How Mentoring Impacted Me

Why I am Passionate about Mentoring

Beginning with my first duty assignment as an Army Second Lieutenant, to my time in the Private Sector as an Executive Leader, and today as a Start-up Co-founder the process of mentoring has been key to my success as a leader. I have had five distinct mentors over the years and each has contributed to my leadership vertical development.

Mentoring vs. Coaching

The terms mentoring and coaching are often construed to mean the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. A simple way to understand the difference between mentoring and coaching is: A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers to your questions (Figure 1). Each of my mentors 1) possessed a great deal of knowledge and business unit know-how, 2) provided me advice and guidance, and 3) shared their experiences with me.

Figure 1, The Differences Between Coaching, Mentoring and Related Fields. Culture at Work, (Wilson, C., 2016)

Vertical Development and Mental Growth

All my mentors contributed to my horizontal development, increasing my knowledge, skills, and competencies. However, my mentors spent most of their time attending to my vertical development, enhancing my ability to think and act in complex systems. 

They did this by 

1) Providing me valuable new ways of thinking in volatile, uncertain and ambiguous situations 

2) Drawing me out of my comfort zone through intense stretch assignments 

3) Helping me create strong developmental networks at work

4) Accepting my failures when they led to my mental growth.

In the end, my mentors were focused on my vertical growth trajectory, which was about my future, maturity, growing up and increasing my depth. As I look back to each of my mentoring experiences, I now know my mentors were all focused on my adult mental growth and my transformation as a leader.

Right Fit Mentoring

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” -Steven Spielberg

When I first started dabbling in finding a mentor, I tried finding people who I aspired to be like or were in careers in which I was interested in.  At first, everything seemed great but often I would pause and find myself saying “but that’s not me” or “I don’t want the same things”. I gave up on mentorship for a while and determined that mentoring just wasn’t for me, nor worth my time.  

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There Is Value In Mentorship

I did not have a mentor until about six years ago. This probably sounds insane to some, especially if I mention that I was in the military for 11 years, separating almost 12 years ago. 

I never understood the importance of mentorship. From an outsider’s perspective, it just looked like the mentor was using their status to benefit someone they favored.  Continue reading

Mentor <> Mentee Relationship; Becoming stronger in life’s journey

Christina (Purepost Marketing Manager) and I were discussing mentoring a few weeks ago and something struck me. Since I’ve been mentoring Veteran entrepreneurs over the past few years – I mentor out of selfishness.

What I mean by this is if I’m going to devote an hour phone call or coffee every month or two – I need to:

  1. Know they will take some of my advice and apply it to make themselves better either professionally or personally
  2. Become a better person from my relationship with the mentee

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Compliments and Leadership

After six years of service, I thought I was a “dirt-bag Airman.” I could not wait to separate from the Air Force. That was until I had a supervisor that focused on the positive in me. He realized I had some challenges when it came to my career field, but realized the unique asset I could be if someone provided a little encouragement and accepted me as outside the norm.

For the two years that I worked for him, directly and indirectly, I grew exponentially as a person, Airman, and parent. I improved processes for six offices, cleared out waiting rooms when asked, and started learning the beauty of networking.

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I Am Blessed With Great Mentors

As the youngest of four children, I have always been able to look to my parents and siblings for mentorship. When most children were looking at television for their hero, I had mine in my home: Mr. W.R. Averett.  My father taught me how to be proud of who I am and how to handle the ugliness of discrimination. He gave me my foundation.  Continue reading

2020 Reading List

A new year and decade have begun. Many of us are designing our 2020-setting goals and resolutions, picking a word to live by, and creating to-do lists. Maybe one of your to-do lists is a reading list. To recognize the tradition of setting goals for the new year, the team at Purepost would like to share their top personal and professional growth books to inspire you in 2020. Continue reading

Soldier to Civilian: networking as a veteran

When I left the military in 2007, my next move was business school. As a fresh veteran, I knew little about the private sector, let alone business. What I learned one short week after arriving was that networking is everything.

Networking can be unusual and unnatural for soldiers. We do little of it in our military careers. For the most part, our OER and NCOERs (military performance appraisals) speak for our professionalism and experience. The Army and sister branches rely on this system, in my opinion, for these three reasons: Continue reading

How to Obtain your DD214 or Army ORB / Army ERB

These instructions will be helpful to anyone needing:

  • An electronic copy of your DD214
  • An electronic of your Army ORB or Army ERB

If that’s you, read on! Continue reading

3 Ways To Hire Qualified Vets Faster and Easier

While quickly and cost-efficiently finding qualified veterans to fill your open positions is your goal, it takes particular tools to accomplish. You ideally want to source from the most qualified candidates on an easy-to-use platform that will help you speed up your time to hire and increase ROI with the right hire.

Here, we’ll break down three surefire ways to broaden your knowledge on the veteran hiring front and ensure you’re finding top veteran talent in the most efficient way possible. Continue reading

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