Do you want to become a better leader of your life? Learn how at The On-Purpose Leader Experience at our website. Enrollment is happening now for a new Experience starting Tuesday, Sept. 24. Visit the website and watch Webcast 1 from September 2012.
A couple of decades ago a friend of mine attempted to organize a mentor program for those of us in our thirties. He reached out to select men in their 50s and 60s to recruit them as mentors. To his surprise, all of the men he approached felt inadequate to the task of being a mentor. You see, they had never really been mentored so they perceived themselves as not being up to the task and responsibility. Sadly, the program never got off the ground as a result.
Chances are that you, too, don't have a mentor. But do you wish you did?
A mentor is a person with an impersonal interest in your personal leadership development and personal growth. You may be thinking, "'an impersonal interest?' I would think it would be a very personal interest."
Actually, those of us who mentor need to maintain a healthy distance from our proteges lest we run the risk of being too close to the person. We risk becoming their fan, instead of their mentor. The effect of too much closeness colors our perceptions and shades our reflective feedback.
As a mentor, I must place my commitment to the mentor-protege roles and process above the personal relationship. Similarly, a defense lawyer must place the system of law above the client to ensure justice is served.
To have a "yes man" as a mentor is to have no mentor at all. Mentors must be able to speak truth in love and be willing to suffer the consequence of offending. Truth is the stock and trade of a mentor.
Mentors aren't dictators; we refine and develop a person's inherent leadership and innate intelligence and capacity for good. Allowing proteges to experience the consequences of their decisions comes with the title of mentor. We need to speak our piece and learn to shut up. Our ultimate interest must be independent, not co-dependent, proteges. Any mentor who is doing otherwise, is simply on an ego trip.
Yoda from Star Wars may be the most famous of all fictional mentors as the unlikely leader of the Jedi Knights. Wouldn't we all like to have a mentor teach us to use "The Force" so we can perform like a Jedi? Recall, however, how many times old Yoda seems to scrunch his face in dismay as Anakin or Luke Skywalker gets ready to do some impulsive (stupid) move that will turn the Force into a Farce.
Who in your life is or was a mentor for you? What is it about your mentor relationship that makes it special? What does your mentor provide you?
In the interim, The On-Purpose Leader Experience is a highly affordable option where I'm available to be your mentor via phone and the online group.