CHAPTER 4 – THE
The mentors in any organization are those who can
help integrate others into the organization.
This usually means that the mentors have experience
and are willing and able to spend time and
effort to develop talent in others. As a part
of their mission, mentors give advice, but
it is not the role of the handbook to tell
you how to give advice. What is important is
how the mentor can act as a catalyst with the
The purpose of this section is to distinguish
and dramatize the skills of the mentors – the
probes, the challenges, the inquiries and the
provocative questions that will inspire thought,
stimulate reflection, tap discovery and generate
new aptitudes in a protégé.
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
A mentor is any individual who provides less
experienced people with support, counsel, friendship,
reinforcement, and constructive example. Mentors
are good listeners, people who care, people
who want to help others bring out the strengths
that are already there.
As a mentor, you can help aspiring young professionals
find their way in the world they live in. Being
a mentor provides an opportunity to give back
through a form of community service within APEGGA.
WHY BE A
“There are two ways of exerting one’s
strengths. One is pushing down,
the other is pulling up.”
Booker T. Washington (1856 –1915) Up from
The reason most given by individuals who become
mentors is that they wish to give something back
to their community. Another common reason is
that mentors feel that they are contributing
to the future of our society. Mentoring less
experienced persons provides them with many benefits
from improved work habits to enhanced self-image.
Research shows that Mentoring really helps both
Mentoring provides significant benefits to the
mentor as well. Experienced mentors report that
they actually feel that they get more out of
the relationship than they give. While the benefits
of mentoring are as diverse as the people who
mentor, here are some of the themes heard from
mentors. As a mentor you will be:
- Making a difference in someone’s
- Learning about yourself
- Giving back
- Having fun
Few bonds in life are more influential than
those between mentors and protégés.
Mentors provide support, counsel, friendship,
reinforcement, and constructive example. As a
mentor you may help your protégé:
- Plan a first project
- Explore topics of mutual interest
- Set some career goals and take steps to reach
- Learn more about your community and how to help
others by volunteering
- Strengthen communication skills and ability to
relate well to all kinds of people
- Make healthy choices about day-to-day life
“Hide not your
talents, they for use were made, what’s
a sun-dial in the shade!”
Benjamin Franklin (1706
– 1790) Poor Richards Almanack.
ATTRIBUTES OF GOOD MENTORS
You don’t have to be brilliant or particularly
successful to be a good mentor. If you want to
be a good mentor, take the time to learn about
your role and you will be successful. Some of
the qualities of great mentors include:
- Having a sincere desire to be involved with a less experienced person
Respect for the less experienced person. Mentors
should not have preconceived ideas that the less
experienced person needs to be rescued, because
APEGGA protégés are professionals
An ability to listen actively – it is relatively
easy to give advice or express opinions. It is
much harder to suspend your own judgments and
Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand
at a very deep level what the other person is
going through – even without having had
the same experience
Seeing solutions and opportunities. Good mentors
balance a realistic respect for the real and
serious problems faced by their protégés.
They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble
of issues and point out sensible alternatives
Flexibility and openness. Good mentors recognize
relationships take time to develop and that communication
is a two way street. They are willing to take
time to get to know their protégés
AS A MENTOR
You may be wondering what role you should play
as a mentor. Defining roles can be challenging,
so start with something with which you are familiar.
In discussing roles, you may start by discussing
something you are both familiar with, for example,
a supervisor. Most of us have had a supervisor – a
boss – at some time in our lives. First
think about the job of a supervisor.
What are the hats a supervisor must wear in
his relationship to his/her employees? A supervisor
- Role model
- Enforcer of Policy
- Spokesperson to senior management
- Liaison between staff and organization
- The person directly responsible for future promotion
Comparing this to a Mentor
A MENTOR IS
A MENTOR IS
A banking machine
WHAT A PROTÉGÉ WANTS FROM
When asked, most protégés say they
want the mentor to help in three areas: advice,
access and advocacy. Be sure to ask your protégé what
he wants from you. Early in the relationship
the protégé may not have a good
answer to the question. Try again after several
meetings to see if he has developed an answer.
By the same token, it is important for the mentor
to realize what he wants from the protégé.
Remember every good mentor is a good listener.
“It is with advice
as with taxation: we can endure very little of
either, if they come
to us in a very direct way.”
Sir Arthur Helps (1817 – 1875)
TIPS FOR SUCCESS AS A MENTOR
• Appreciate any signs of growth
• Listen carefully to what your protégé
• Ask good questions
• Share your thoughts and feelings
• Always be on time
• Try your best to be a good role model
• Learn any special rules that are part of your program
• Show that you recognize the protégé’s values and
• Strive for mutual respect
• Be honest
|• Think you are going to change the
world over night
• Jump to conclusions
• Be judgmental
• Forget that communicating means listening too
• Forget how important you are to your protégé
• Talk about things that are off limits
• Try to be a parent
• Try to inflict your beliefs and values rather than demonstrating them
• Use rudeness or foul language
• Be insincere
: WHAT KIND OF A MENTOR WOULD YOU BE?
Before proceeding with any mentoring relationship,
you should consider the following points. It is
appropriate to visit this list during your mentoring
relationship to review your commitment.
|| I am committed to drawing on my own experience
(successes and failures), and learning to
provide insights that I believe could assist
|| I am committed to improving upon my skills
as a mentor.
|| I am committed to being available to my
protégé for the time/frequency
agreed upon in the mentoring plan.
|| I am open to learning and receiving feedback
from my protégé.
|| I am interested in learning from someone
whose background and experiences are different
from my own.
||If you have concluded that you have skills
and abilities that may be useful if you passed
them on to a younger person and have checked
off all of the above boxes, it is time for
you to become a mentor.
are several ways in which you can get involved
in a mentoring relationship. APEGGA
has developed a mentoring program which will
be valuable for Members in Training (MIT’s)
and other members who want to enhance their soft
skills in the business world. Consult the APEGGA
web site to determine if there is a role for
you. Alternatively, if there is a young person
you know, either in your own company, or perhaps
the child of a friend or a member of your own
family who you feel could benefit from your experience,
suggest a mentoring relationship with them. Be
certain to explain that the nature of the relationship
requires a lot of work by the protégé.
The next section will provide you with a step-by-step
process for starting your relationship.
BECOMING A MENTOR
sections describe what mentors are, the purpose
of mentoring, and the kinds of
skills that are necessary for you to develop
as a mentor. This section will take you through
the mentoring process itself. The APEGGA Mentoring
Program emphasizes the need for the protégé to
be in charge of the process. However, there
are times when the mentor can take the lead
if no potential protégé has approached
him/her about acting as a mentor. Even though
the protégé is to be responsible
for scheduling of the relationship, the mentor
has a major role in preparing for meetings.
It is important to remember that as a mentor
you should not work harder on the relationship
than the protégé does.
“Let no man say
that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough
that I should be my own follower. I know what
an inadequate follower I am myself, for I cannot
live up to the convictions I stand for. You are
no followers but fellow students, fellow pilgrims,
fellow seekers and fellow workers.”
Mohandas K Gandhi (1869
Mentor’s Personal Evaluation
POTENTIAL TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
During the important first meeting there are
many things that can be discussed if the meeting
is planned properly. If not, you may find yourself
in the uncomfortable position of being unable
to control the discussion and have the meeting
fail to meet your objectives and those of your
protégé. Remember the protégé should
lead the meeting, but if he is unable to do so,
you need to be ready to help. Here are some questions
you may ask yourself in preparation for the important
- What career experiences have helped
me most in my own professional development?
- What were the most important lessons learned
from those experiences?
What “truths” would I want to pass
on from those lessons?
- If I were to contribute one quotation to my own
book about succeeding in my profession, what
would that quote be?
- What have mentors done for me and for my development?
What kinds of mentoring experiences have been
most helpful to me?
- If I were able, what would I change about any
of the mentors I have had?
How relevant do I believe my experiences and
professional learning will be to the development
of my protégé?
- As a mentor, how would I like to be remembered?
- What can I offer someone I mentor?
- What are my major strengths and talents?
- How much time, effort and enthusiasm can I realistically
devote to working with someone like this?
What do I think my protégé should
contribute to the effort?
Getting To Know Each Other –
There are many topics of conversation that can
lead to a comfortable environment. Good mentors
always listen more than they talk. Some topics
- What are the most important things you should
be accomplishing on your job?
- Do you feel successful at your job at this
time? If not, what is preventing you from succeeding?
- What do you like best about your job?
- If you could add variety, autonomy, and importance
to your job, what would you do?
- What are your career goals?
- What have been the most significant learning
experiences in your career?
- Do you feel you would benefit from any particular
type of training?
- What do you think most hinders your success?
- How do you learn best?
- What knowledge, skills and abilities do you
feel I possess that would most benefit you?
- What kinds of special learning or improvement
opportunities do you feel I should provide or
help you get?
- What do you want to know from me?
- What do you want most from me?
- What information do you have for me on how
I can best help you or better understand what
- What do you think we need to do to make this
- What do you need right now – today?
- What is the best way to give you feedback?
- What scares you?
- What makes you want to learn more?
- What talent do you feel you lack?
- What is the toughest stretch for you?
- What is your most satisfying success?
Mentors should leaf through the protégé’s
section of this handbook to get an overview of
their expectations. Many of the exercises for
mentors are repeated in the protégé section;
however, there are a number of exercises that
you should know about. The guidelines for setting
a personal vision and for determining objectives
will be valuable to you. The Protégé’s
Checklist of Tasks will give you an overview
of the process they will embark upon and will
give you a good idea of what to expect.
Although the protégé is expected
to lead the mentoring process, if they fail to
do so, it is important for the mentor to step
in and provide guidance. As the protégé becomes
stronger, the mentor can step back and let the
Planning the First Meeting
THE “10-60-90” PRINCIPAL
The “10-60-90” principal instructs
people so they will learn and grow to their greatest
potential in the least amount of time. When you
tell an adult how to do something, 10 per cent
of what you say will be remembered. If you show
an adult how to do something, 60 per cent of what
you show will be remembered. If you do something
with that same person, 90 per cent or more will
be remembered. There are three steps to make this
statement extremely effective as a mentoring tool.
Firstly, make your protégé successful;
secondly, show him the success, and, thirdly,
make sure he understands why he is successful.
INTRODUCING YOUR PROTÉGÉ TO
One of the important roles of a mentor is to
introduce the protégé to other
individuals who may be able to help develop
his skills and meet his goals. In choosing
who is a likely candidate for an introduction,
it is important to assess your own strengths
and weaknesses and choose a person who has
specific skills that will enhance yours. The
purpose is not to lighten your load as a mentor,
but to broaden the knowledge base available
to your protégé.
Opening your Rolodex to your protégé is
not advisable until your relationship has developed
and you know your protégé well.
It is wise to maintain your relationship on a
professional basis without visits to your home – unless
there is a particular skill your protégé might
gain from the experience. Business lunches, on
the other hand, are an excellent way to provide
casual exposure to your peers for your protégé.
Enjoy your role as a mentor and guide for your
“The basic rules
of mountaineering are: push yourself all the way
to the limit and then leave a margin for safety.
There is a kind of mixture of boldness and prudence
in that. It breeds self-discipline. And the next
rule is: No whining.”
John Muir, Mountaineer