Mentoring: Different Types for Different Scenarios
Posted December 18, 2017 by Jonathon Jackson
We need mentors more than ever.
The demands of the world dictate that we have special skills in order to navigate through our personal and professional situations. At the same time, our customary network of friends and family members is increasingly not equipped to be able to support us through these challenges – probably because they’re busy dealing with their own life and career struggles.
This is where effective mentors have a role to play for us. Author and business consultant Michael Lee Stallard is a contributor to Mentoring Programs That Work, a new book by Jenn Labin. In the book, Stallard notes that we can benefit from mentors who can guide us through a variety of scenarios and challenges.
Some mentors are those who will help us to learn or hone specific skills designed to get us to the next step in our development. In Stallard’s case, he turned to two acting coaches who taught him how to give more dynamic speeches. This involved training him to make prolonged eye contact with his audience members, and to use his voice to project more volume and emotional intensity. He credits these skills – and these mentors – with helping him to become a more engaging speaker.
Other mentors may serve a more situational purpose. Stallard relates how he found a mentor who guided him through the trauma of his wife’s diagnosis with and treatment for cancer. This particular mentor had survived the same disease, and was able to support Stallard as he dealt with the fear, anxiety, and stress that he was experiencing. This relationship enabled him to support his wife and their family as they went through her treatment together.
Stallard’s wife unwittingly served as a mentor for him as well. He talks about tacit skills, which are difficult to communicate in any other way than through observation and imitation. In this particular case, Stallard felt that while he was good at connecting with people in one-on-one conversations, he wasn’t quite as good at making connections in groups. But he noted that his wife is much more socially adept, and he decided to watch her and take note of how she handled such situations. It was a trick that eventually helped him to become more at ease socially.
Sometimes, you may have a mentor that you never actually meet in person. Stallard notes how technology has made it possible for us to meet and receive guidance from our mentors via email, Skype, or other electronic means. He also mentions various authors whom he considers to have mentored him through their written encouragement, inspiring him to change careers and establish his own business.
We at ODScore Inc. are firm believers in the power of mentoring for success. Contact us today for solutions on how mentoring can work for you and your organization!