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