Berstein & Copeland

The How of Mentoring

Over on my site, Busy | Paul R. Jorgensen, I waxed about the folks I’m officially and unofficially mentoring. Tonight I expounded, pompous mentor-like, on a number of topics (to a junior colleague and a brilliant yet unfortunate senior colleague, stuck in our orbit by her ardent professionalism & unerring politeness & desire to make well-earned fun of us). I’ll leave the “what landed as useful“ versus “couldn’t wait for him to shut up” ratio to my audience; I only hope the ratio is favorable to my ego.

This discussion, added to other broader team chats and emails and instant messages and whatnot, present an interesting question:

Setting aside the formulated “what” of being a mentor, where’s the “how”?

Seriously, there are any number of books telling mentors what to do:
be available, be open, be ruthless (but not too ruthless), be not too available, be not too open. Recommend a schedule. Don’t recommend a schedule. Build up! Don’t forget to break down. Do this; don’t do that. The latest book countermands the previous book.

Here at PVC Security we stick to four pillars – Passion, Vision, Communication, and Execution. They’re as applicable to mentoring as to most serious endeavours. Yet, “how” is still variable.

  • How do you instill passion when they’re new? If they’re cynical?
  • How do you convey vision when they don’t know the landscape?
  • How do you encourage communication and collaboration in a lone wolf or a lost cub (which every new hire is until they find their footing, regardless of place)?
  • How do you coach execution when they’ve never delivered anything before? When they’ve never delivered anything themselves but as part of a team? When they’ve delivered but it lacked success? When they delivered successfully and think they know better than everyone else? When they won’t deliver because they’re afraid to be wrong?

How do you, Dear Friends, approach mentoring?
If you received mentoring, how did he or she deliver it and what impact did it have on you?
If you’ve mentored, what do you find successful and what do you find best to avoid?

Comment here, email us at [email protected], or tweet with #askpvcsec for us to see your musings. If your response piques our interest, we might invite you on the podcast.

Stay tuned!

And Thank You!