Tag Archives: Mentoring

What is a Mentor?

What is a mentor

I once worked for a large firm that had a formal counseling program and an informal mentoring program.  This often confused new employees.  But once it was explained, it made sense.

Since the consulting firm was a matrixed organization, a counselor was someone at the next-higher level that gathered project reviews of the people he or she counseled.  If you worked on four projects in a year, you may have had four different managers and reviews.
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The Responsibility of Being a Role Model

role model
The Responsibility of Being a Role Model

One day early in my career I remember having lunch with my boss. We were discussing the latest political sex scandal and how the politician was handling it.  As was his nature, my boss turned it into a teachable moment.  He commented on how sad it was.   “A man spends his entire life building up his reputation.  And in a moment of weakness, he destroys it.”

No longer a role model

We both knew that there were probably a multitude of weak moments, but his point was made.  We both wondered why someone who spent so much time and energy developing a public reputation –a personal brand as we call it today – would ruin it with such self-destructive behavior.
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Mentor, Hero or Bum? You Decide

Mentor, hero, or bum

Mentor gone bad

Early in my consulting career, I connected with a manager in my firm that I considered a mentor.  He had many years of consulting and business experience under his belt.  I would go to him regularly for advice and he willingly shared his knowledge.

I didn’t report directly to him, but a friend of mine did.  One day she told me how he had unfairly reprimand her in front of some peers.  She was humiliated and I was surprised that he would be such a jerk.
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A High School Inspiration That Lives On

High School Inspiration
A High School Inspiration That Lives On

Although I’ve been out of high school for longer than I care to admit, there are still a few things that stick with me from those days as if it was yesterday.

I enjoy woodworking, and I rarely make anything in my workshop without thinking of my high school shop class.  And nobody would have mistaken me for an athlete (I was a much better athletic supporter).  But I did letter in track all four years, and today when I drive past a high school where a track meet is taking place, I’m tempted to stop and see if I can still do a couple of triple jumps.
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A Consultant’s Positive Ass Kicking

Positive Ass Kicking
A Consultant’s Positive Ass Kicking

Andrew’s role as account manager for a consulting firm required him to sit in on most of the meetings held by Leah, his project manager at their firm’s most important client.

In Monday’s weekly status conference-call, although Leah ran the meeting, Andrew observed that she didn’t exactly ‘take charge’ of it.  She was a little hesitant to start, wanting to wait a few minutes for everyone to report in.  She proceeded through the agenda items, reciting issues and risks without offering detailed explanations or mitigation strategies.

Not aggressive enough

Andrew was a bit dismayed, knowing Leah had a more aggressive approach to her work.  He made a mental note of the observation.
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5 Things My Mentors Have Taught Me

Mentors Have Taught
What My Mentors Have Taught Me

When I started out in consulting, I decided early on that I would seek out a mentor.  I must have been like the little bird in the children’s book Are You My Mother?” that goes from animal to animal seeking out its mother.  I had in my mind that there would be one person that would extol his or her wisdom to help me to launch my career.  After a few years, here is what my mentors have taught me:
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