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Mentoring That Matters Part I

This insightful video delves into the significance of effective mentoring, emphasizing its pivotal role in successful organizations. The author explores the essence of mentoring, distinguishing it from personal counseling and highlighting its dual focus on operational efficiency and interpersonal development. The three key roles in the mentoring process—mentor, mentee, and mentee’s manager—are discussed, underscoring the need for clear communication and alignment. The mentor’s responsibility is outlined, emphasizing authenticity and guidance through professional challenges. Additionally, the video touches on the proactive role of the mentee and the crucial support required from the mentee’s manager. Overall, it provides valuable insights into fostering a culture of mentorship for organizational growth and employee retention.


Mentoring that matters. This is part one on roles and responsibilities. Mentoring is such an important thing. It’s become a central part of every successful, every effective organization that I’ve been associated with. But it also cannot work. And let’s look at what it would take to have a successful mentoring program or initiative. I call it mentoring that matters. What is mentoring? Mentoring is a more senior leader, helping someone junior to grow professionally and develop their career. That’s kind of a general definition that I’ve used over the years for mentoring. What mentoring is not mentoring is not about personal counseling. Personal coaching is quite often some of that involved, but it’s got to be more than that. It’s not just giving advice where the mentee, the person getting the mentoring, asks the question and the mentor says, go do this, go do this, go do this. That’s not what it’s about either. And it’s not just about sponsoring the person internally, politically to say, let me help your career as a sort of a like a political kingmaker. You know, if you think about House of cards or something like that, it’s not what we’re talking about. And it’s not just casual shooting the breeze, hanging out, kind of being buddies together either. Some of all of this goes on, but it’s got to be more than that.

What happens at work happens in stereo. You know this. There’s above the waterline stuff. There’s the below the waterline stuff. If you haven’t seen the video, see him. This is the human world, your mentee. If you’re a mentor, you need to help your mentee. Both deal with the operational stuff and the interpersonal or the human stuff. So mentoring exists in both worlds. Mentoring that matters contributes to the operational effectiveness of the organization, and it also contributes to creating a culture of engaged and retention of talented people. Mentoring has the potential to keep those people because why would they want to leave? They’ve got someone inside that knows who they are that’s helping them with their career. You have a tendency in an organization with really good mentoring to hold on to your better people longer. Okay. Now there are three key roles, three key roles, and three key relationships in the mentoring process that absolutely have to be kept straight. Of course, there’s the mentor and the mentee. That relationship has to be a good one. Clear. Everybody has to know what’s going on. But there’s another player in this little triangle here, and that is the mentee’s manager. Who does the mentee report to. There has to be good communication and alignment between the mentor and the mentee’s manager, as well as the relationship here because you don’t want the mentor to be giving advice or helping the mentee do things that the mentee’s manager would not want.

There has to be something here, and this one quite often gets left out. And so the mentee’s manager can get resentful, competitive, concerned, worried about things unless they’re in a really good relationship. So we recommend that this triangle actually gets together occasionally during the mentoring process to make sure that we’re all on the same page here. Now, the role of the mentor, to see the mentee as a whole person, not just as a set of skills, to listen to 110% while supporting and challenging to help them through the minefields of political minefields that might be in front of them. If they’re thinking about making a move to be real, not perfect. The mentor’s job is to be real, not Superman or Superwoman, but to be a real person, which helps the mentee see themselves down the road in the future. You want to introduce them to people who can help, and you want to broaden the mentee’s perspective. This is a key focus on professional and career development, not retention. You’re not doing this to make sure we keep this person that happens later or not. As a result of this, the role of the mentee takes responsibility for their own development.

They’ve got to make this work. Initiate contact, request help. They don’t wait for the mentor to call them and say, hey, do you want to talk? They call. You have to. If you’re the mentee, you have to call the mentor and say, let’s talk. It’s time. Act on the mentoring experience. Don’t just let it drop like a marble in a bowl of cereal or something like that. Be real again, not perfect. Give and receive feedback. You want to be open to feedback from your mentor and have the courage to offer feedback to your to the mentor, about what’s working and not working for you. And don’t waste the mentor’s time. This is a really key point here. Now what’s the role of the mentee’s manager? The third person in the triangle support? Port the mentoring relationship. Respect the confidentiality. You want the mentee to be able to speak confidentially to the mentor, even about the manager. This is a tough one. If you’re the manager, you need to know that the mentee has to have someplace they can go to talk about you, and the mentor could be that kind of place. You need to have that understanding among the three of you. You need to invite focus on the mentees’ performance.

Make sure that the mentor that the mentoring is helping the performance 70% on the present and 30% on the future. You’ve got to be getting the company has to be getting something now out of this mentoring. Oh, and by the way, I’m going to help you also with your future. And the manager needs to make the mentee’s development one of their priorities. You got to want it to work. If you don’t want it to work, it absolutely will not work. Now quick, the difference between mentoring and coaching. We get this a lot. Mentoring focuses on career and professional coaching focuses on personal issues. Mentoring focuses above and below the waterline, coaching mostly below the waterline. Mentoring is sharing the mentor’s own knowledge of the organization. That’s why they’re there. They experience coaching is more focused on the mentees’ issues and development. Finally, mentoring is more directive when it’s needed, willing to make suggestions what the mentee should do. Coaching? Not so much. It’s more non-directive and facilitative. Doesn’t normally tell the mentee what to do. This is part one about roles and responsibilities. I urge you to look at part two when you see how this will play itself out in action. Good luck! Mentoring is a super, super important thing to be doing, both for the people involved and for the organization.


This insightful video delves into essential survival skills for navigating today’s workplace challenges. Covering skills seven to ten, it emphasizes the importance of developing courage to face challenges (symbolized by “tigers”), mastering cross-functional teamwork, adapting to rapid change, and finding purpose beyond routine tasks. The author encourages readers to view their work as contributing to a larger purpose, urging them to quit a mundane job and discover work that aligns with personal passions and makes a meaningful impact. With a focus on personal development, organizational growth, and effective teamwork, the video provides practical advice for thriving in the dynamic modern workplace.

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