Tax Reform, Ethics, Water Shortage
April 25, 2007
Utah Economy, Healthcare, Nonprofits, Immunization, Western Primary
March 28, 2007
Utah Economy, Western Primary
February 28, 2007
Growth, Charter Schools, Minimum Wage, New Legislation
January 17, 2007
State Spending, Healthcare, Ethics
December 21, 2006
Be a Mentor
by Ken Embley, CPPA
Just about a year ago, I wrote a piece for this column
titled The Likeability Factor (July
2006). The title is the same as that of
a book written by Tim Sanders. In the
book, Tim identifies four likeability factors: friendliness, relevance, empathy
Recently, some folks asked me to provide an example of what
a supervisor can do to be relevant in the workplace. In sum, their collective question is somewhat like…“Besides
ordering people around, what do I do to be relevant in the lives of the people I
supervise?” and my response was “Be a mentor.”
Their response to me was something like… “Great! I can find time to shoot the breeze with people
who report to me” and to this I said “Then do not mentor, you are just wasting
time.” Allow me to go back to the
origins of the word mentor and speak to the evolution of mentoring as a substantial
tool for a supervisor who wants to be relevant.
to The Odyssey, Odysseus entrusted Mentor with the education and
development of his young son, Telemachus.
Mentor was the guardian who protected; he was wisdom personified and the
dispenser of knowledge. He was the
consummate teacher, who faithfully educated Telemachus in the ways of the world
and gave him the requisite knowledge to live in that world. When Telemachus grew up and Odysseus
returned, Mentor’s responsibilities were complete.
has come a long way from its original purpose of enlightenment. Although the original concept of a mentor as
a loyal and trusted counsel exists, it is woefully incomplete.
Today’s mentor is a
facilitative partner in an evolving learning relationship focused on meeting
the learning goals of the protégé. A
learning-centered approach to mentoring requires that a mentor facilitate a
learning relationship rather than being a “dispenser of knowledge” or to “shoot
the breeze with people who report to me”.
When the foundation
of the mentoring experience is learning, the likelihood that the mentoring
relationship will become a relevant and satisfactory one dramatically improves. In her book, The Mentor’s Guide, Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships,
Lois Zachary explains the four phases of mentoring—the four phases of
developing a learning relationship. http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787980455.html
mentoring relationship is unique. Each
time a new mentoring relationship begins, both mentor and protégé should
prepare individually and in partnership to ensure clarity about both roles and expectations.
the business phase of the relationship, the time when mentoring partners come
to agreement on learning goals and define the content and process of the
relationship. This is when the details
of when and how to meet, responsibilities, criteria for success,
accountability, and bringing the relationship to closure are mutually
phase—is when most of the contact between mentoring partners
takes place. The enabling phase is
maintaining a sufficient level of trust to develop the quality of the mentoring
relationship and promote learning. The
mentor’s role during this phase is to nurture the protégé’s growth by
establishing and maintaining an open and affirmative learning climate and
providing thoughtful, timely, candid, and constructive feedback.
an evolutionary process that has a beginning (establishing closure protocols
when setting up a mentoring agreement), a middle (anticipating and addressing
obstacles along the way), and an end (ensuring that there has been positive
learning, no matter what the circumstances).
To be likeable, it is
important to be relevant in the lives of people who report to you. Of course, there are many techniques to
employ but one of the more promising is to be a mentor. However, it is no longer good enough to be a
“dispenser of knowledge” or to “shoot the breeze” with people then declare your
mentoring effort a success. In the
simplest of terms, being a mentor means having the skill and ability to facilitate
the development of a learning relationship.