Archives For Mentoring

iStock 000023481513XSmall 200x300 Stupid Idea or Seeds of Brilliance?The young leader came racing in my office, his “great idea” bursting from his heart.  He had a plan and was ready to go.  I listened to his enthusiastic outburst with mixed emotions.  He had energy, passion, and commitment.  Good start. But…it was a stupid idea.

My inside voice screamed…

  • No way
  • This idea will never work
  • I’ve seen this movie before (it doesn’t end well)
  • He hasn’t thought this through
  • He’s such a rookie
  • Bless his heart
  • …?

Then two more thoughts.

How do I challenge his thinking while sustaining his passion?


What if he’s right? Continue Reading…

iStock 000010331854XSmall 101x150 Mentoring Moments:  Just in Time SupportSomeone asks you to be their mentor.  You’re not sure you can commit. It’s a lot of time, and you’re already overloaded.  Plus you’ve mentored in several formal mentoring programs and it felt forced and awkward.

Formal programs can stifle a good relationship.   Even organic relationships can lose steam with too much structure.  Worse, many connections never start for fear of commitment.

Mentoring Moments

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” -Phil Collins

Instead of saying, “yes! I’ll be your mentor,” or “I’m sorry, I can’t at this time,” how about a simple, “I’d be happy to talk with you.”  Keep it natural.  Find time to connect.  Figure out why they thought of you.  Help where you can.  Connect them to others who can support.  If it makes sense to set a follow-up, do that.   Don’t get stuck mentoring past helpfulness.  Growing leaders can benefit from a series of mentoring moments with a broad spectrum of leaders.  You will learn from these moments too.

Tips for a Making Great Mentoring Moments

  • Ask lots of questions
  • Work on a specific skill
  • Pull out the answers
  • Provide information and encouragement
  • Help them ask “why?”
  • Dust them off when they fail
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Serve as sounding board
  • Remove obstacles
  • Uncover resources
  • Create additional connections

10 Mentoring Moment Sentence Starters

  • Have you thought about…
  • What do you think would happen if…
  • Why do you think that happened?
  • Who should you involve?
  • When is the best time to do this?
  • Why are you pursuing that approach?
  • Which are the most important goals?
  • What will happen next?
  • Why does that make you so angry?
  • Who can help?

 What makes for a great mentoring moment?

See Also:
Won’t You Be My Mentor
Nemesis Mentors
Don’t Get a Mentor
Speed Mentoring

iStock 000022885869XSmall 300x270 Powerful Presentations:   Teaching Your Team To Talk StrategyA “stand and deliver” presentation on your results is always nerve-wracking.  But– watching your team do one is down right scary.

Remember when you…

  • couldn’t sleep the night before
  • were so stressed, you missed the main idea
  • failed to anticipate the political dynamics
  • used the wrong words, which took the entire conversation downhill
  • didn’t have supporting documentation
  • couldn’t answer obvious questions
  • left them with the wrong impression?

What didn’t kill you can make them stronger. Continue Reading…

iStock 000009239974XSmall 300x199 Your Mentor May Not Be Helping Your CareerMentors are an essential component of any development strategy. In “Won’t You Be My Mentor,” we discussed how to find a mentor. In “Don’t Get a Mentor,” we explored the importance of developing a cadre of mentors. And, in “Nemesis Mentors, I challenged you to find a mentor who makes you crazy.

Great mentors prepare you for the next level by challenging, teaching, sharing stories, and offering perceptions. However, many people assume that their mentor is also their sponsor. This is not necessarily the case.

Mentors prepare. Sponsors promote. Continue Reading…

iStock 000018917656XSmall 300x300 Speed Mentoring:  Jump Starting Deeper ConnectionsFinding a great mentor is hard.   A lot goes into making mentoring work, but above all it starts with finding a great connection.

I spent today launching a new mentoring circle, with a bit of a twist.  Instead of a pure skip-level experience, all of my direct reports were involved, along with high-potential managers from across the organization.

We worked together on business problems, identified key priorities and challenges for the coming year, and came up with some fantastic strategies and plans.  There is so much power in collaboration.

And then we tried something new….“speed mentoring.” Continue Reading…

They say “feedback is a gift,” but much of the time it does not feel that way.

So, what was different this time?

F12 Hank and Singing Bear1 300x200 The 3 Gifts:  Grateful for Growing

It was a cool, crisp night.  The warmth of the make-shift spotlight was both frightening and friendly as I stood ready to give my final speech at the SCORRE conference.  Frightening because my own expectations were high, and I knew the feedback would be deep, direct, and dead on.   Friendly, because any feedback would be delivered with generosity and compassion.

I had come to this conference to hone my speaking.  What I had not anticipated was how much I would learn from experiencing and watching the coaches coach.  By the third day, I began taking as many notes on  how the coaches were giving feedback as to what they were saying.

What was it about their approach that made it both compelling and easy to hear?

Why was I so thirsty for more?

How was it that my group full of experienced speakers were transforming into magnificent motivators before my eyes?

and mostly… Continue Reading…

This is a guest post from Jonathan Green.  

Jonathan is a culture evangelist who focuses on leadership development behaviors and communications strategies.  His expertise is service models that provide world-class experience.  He has worked in a variety of verticals including Finance, Utilities, Tech, and Telecom.  Green has spent the last seven years working for a large Telecom provider and thoroughly enjoys the fast paced and ever-changing environment.  Check out his blog at

iStock 000009529654XSmall 200x300 Snap, Crackle, STOP   Whats Your Brand?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand?

Most people associate brands with companies, services or products– but don’t always stop to think about their personal brand let alone how to build it.

As individuals, we actually have much more at stake as our brand is being observed, assessed and judged on a regular basis.  In my work with young leaders, I carve out time out to help them consider their brand… and to be deliberate about enhancing promoting it.  The key is simplicity.  Break it down into manageable parts.

1 – Image

2 – Behaviors

3 – Attitude Continue Reading…

iStock 000008326039XSmall 201x300 Stupid Feedback:  When Stupid Smarts and What to Do About ItWe’ve all been on the receiving end of stupid feedback from time to time.  It’s mean. It hurts.  And it isn’t useful… or is it?

Feedback is stupid when it’s alarming,  but not specific… when we leave the conversation not understanding what to learn, or have any inkling about what to change.   It’s easy to become frustrated and defensive.

A stupid example

I just spoke with an old friend.  He was visibly distraught, “I was just told I am not a good leader,” Continue Reading…