforded him a unique view of mentoring and PTSD.

Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published “The Gift of Mentoring” in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2020.

Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally.

Contact Doug directly to discover how mentoring can improve your organization.
>>  https://calendly.com/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: Is it possible to fix a toxic work environment without changing the company's leadership?

A: If the toxicity is evident in the company's leadership it is difficult to completely change the culture and eradicate the toxicity. You can give the employees the tools that they need to work within that culture but at the end of the day it is still a toxic work environment.

Think of this as learned behavior - in that if the behavior is not changed then people (employees) begin to think that it is acceptable. The toxin will continue to spread and the outcome is that the good employees will leave because they can.

In the culture assessment work that I do I see this often.

Q: What is the best way to reconnect with a mentor?

A: That depends on how long it has been since you last met. If it has been a while then you would need to define the terms of the relationship again and revisit the building of trust. If it has recently happened then you may not need to re-establish the trust as it will already be there.

If your question is more on logistics - depending on the nature of your past relationship and reason for disconnect you may be able to just reach out.

I always leave a mentoring engagement with the comment that they can reach out to me at any time after we have formally ended the relationship. For me the door is never closed and we can always reconnect when the need arises.

Q: Do you feel a counselor could also be one's mentor? Are they sort of one in the same?

A: Interesting timing for this question. I am doing some research on mentoring and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how a mentor can be a resource for support. I always come back to the definition of mentoring - a two way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn and grow personally and professionally. Where the mentor encounters situations that should be dealt with by a trained professional then they have the ethical obligation to help the person find the right resources to address their situation. The mentor still owns the relationship and is encouraged to stand beside their mentee no matter what.

There are some elements of counseling that take place in a mentoring relationship. The mentor needs to make sure that they do not mentor beyond their capability. Trained mentors are essential if we are dealing with something that may need to be referred to a professional counselor.

Be mindful of any conflicts of interest in this situation. I also encourage you to do some research on the hierarchy of mentoring - mentor, great mentor, extraordinary mentor. As you work your way up the pyramid your ability to address situations like this become more prevalent.

Q: What is business coaching and mentoring?

A: There are a number of definitions that are out there. I have found that this one works the best. If you apply all that is stated below in a business context you should have the answer to your question.

Mentoring: Ongoing relationship that can last for a long period of time

Coaching: Relationship generally has a set duration

Mentoring: Can be more informal and meetings can take place as and when the mentee needs some advice, guidance or support

Coaching: Generally more structured in nature and meetings are scheduled on a regular basis

Mentoring: More long-term and takes a broader view of the person

Coaching: Short-term (sometimes time-bounded) and focused on specific development areas/issues

Mentoring: Mentor is usually more experienced and qualified than the ‘mentee'. May be a senior person in the organization who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities using techniques such as the Socratic Method and story-telling. Industry specific knowledge is a nice to have not a need to have.

Coaching is generally not performed on the basis that the coach needs to have direct experience of their client's formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused

Mentoring: Focus is on career and personal development

Coaching: Focus is generally on development/issues at work

Mentoring: Agenda is set by the mentee, with the mentor providing support and guidance to prepare them for future roles

Coaching: The agenda is focused on achieving specific, immediate goals

Mentoring revolves more around developing the mentee on a personal and professional basis. The mentor will also learn and grow in the relationship.

Coaching revolves more around specific development areas/issues

Q: What are the benefits of a mentoring program in the workplace?

A: The research shows that mentees receive career and psychosocial benefits from formal mentoring. Career-related benefits include an increase in job performance ratings which lead
to salary increases and promotion, and improved competence in the job. The psychosocial benefits, or mentor-mentee interpersonal support, include friendship, emotional support, satisfaction and personal development (Kram, 1985). Mentoring has been found to positively impact career success, through more promotions, more mobility, higher income and career satisfaction (Chao, Walz & Gardner, 1992).

 

For mentors, research has shown increases in personal satisfaction and job satisfaction. In addition, mentors receive assistance from their mentees on projects and also enhance their own skills by learning from the mentee. The relationship can help a mentor learn new perspectives about the organization (Murray, 2006). One study (Gentry, et. al., 2008) found that mentoring helps the mentor gain support through mentee networks that supply critical information that assist the mentor in some way when needed. This research implies that a reciprocal relationship can be created between mentor and mentee where both learn and educate the other.

For organizations, the benefits of mentoring include retention, promotion, productivity and personal and professional development. With these benefits, organizations with formal mentoring programs create a learning environment that fosters personal and professional growth for mentors and mentees. In turn, this accelerates the processes for identifying, developing and retaining quality talent (Kahle-Piasecki, 2011).

The benefit of mentoring extends to the company culture if it is well integrated and does not utilize it as a one-time intervention. This means that, for example, mentoring relationships can create an integrated learning and development culture with increased communication, collaboration, and support between all employees in an organization, resulting in a more informal matching system between mentors and mentees (Burr et al., 2011). In fact, research shows that matching based on mentor-mentee similarities (e.g. personality, interests) leads to more positive psychosocial outcomes, such as interpersonal satisfaction, compared to formal assignments (Kendall, 2007).

Today, organizations are combating negative trends such as disengaged employees, lack of succession planning, and talent shortages. As the research shows, organizations cannot afford not to fully develop their human resources. If they're unsure how to develop their HR then they should get hr consultancy to help guide them. The return on their investment is seen in employee productivity and optimum organizational functioning that positively affects their bottom line. Therefore, it is essential for mentoring programs--or any training and development programs--to be evaluated both in terms of successful functioning and return on investment.

Q: Can unjustifiably high expectations from a mentor block your success?

A: First off the mentor's role is to guide and encourage not to set expectations for you. This question almost sounds like your mentor is focused on career development and is not taking into account your personal growth. When we focus solely on the career development piece we are not addressing the barriers/obstacles that may arise from personal growth challenges.

I always start with some level of exploration regarding my mentee's personal growth challenges whether it be self-esteem, self-confidence, etc. Addressing those first can pave the path to a better career development journey.

**************************************************************************************

Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC®.

Doug leads organizations to experience the benefits how mentoring will encourage workforce culture to flow in harmony (mentors), improve productivity from employees (mentees), reducing costly employee onboarding improving the bottom line (organizations).

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's Practice of Mentoring has resulted in his accumulation of 1,904 hours of mentoring (in person and virtual), 197 hours of speaking opportunities and 672 hours teaching others how to effectively mentor.

Doug is recognized as a "Most viewed writer in the Business Mentoring and Mentors and Mentoring categories on the Quora website (www.quora.com).

Doug is a volunteer mentor with the Sir Richard Branson Entrepreneur Program in the Caribbean and with the American Corporate Partners in the United States working with military personnel in their transition from military life to civilian life.

Doug is currently working with researchers to examine the role of mentoring as a support for those struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His experience in law enforcement coupled with working with people suffering from PTSD has afforded him a unique view of mentoring and PTSD.

Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published "The Gift of Mentoring" in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2020.

Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally.

Contact Doug directly to discover how mentoring can improve your organization.

>> https://calendly.com/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: Have you ever mentored students on research projects remotely?

A: The short answer is yes.

The mentoring process that I use is premised on the definition of mentoring - a two way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn and grow on a personal and professional level.

Virtually mentoring does require a different skill set when it comes to mentoring but it can be just as effective if done correctly.

Q: What is an example of executive mentoring?

A: Executive mentoring typically can take place at senior levels within the organization. I work with Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, etc and the process that I use is much the same. The mentoring experience however is customized/tailored to the specific needs of the person requesting the mentoring.

There is a focus on their personal growth as well as professional growth. I spend a fair amount of time discussing the topic of communication and the importance of effectively communicating.

If you would like to learn more please reach out to me and we can explore this further.

Q: How important is reverse mentor ship in corporate life?

A: I prefer to not use the term reverse mentoring. The definition of reverse is to go backwards. I prefer to call it effective mentoring as it is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee are going to learn and grow on a personal and professional basis. Nothing reverse about that.

Effective mentoring is a strategic objective that all organizations need to embrace as part of their short and long term strategic plan. I have worked with organizations that have done just that and it has helped shape the culture in a positive way. It has assisted in the retaining of quality employees and reduced employee turnover. It has created an organization where people want to work because of the culture powered by effective mentoring.

Q: Is it possible to find an architect (mentor) online who will provide guidance?

A: If you do a search via Google you will generate 20M plus hits on the phrase “architect mentoring program”. Check out a few of these as some on the first page are architect associations that have a mentoring program. Some of those programs may have a virtual component to them. I am involved with an IT Association that does virtual mentoring and it works well.

Q: Architects told me to find a mentor to learn from him/her, so should I pay to a mentor or is it free?

A: If it is done via a mentor program through an association chances are that it would be free.

Some mentors will offer to mentor as their way of giving back to the profession.

Some mentors will charge for their services similar to what business coaches do.

Make sure you check out your proposed mentor as far as mentoring experience and training is concerned. They should be good at building trusted relationships, communicating effectively which would also include the ability to use storytelling to share lived experiences.

Ultimately the decision to pay for mentoring services vs getting it for free is your decision and will be guided by my comments above.

Q: How does leadership and management overlap?

A: Management: “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.”

Leadership: “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.”

The overlap exists that both are dealing with people. How they actually deal with people is another thing. Organizations that are struggling are more than likely managing their people. Organizations that are flourishing are more than likely leading - guiding, motivating, etc.

Q: Why is it frowned upon (or is it?) to question the leader of an organization’s decisions?

A: It is all about communication and how you ask the questions regarding the leader’s decisions. If you can frame what you have to say in the form of a question and use the words “we and us” more often the results will be much better and different.

Pick and choose the place that you ask the questions as outright challenging someone and/or their decision in the presence of a number of people is not always the best path to take. Frame this in the context of a learning opportunity and ask questions accordingly.

Q: What does it mean if a smart, hardworking new hire is struggling?

A: There may be some external influences that are impacting the new hire from performing at the level that you expect.

This is a great place to have them work with a trained mentor. Having them work with an external mentor is recommended in order to maintain a level of confidentiality that is required. The trained mentor will explore the personal and professional challenges with the new hire.

The experiences that I have had with similar situations have turned out positive for the betterment of the new hire and the organization.

Q: What are the 5 best tips to reduce employee stress as a leader?

A: I would make sure that employees had the tools to manage stress and not allow it to manage them. Stress is manageable if you have the tools.

I would create a positive work environment with a culture of happiness and learning.

I would ensure that employees are engaged and empowered in the work place.

I would develop relationships with each employee to let them know that they are important and the organization will succeed if they succeed.

I would communicate regularly and would make sure that they understood how their role played a part in the organization achieving its goals and objectives.

Q: How can I grow as the leader of our group?

A: I would look for a mentor that can work with you on your journey as a leader.

A trained mentor will guide and support you and challenge you to think. Mentoring is a two way trusted relationship where the mentor and mentee learn and grow together on a personal and professional basis.

Choose your mentor wisely and embrace the power of effective mentoring.

Q: As a manager, how did you break up a verbal argument between coworkers?

A: This is a great place to use group mentoring techniques. I have done this with work groups that did not get along and with employees within the same work group and on an individual basis. One of the most important things is that you need to facilitate the dialogue and guide them where they need to go. I like to use effective communication techniques to get the conversation going and to provide them with those tools. You need to figure out the root cause for the behavior and then address that.

Q: What are some game-changing leadership capabilities?

A:

  1. Ensuring that your employees have the tools that they need to be successful.
  1. Build trusting relationships with each of your employees - it will go a long way in creating an engaged and empowered work force.
  2. Communicate effectively - listen and hear, pause before speaking, listen for trigger words and deflections.
  3. Embrace the “gift of mentoring” and have those tools in your leadership tool kit.
  4. Take time to guide not tell.

Q: Why do you need a mentor in business?              

A: A mentor is someone that can walk beside you on your business journey. I have a number of mentors - each bringing something special to the mentoring relationship. My mentor(s) are there when I need to talk my way through challenges or perhaps a change in direction. My mentor(s) are there to guide me not tell me what to do.

I think of all the people that I am working with today that are either entrepreneurs or working in the corporate space and I would like to think that the question they would ask you is, “can you afford not to have a mentor”.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three very powerful words and yet three words that are not widely understood. I have often said that, “a great mentor is a great leader” and “a great leader is a great mentor.” Taking the right steps with your leadership development program is key to the development of your future leaders and future mentors within your organization.

I would like to add one more word to the equation and sadly it is one that is over used so I apologize now for adding to the mix. That word is “culture.” If you can create the right type of culture, if you understand where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow then you can create that culture that nourishes leadership, which nourishes mentoring, that creates a continuous learning environment.

Before I recommend the implementation of a mentor program or a mentor culture I always like to suggest or recommend a culture assessment to determine mentor readiness of the organization. Why implement mentoring if the organization is not ready. There can be some impediments that stand in the way of a successful program. We need to identify what those may be and develop a strategy/solution to address them. One example that always seems to stand out is effective communication. All too often after analyzing the data from the culture assessment process I find that the people within that organization have lost the art of communicating effectively. As a result crucial conversations are either not happening or they are taking place very poorly. This results in mixed messaging, lack of trust, toxicity in the work place along with a number of other challenges.

All of these elements are things that great leaders and great mentors take into account in the development of a continuous learning and development organization. Here is where this master plan begins to break down. Taking the first step to thinking about implementing mentoring is the toughest one for most leaders. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of what mentoring is and the power of mentoring as part of a continuous learning and development environment. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the similarities in skills sets between a great mentor and a great leader. In a report that was recently done it identified that 53% of the leaders today cannot inspire people to follow them. 87% of companies are not excellent at building global leaders.

The next thing that challenges most leaders is to actually understand what the pain points are in their organization. That is where the culture assessment piece comes in. The process that we find that works the best is more personal rather than the use of a survey tool. We can get to the root causes a lot quicker and with more credibility.

The future is not all dim. There are things we can do to create that work place that so many of us search for. Think about “the gift of mentoring” and what it can do for your organization. Think about the sound of all those employees’ feet hitting the floor in the morning as they scramble to get out the door to get to work. Think of a positive work place filled with engaged, empowered and accountable employees all working to a common purpose of making your organization a success. Embrace the power of mentoring – “can you afford not to?”

References:

  1. https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/leadership_excellence_essentials/july_2017_leadership/are-we-facing-a-leadership-shortage-crisis_j4qzwh2k.html
  2. http://amzn.to/2nFX4Mi

 

 

 

 

I was fortunate to speak at the IPMA 2017 Conference this past week. We did something a little different in that the format that we used was a round table discussion rather than a straight presentation/lecture. Like any mentoring opportunity I came away from the experience learning something about myself but also about a number of other people. What I heard were some of the common questions that people have about mentoring. One person related being asked to be a mentor but they did not think that they had anything to offer. I would like to spend some time today touching on that particular point!

A couple of messages that came through loud and clear from our conversations was that people that are involved in a “corporate” mentoring program do not spend much time on the personal growth of the person that they are spending time with. The mandate of the program is such that it focuses on the professional growth only as that as seen as having the most impact on the bottom line – productivity and profitability. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we do not address the personal growth challenges we will struggle moving forward with anything to do with the professional growth. Dealing with the personal growth first removes the obstacles and barriers that we may encounter in moving forward with any professional growth. Recognizing and then being able to work with someone to address these issues is best accomplished with some mentor training.

What do I need to have in order to be a good mentor? This was a question that was asked a lot during the round table discussion. The two primary skills that I see in most good mentors are the ability to build trusted relationships and the ability to communicate effectively. Ironically these are also skills that we see in great leaders. I have always said that a great leader is a great mentor and a great mentor is a great leader. In order to build a trusted relationship we sometimes have to share something very personal about ourselves. It is a humbling experience to share that information and see the impact that it can have on the person that you are spending time with.

I want to talk about communicating effectively for a moment. It is by far one of the biggest challenges that we face in most organizations. I am not sure if the use of technology has diminished our communication skill sets but most of the work that I do inside organizations is directly the result of poor communication. Effective communication is a transferable skill that can be used in your personal (family) life, in the community and in the organization that you work in. Good leaders have developed this skill as do good mentors. What is also interesting is that much of the family turmoil that we experience is also directly related to poor or in some cases non-existent communication.

As we discussed during the round table all is not lost. Providing mentors with the tools they need to be successful is crucial to the success of that relationship. Proper training can provide you with skills that are transferable and that will make a difference in the many different aspects of your life. One of the main reasons that mentor programs fail is due to lack of training. The same could be said for organizations and for your personal life as well. Investing in ourselves is not something that we do much of until it is sometimes too late to do so.

We all have something to offer as a mentor. The more involved in mentoring you become the better you are at sharing the “the gift of mentoring”. With proper training you will develop new skills or enhance the ones you already have and be in a better place to experience the power of the “the gift of mentoring”. “Can you afford not to?”

References:

  1. http://amzn.to/2nFX4Mi

 

Jack Welch

 

 

 

 

 

I always look forward to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report as it provides us with some reminders of what is important and what we are not doing well. The 2016 report didn’t let me down as it drove home some very important messages for organizations and people that are aspiring to lead us into the future.

It should come as no surprise to us that “leadership” remains a top priority worldwide. Of the organizations that were surveyed the percentages that rated leadership as important or very important grew to extremely high levels over the last year. Needless to say we are not doing a great job at developing future leaders and when you get right down to it we are not doing much to provide existing leaders with the tools that they need to be successful. This is somewhat surprising when companies spent nearly $31 billion on leadership programs this past year. Interesting that of the survey respondents 40% believe that their current leadership programs provide only “some” value and 24% report that they yield little or no value.

The leadership landscape is changing. Positional leadership is being challenged. Leadership is being redefined and new skill sets are being sought after. Leaders need to be that coach and mentor. They need to attract, inspire and retain great people. Leaders need to be able to critically think their way through situations and guide their followers through much the same process. It is no longer a nice to have skill set but a need to have.

Organizations need to customize a leadership development program that fits their organization. A cookie cutter approach to leadership development is likely to fail. That leadership development program needs to identify up and coming leaders which can include high potential development employees with the bottom line being to provide them with tools before we throw them in the deep end of the pool.

I have always stated that mentoring and coaching play a huge role in a leadership development program. I have seen in the past organizations that have set young leaders up to fail as they provided training but did not follow through on the training with coaching and mentoring. I have seen young leaders stumble and fall many times as they did not know how to navigate or critically think their way through a challenge they had been presented with. All of this could have been prevented if mentoring was made available as part of the leadership development program.

If your organization has realized that you have a potential leadership challenge or you are wondering how you might enhance your leadership development program you need to look at the role that mentoring can play. The other thing that you can do is to take a look at the Deloitte report as it provides some very good information and advice on what you need to do to tackle the leadership challenge. My advice to you is exploring this sooner rather than later is the path that you need to take – “Can you afford not to?”
References:
1. http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html#
2. http://talentc.ca/2016/2016-leadership-excellence-awards/

You know mentorship is a huge interest for me!

When my associate, Sherry Knight interviewed me she said how influential this information was for all leaders. Together we discussed it …

Being a leader means inspiring others to listen to their own sense of wisdom. After all, we all think, have skills and experience.

If you are or want to be a great leader you know it is critical you show others how to be the best they can be. Oh sure, you can tell them what to do. That will get you a few kudo’s and a whole lot of pain. The way to get your team on side with you is to mentor them – ask the right questions so they can see the answers for themselves.

Click here to get the FREE interview with me

I know my process works, and I prove it by helping people learn an approach that allows leaders to develop their staff to be the best they can be. And where do you start? With yourself for sure! Imagine how great you’ll feel when you know you have guided others to reach their own ah ha’s!

Mentoring takes effort, yet the reward is so satisfying. It is too easy to slide into the role of coach and that is exactly what you don’t want to do.

Get involved, listen to the interview here

You are a successful leader when you provide the support and structure your team needs to be the best. It can be scary – between 79% and 90% of mentor programs fail because of the lack of support and structure. Listen to the only world leader who provides International Certification for Mentoring (ICM).

Get inspired! There is nothing you can do better than be an inspiration to your team. Nothing else matters – lead and your team will follow. Yet you must be the first. It’s virtually impossible to inspire others until you too are inspired. Think about those who influenced you the most. They were the people who asked you the questions that caused you to think and come up with your own, original answers. They were your mentors!

Implement mentoring and you will have a team of innovative thinkers who always lead your organization to new heights.

Click here to hear what I’m talking about

Mentoring is the future of having an engaged team – self-development leads to increased morale and productivity. The result; increased profits! The quicker you get on board, the quicker you’ll reach your goals.

Continued growth,

Doug

Doug Lawrence
TalentC People Services Inc.
Phone: (306) 537-6759
Connect with me: linkedin.com/in/Doug Lawrence
Email: doug.lawrence@talentc.ca

We help our clients increase engagement, empowerment and accountability. Email me and let’s talk about how you can show your people you care.

TalentC People Services Inc.
1222 Baird Street North
Regina SK S4X 3B6
Canada

relationship building

 

 

 

 

Everywhere you look relationships are being built whether it be on a professional or personal basis. Some end up being solid relationships and some require ongoing care and feeding to ensure that they stay alive. A leader has a responsibility to those they serve to have the required skills sets and desire to build deep and meaningful relationships with those they serve – internal and external to the organization. Taking the time to build those relationships is critical if one wishes to inspire others to follow. Building these relationships is easy – right? It is like most other things in life, if you don’t want to invest the time then the people you serve will see right through you. You need to be committed to the journey and authentic in your approach and how you communicate. Leaders who are not great communicators will shy away from developing the relationships that is needed and followers will move away. I found this statement when doing some of my research and I wanted to share it with you:

“If you don’t have the time to build real relationships with your people then maybe, just maybe, you don’t have time to lead.”

As a mentor the landscape is much the same. To be an effective mentor with a focus on developing two way trusted relationships you need to be committed to the journey. You must be authentic and sincere in your approach and what you say. Let’s say that you are working with someone that is experiencing low self-esteem and self-confidence. If you say to them that you believe in them but the tone of your voice and your body language say otherwise then you will not be successful as a mentor for that person. I can usually determine if that is the challenge within the first few minutes of the conversation based on some simple questions. I want to be able to demonstrate that I care and want us to work together to move forward. Proper training as a mentor provides me with the skill sets that we need to navigate the road ahead. Building trusted relationships and communicating effectively ensure our success as an effective mentor.

All too often we see potentially good leaders that change their focus to other areas where they are not required to lead. Leading people is a complex process and dealing with situations that involve those people is just as challenging. It doesn’t have to be all that daunting of a task though. I see the changes in our mentors from when they begin the journey with us to when they “leave the nest” and they understand the need to build the two way trusted relationship and to communicate effectively. I see when mentors do not have those skill sets and struggle to keep a relationship alive and well.
Leadership development programs need to focus more on the relationship building and communicating effectively. Ideally having mentoring as a component of that program is the desired state. Relationships are important to us in all aspects of our lives and we do need them. Meaningful relationships take work. Are you prepared for the journey?

References:
1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottedinger/2014/02/25/for-leaders-relationships-trump-expertise/#746f914e34c5
2. http://www.cio.com/article/2437699/leadership-management/great-leaders-build-off-great-relationships.html
3. http://www.inc.com/kathy-rapp/leadership-strategies-relationship-building.html
4. http://stevekeating.me/2013/07/19/no-relationship-no-leadership/

STorytelling

 

 

 

 

 

We have talked about the ability to effectively communicate by listening and hearing and visualizing conversations before they take place. If you are not listening to what is being said or not being said then you will not bring value to the mentoring relationship.

Another technique that we can use as mentors whether we are internal or external to an organization is the art of storytelling. Storytelling has been around for decades. It is typically mentioned when we speak of elders in the Aboriginal community. They are indeed the gifted ones when it comes to storytelling. Sometimes the message is evident and sometimes it is woven into the story and the follower must figure out what that message is. Storytelling can assist in the development of critical thinking skills.

I found this little excerpt while doing research for this article and I want to share it with you as it does pertain to both internal and external mentoring;

“Stories are brilliant ways of bringing examples to life but remember, as an internal mentor our skill lies in knowing when to share a story, when to stop and when to ask the mentee to share their story and simply listen.”

Occasionally as mentors we find ourselves with little to say or the person we are spending time with is not forthcoming with conversation. The awkward silence sets in and we question what value we are bringing. This is when I launch into storytelling. The story that I share may simply be about my work but sometimes with hidden messages in the story. The story may be about something personal as I may recall an issue or two that we had been dealing with and this may be relevant to fire start the conversation. The art of storytelling however is to know when to engage in doing so and when to listen. It is also about knowing the questions to ask in order to have your mentee begin to share their story.

I was spending time with someone the other day albeit electronically and I had to utilize storytelling in order to guide them in the right direction. They had become emotionally disconnected from what I would call reality and I needed to bring them back. They were dealing with a number of issues all of which pointed us back to self-esteem, self-confidence and negativity. I used a form of storytelling to get them to see what was taking place without it being obscured by negativity and to then map out a path that we can take to a better place. By using the storytelling method I shared rather than telling them what they had to do to get out of this dark place.

“Stories create “sticky” memories by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means leaders who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.”

I remember speaking at a conference one time and sharing a couple of stories with the audience. My stories were sincere and from the heart as they were about things that I had experienced – they were things from the past. As I scanned the audience I could see lots of heads nodding in agreement but more importantly were the small handful that I had touched emotionally through the story. They were wiping their eyes but did not look away when I glanced in their direction. We chatted after the session and they had experienced something similar but never had the strength to talk about it. Hearing me speak from the heart convinced them that they needed to share their story with others. Allowing the story to be told has such a powerful feeling – a feeling of release as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

When you combine the gift of mentoring with the power of storytelling you can provide that emotional release. You can strengthen the mentoring relationship that you are building through the sharing process. You can help develop critical thinking skills by leveraging mentoring and storytelling.

Here are some steps to follow to become more adept at story telling:

1. Start with a message
2. Mine your own experiences
3. Don’t make yourself the hero
4. Highlight a struggle
5. Keep it simple
6. Practice makes perfect

Storytelling is a skill of a great leader and a great mentor. It is another great tool to have in your leadership and mentoring toolbox!
References:
1. http://theconversationspace.com/whats-storytelling-got-to-do-with-mentoring/
2. https://hbr.org/2015/04/ceos-need-mentors-too
3. http://www.lib.sk.ca/Storytelling
4. http://www.aboriginalconstructioncareers.ca/toolkit/step-5-coaching-and-mentoring-long-term-success
5. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2013/12/11/how-to-tell-a-good-story/2/
6. https://hbr.org/2014/07/how-to-tell-a-great-story/

Reflection 1

 

 

 

 

I attended another energized Junto Regina Leadership Development session today where I was blessed to be in the company of so many inspiring colleagues. As I was driving home I reflected on the energy that was evident in the room and I wanted to share some of my thoughts from that reflection. For me, reflection has become part of my life. I reflect about what is about to happen and what has happened. It is not normally situational or event driven but can be as it has become something that I have disciplined myself to do. I create the environment where I am safe and open to give and receive feedback as part of my reflective process. I am enriched on a personal and professional basis each and every time that I reflect.

As a great leader it is important that we reflect personally and professionally. As a mentor it is important that we reflect personally and professionally. All of this sounds good but what does reflection mean:

“Reflection is a mental process which, applied to the act of learning, challenges students to use critical thinking to  examine presented information, question its validity, and draw conclusions based on the resulting ideas.”

When we think of times where we have been reflecting we are looking at things in the present state and we are looking at things in the future state. How we reflect on the future state will be driven by our learning from the past and current state.

Reflective leadership can be defined as:
“Reflective leadership is a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one's life with presence and personal mastery. Learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people throughout the day is the focus of reflective leadership.”

Reflection in the mentoring process follows the same path. As part of the mentoring process it is essential that we reflect prior to and after spending time with someone in a mentoring relationship. We will be looking at the past state first and reflecting on what went well, what didn’t go well, and what can we do to improve things so that both of us get value from our time together. Reflection into the future state will prepare us for the time that we are about to spend with another person. It will help guide us on our mentoring journey. Failure to reflect future state is like going on a trip without a sense of direction.

Reflection is a transferable skill. It is one that we can use daily and frequently throughout the day. It requires discipline and commitment to take the time – time for yourself to properly reflect on past and future state. Reflection can be used in your personal and professional life and will leave you that much more enriched as a person.
Whether you are a leader in an organization, in the community or in the family the power of reflection will serve you well as you serve others.

References:
1. https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=reflective+leadership
2. http://www.meetup.com/Regina-Leadership-Development-Meetup/events/past/?scroll=true#past
3. https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=definition+of+reflection+in+education

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