LifeWorks Today Podcast → 05 The Power Of Mentoring

Share this...

Episode Title:  The Power of 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


“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”  Plato


“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ― Plutarch


Mentoring is consistent, solo support, combined with appreciation and Socratic questions on culture and emotional intelligence practices, allows a person to expand and grow. Each one feels empowered by direct attention, verbal recognition of one’s gifts and contributions, an invitation to remember and live a purposeful life and from questions that move them forward into meaningful progress.

In this episode, I cover the purposes, processes and pitfalls of mentoring sessions as recommended by LifeWork Systems. Coaching, counseling and advising involve information being shared by a more knowledgeable person to a less knowledgeable person. Therapy is listening to emotionally support the sender and help them connect dots (often to their childhood) as a the priority. Mentoring is allowing people to take a variety of concepts and tools and through a series of questions, discover ways they might apply them to overcoming life and work challenges and achieving life and work goals.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What is mentoring?
  2. Is it really necessary? Why?
  3. What is the purpose of it?
  4. What is the healthiest type of it?
  5. How often should it happen?
  6. How does mentoring differ from coaching, counseling, advising, or therapy?
  7. Why do we jump to rescue and enable people rather than assist them in developing task ownership and intrinsic motivation?
  8. Why do we continue to say what people have already heard and already know?

Episode Guest: Mike Minkler

Mike Minkler is President of CMIT Solutions. CMIT works with small business owners to help them understand how they use technology. His company delivers peace of mind to business owners through proactive, predictable technology support. CMIT is a provider of flat-fee Managed Services to small and medium sized businesses. They advise clients on addressing security concerns related to computers and technology, provide solutions that enable the evolving mobile workforce, provide backup and disaster recovery solutions to protect valuable assets and a variety of other services including cloud computing.

From my experiences with Mike, he is a powerful and innovative leader, eager to learn and develop new skills within himself and to empower his staff in the same. He functions from purpose and values and invests time and money into maintaining, measuring and improving his healthy workplace culture and strong interpersonal and trustworthy relationships with his employees and co-owners.

Keywords:  mentoring, human system, employee engagement, purpose-driven

Story: Some of the stories at CMIT Solutions, including some experiences and questions from years of mentoring.

Episode Topics:

Review of last episodes: In the first 4 podcasts, I focused on these themes:

  • developing people instead of controlling them.
  • I referred to this as transfer of responsibility to people so they pick up task ownership; the owning of tasks like managing one’s own relationshipsproductivityengagement, mastery of emotional intelligence tools, and
  • moving forward in developing a blueprint progress plan.
  • not only task ownership but trustworthiness as a foundation for the culture and
  • social interest as a key value.
  • Social interest is caring about using one’s power to cause specific, intentional consequences to others.
  • Mentoring is also directly in support of emotional intelligence such as self- and social- awarenessand self- and social- management.

In this episode, we focused on:

  • Purposes and process of mentoring
  • Mentor Pitfalls

Purposes and process of mentoring (in the LifeWork Systems model): Mentoring is provided for 30 minutes every month, for every person, at every level, no exceptions. A different template is used every month the first 5 months and then a consistent template is used thereafter. The main purposes include:

  • Helping people with emotional intelligence – self / social awareness, AND self / social management. In this you ask Socratic questions. SLAM = Say Less, Ask More. How do we give less counseling and ask more questions instead.
  • Brief review of purpose (group and individual).
  • Supporting task ownership. Tasks that each person owns include managing one’s own:
    • Relationships – Do I have 10’s with people (not necessarily best friends but rather no troubling challenges or unresolved issues)? Do I make this top priority and foundational?
    • Productivity – Am I competent, excellent and efficient in getting things done?
    • Engagement – Am I fully engaged, bringing my A-game? Excited about my job?
    • Blueprint – including next steps on purpose, values, visions, goals, procedures or roles
    • Tools – Use and mastery of culture and interpersonal tools and how to apply them

Mentoring Pitfalls: You are in a pitfall when…

  1. Allowing or encouraging mentee’s to go into sharing stories and conversation (mentoring is not therapy, emotional venting, or advisement) Do Time Out signal when this happens
  2. Focusing on why and who questions, instead of what and how questions – such as “what is your plan to fix that?” “What are some tools you’ve learned that you could apply to this?” “How will you accomplish this?”
  3. Veering off course because the person spurred a thought about something else or the mentee is diverting you. (likely unconsciously) Do Time Out signal when this happens
  4. Not using templates (you think it’s better to “wing it” or to add your own topics to the session that have nothing to do with task ownership or culture as defined above)
  5. Ignoring other-directed language or the mentee not answering questions as asked or intended
  6. Mentor interjects their own agenda and focus (becomes two-way conversation or counseling instead of fully focused on the mentee)
  7. Mentor does not manage the 30m schedule in a time-efficient manner
  8. Saying too much (including advising and counseling) instead of asking questions (Socratic) that lead the mentee to self and social awareness AND implementation related to both.

Resources: There are many articles related to this topic. Judy’s articles on the topic of mentoring include:

We appreciate your willingness to give us a 5-star rating on this podcast!

Interview Transcript

[Music] Welcome To Life Works today this podcast is provided so that together we can create a world in which all people love their lives our current human systems aren’t working the way of superior versus inferior or management versus employee or adult versus child we need a powerful positive and sustainable transformation this podcast is for you who seek to be happy fulfilled and peaceful so that your Abundant Life Works

today welcome everybody to the podcast life works today we’re really excited to be able to still bring you podcasting although I want to let you know that my guest and I are doing this podcast virtually because of the Corona virus scare right now and so you may hear some children or pets or something in the background or that the quality of the sound will go in and out a little bit but hopefully you’ll get the the general Spirit of this conversation and the value that we’re bringing to you for it so I want to go ahead and just start out with a couple of things that I’m doing every time and one is to let you know what the topic is today and give you something to kind of think of as you’re going through this with us which are some quotes that I bring to the table on the topic so this episode is called the power of mentoring and I’m going to have a guest on here in a few minutes that not only has he learned about how to do mentoring he does it so consistently that he’s even doing it from his virtual positioning right now with his company and his team members so that was really exciting to hear but the quote that I want to open this session with it’s by Steph Spielberg and it’s the delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves and that is so consistent with what we do within our mentoring and the purpose and the spirit of the mentoring we have it’s not to create people it’s to help them discover who they really are and that’s kind of been a driving force for why I do this work is I I really believe that people do have that core need to feel seen and heard and even sometimes to see and hear themselves what am I feeling what do I want you’ve heard me talk a little bit about that so before I really jump all the way into this episode on mentoring I want to kind of just tie this back to some of the themes that I’ve covered in the past episodes so in the first four podcasts there’s a consistent theme of developing people even if they’re little bitty people in your home or they’re big people in your workplace and doing the development of people rather than the controlling of them and I referred to this as transfer of responsibility to people so that they pick up what Adler called task ownership and that means simply people owning things like managing their own relationships managing their own productivity their own engagement level their own Mastery of emotional intelligent tools and even being able to formulate and move forward a plan of progress that we call a blueprint plan so in this episode I’m going to cover the purposes the processes and the pitfalls of mentoring sessions as they’re recommended by my company life work systems because other people might look at mentoring completely differently so coaching Counseling and Advising are not what we do in our mentoring those involve information being shared by a more knowledgeable person to a less knowledgeable person the questions that I want to answer in this podcast are what is mentoring and is it really necessary and if it is why and what’s the point what’s the purpose of it and what is the healthiest type of mentoring and how often should it happen the focus of this episode is that it’s really important for every human being to receive consistent one-on-one support combined with making sure that you take that even if it’s the one time that you take with them to show them appreciation and to even ask them questions that allow them to feel that what they have to say matters and that they are able to expand and grow through their own self-awareness so people are empowered by Direct attention getting recognition for their gifts and contributions and that invitation to live a purposeful life because our work is also based in purpose and values so with all of that being said I want to go ahead and I want to introduced you to my very esteemed guest Mike minkler so I want to just tell you a little bit about Mike Mike is the president and one of the owners of cmit solutions cmit is an IT company that works with small business business owners to help them understand how they use technology his company delivers peace of mind to business owners through proactive predictable Technology support they’re a provider of flat fee managed services to small and mediumsized businesses they advise clients on security concerns related to computers and Technology they provide solutions that enable the evolving mobile Workforce they provide backup and disaster recovery solutions to protect valuable assets and then in addition they have a large variety of other services including cloud computing I want to tell you a little bit more about my experience with Mike he is one of the most powerful and Innovative leaders he’s always eager to learn and to develop new skills himself and to empower his staff in doing the same I have always enjoyed working with Mike what Mike does is he functions from purpose and values and he’s willing to invest time and money into maintaining measuring and improving a really healthy workplace culture and strong interpersonal and trustworthy relationships with his employees and his co-workers his co-owners so I am so proud and pleased to introduce you to Mike minkler and Mike why don’t you go ahead and say anything else you want to say about you and how we met and anything about that yeah absolutely thank you Judy and thank you for inviting me on today I really excited to share some of our experiences in in mentoring and and the overall Life Works process that that we’ve been through and have been going through what I always like to say is it’s very much a marathon not a Sprint um and it’s something that we’ve Incorporated over the last three to four years uh mentoring and the overall life workk system into our business and we initially met because I was looking for a human system I didn’t know at the time that’s what I was looking for but after watching you present and talk about uh engagement of uh of your employees and the workforce uh it really hit home for me and uh that’s when we started working together you have always been one of the easiest customers you you have no idea how hard it can be in some client site so I just have to reiterate that to you you always made it easy and you went fearlessly I don’t I hope this doesn’t put you on the spot Mike but what is the purpose of cmit can you tell me that so that the listeners can hear how you operate by that purpose yeah yeah it’s it’s to maximize potential positive experiences and personal growth that is our purpose you know it’s really been lifechanging from a number of different perspectives I think biggest surprises honestly having gone through the process and not only for me personally have I been affected that way but hearing from you know my employees and how it’s changed their lives as well has really been you know a very very nice surprise overall and when we went to lunch and when we did that presentation together I think he really felt that right from uh you know three of my employees participated on a panel and one in particular uh had left us to take a new position at another company that was you know viewed as a as a promotion and he realized pretty quickly that hey the culture here is not at all like what I left and that is really important to me so he ended up actually coming back to us and and really made that decision purely based on the fact that he knew that cmit was a place where um he could flourish and he could Thrive and he could build his career uh because of the the culture and environment that we built well yeah and I remember him specifically saying when I got to the new workplace it really sucked I yeah you know it’s it’s one of those things right where you know my radar is up whenever I hear or anything about culture now because I know you know as they say right you know culture each strategy for breakfast and and what I’ve found generally speaking is that there’s a lot of platitudes right there’s people who say oh yes I agree culture is so important and we’ve got to have culture and we’ve you know we’ve got a a purpose statement a vision statement a mission statement and if you dig below the surface a little bit you start to understand that in most but not all but but most cases it’s kind of window dressing right and it’s not really integrated into the fabric of of the the organization from a again I’ll go back and use the term human system standpoint because there is no process really behind it to keep it going from a continual you know perspective as I mentioned earlier it’s it’s it’s a marathon not a Sprint and you’ve got to be doing a number of different activities consistently in order to point it you know in the right direction yeah it’s so great that you keep saying that it’s a it’s a marathon not a Sprint because one of the things that happens in a marathon is you have to build resiliency and determination and a strong you know commitment and mentoring is the place where a lot of people you know they’ve gotten through their initial training everybody has the common language and this the common tools and then they start dropping the ball when they’re they’re moving forward like I haven’t worked directly with you much in the last three or four years and yet you guys are continuously running that marathon and mentoring is so critical that I can’t emphasize enough how once the basic concepts are learned that’s just the beginning the mentoring is where people really continue to say oh gosh you know I know all of this am I going to use it and so that kind of is a natural leadin and I I just want to tell you how much you are a role model to so many other businesses that you really hit the road you know where the rubber hits the road by doing the mentoring so what I wanted to do in this session is make sure that I go over with people what is the purpose of mentoring in our model and what are the pitfalls that we help people to stay out of and then I want to ask you Mike to share what you learned when I kind of came in that time recently and oversaw some of your major mentors and what was it that you kind of learned and I’ll give you my view on that as well but in the world of Life Works systems mentoring is primarily to help with that emotional intelligence it’s to ask Socratic questions and recently I was in a client site when I said say less ask more one of the employees went up to the Whiteboard and wrote slam so now I’ve adopted slam say less ask more so our model for mentoring it really falls into that how do we say less give less advice less counseling and ask more questions because when we do that well a lot of work gets done on the part of the mentee so one of the purposes is helping them to be not only self-aware and socially aware but able to manage themselves and those relationships it’s also to review purpose like I did with Mike I asked him what is the purpose of the company and he could just pull it up right away and it wasn’t real over long it was very memorable we all could picture what he was describing and it’s also making sure that that transfer of responsibility is happening so those are the major purposes in our mentoring model it’s not to give advice or to talk a lot to the person you’re mentoring it is also to be done every month and that means that even Mike is mentored every month and it could even be that Mike mentors an employee and then that employee could turn around and Mentor Mike back because that’s how equality based it is as opposed to I’m bigger better smarter stronger than you the mentee it’s meant to be hey we’re all in this together and let let’s make sure we’re checking in to ask very specific questions for example I remember when Jack hanfield would say to his wife every day are we at a 10 you know and if they weren’t he would say what can I do to take it up to a 10 that’s a a very good example of checking in checking in now we can’t expect people to do that every day on everything but it should be done at least month a month that there’s a dedicated slice of time that’s used very efficiently and if you’re if you’re doing that right it means you’re probably not falling into these pitfalls that happened during the train so I want to just kind of go over those and Mike please just raise your hand or something if you need or want to interject because these are eight pitfalls do you want to say anything right now while I’m getting ready to go into these uh no I’m excited to hear them because I’m sure we’ve done them all so I’ll be happy to you know provide some some feedback as we go through okay so uh think thanks we all do these pitfalls it’s a it’s partly because we always think we have to prove ourselves instead of get out of our own way but one of the pitfalls is you do not want to allow or even encourage the person that you’re mentoring to go into a long story or a conversation because it’s not therapy me uh venting or advisement so a lot of times Mike you probably remember me doing this you might start going into a long tangent and I’ll put the timeout s signal like time out Mike that’s a really great story you might want to tell otherwise but that’s not what we’re doing here now right and sometimes it’s a little awkward when you’re the mentor to do yeah because you know what I found is people will show up right to mentoring with uh kind of their own agenda right oh I had this problem or this issue with this person I’m G to come in and I’m gonna you know uh spill the beans on that situation right and so um it’s not really about that right it’s about making sure they’re using the tools and techniques and other uh processes that they’ve learned to be able to manage that situation on their own yeah in a way the story can be in the way in the way the story can be a diversion in the way the story could be a stall and I don’t mean people intentionally do it but that is actually what’s occurring and the hardest thing for that Pitfall is the mentor going time out that’s not what we’re doing right here can we can we go back on track which means I’m going to be asking you very specific questions and you don’t need to go into a whole lot of depth about them they’re more like fairly simple are are you having any relationship that’s out of 10 or how what number would you give your productivity very simple quick responsive self-awareness and socially aware questions one of the things that happens too is the mentor sometimes will fall into the habit of asking why do you think that’s happening or who was involved so why and who questions are really a kind of a waste of time they sort of go down a path of analysis which is often followed by paralysis so when you’re mentoring you want to focus on what and how questions so if you answer a question to me if I have a relationship that’s not a 10 if I say why do you think that’s happening now we’re going to analyze if I say who’s who’s the one causing the problem now we’re picking and blaming and all of that but if I said so Mike if it’s a seven how will you get it to a 10 or how will you get it to an eight now I’m helping you think in terms of what is the next step I can take so that Pitfall is to fall into why and who questions also sometimes mentees can Veer off track they get on a tangent it kind of Spurs another set of thoughts again the way to handle it is Timeout another way is people not using the templates so as you know we have these very specific templates and a lot of times people will say but that feels kind of artificial to me I I don’t feel like I’m being myself and I would say that’s kind of a dangerous mindset to have the mentality of I’m going to wing it what happens when we do that is we often uh get diverted or we start using the session for something other than what it’s meant to cover which are all around cultural behaviors within the community of the business and how do you move yourself forward in your own productivity and motivation and plan also this was a big one with your team Mike it was when I would listen to The MENTOR doing the mentoring and the other person would say well I probably do this or I probably do that and and I would say hey do you notice probably is not self-directed language do you remember that Mike I do yeah I do and I don’t even know if you were one that did it a lot but I know when I did the oversight with Nick and with Barry it happened for for both of them and it was just one of those things where I’m really attuned to when people say well I’ll try or I know I should those are all very vague and uncommitted kind of statements and I think that was probably one of the biggest pitfalls that I saw in your group the last time I think uh that’s a tough one just like not going into stories is yeah I’ve noticed that as well and I pick up on that quickly now you know when when you know we talk a lot about accountable requests as well and that’s a topic for another podcast I’m sure but but it’s very often that you get the response well I’ll I I’ll try to get that done yeah you know and so you know a it’s an interesting response right and you have to be intentional about saying well you know try is is other directed as you said right that’s not a commitment that that’s an out you’re giving yourself an out if you say I’m GNA try to get that done that means hey if I don’t get it done I won’t be you know responsible uh any longer we got to get that out of our language somehow so just out of curiosity if somebody says I’ll try and you’re mentoring them what would be the question you would ask them I might say something along the lines of how can we get try changed into I will okay so now I’m mentoring Mike as we’re talking about mentoring so that’s close because you’re saying how you’re saying a how question but you’re saying how will we the real question is how will you turn your try into I will or or something along those lines can right transferring that responsibility right to the to the person you’re mentoring yeah so it’s such a good example that you’re giving because what we’re tempted to do is say well do you see you’re in other directed and all that and that’s information that they already know but what will cause them to get to their resolution is to say h i noticed you saying try what’s your barrier or what will you do to overcome whatever’s in your way because it’s not you know you’re not committed what will you do and that’s tough because they don’t even know in that moment that they’re not committed so even remember when we’re seeing something in somebody it’s more about saying less asking more another one is the mentor will start interjecting their own agenda maybe something that the mentee says makes them feel something that they’re very passionate and convicted about and all of a sudden that’s that becomes a sideline conversation another one is that the mentor doesn’t manage the 30 minute schedule appropriately so when you’re mentoring someone you want to be aware of oh gosh I have these steps to go through how will I make sure that I don’t get stuck on the first three and never get to the last ones so like for example the very first thing we have people do in a mentoring session is Express appreciation so for example if I were mentoring you Mike I might say Mike I really appreciate the kind of leader you are and how teachable you are and how much you’re willing to commit to your your employees so do you see that took all of a minute maybe maybe even less than a minute so sometimes we’ll take simple things like sharing purpose sharing appreciation and we’ll make those so long that we miss out on the rest of the tasks of the mentoring session I believe you know there was a time in our history from a mentoring standpoint where we really got off track and we we started you know to not use a template uh it became somewhat unstructured and it really turned into more like uh I guess counseling or you know talking about the issues of the day you know kind kind of an activity and uh you know with your help Judy we got we got reoriented towards okay this is all about the mentee not the mentor and and really want to be more focused on as you said the Socratic method right that our mentors by and large are leaders so sometimes you know staff person will come in and I think view it as an opportunity they’ve got you know airtime right they’ve got the attention to come in you know with their own agenda as you said being one of the pitfalls right and so you know it’s all about having a parking lot right if they have particular issues or problems that they want to talk about there’s no nothing wrong with that it’s just not something that we’re going to cover inside of our 30 minute mentoring so I think that’s an important piece of you know not only the time out but you know what what you have to say is important but it’s just not you know part of the scope of this meeting of this conversation yeah so you clearly get that Pitfall is important to avoid because it’s so we’re kind-hearted we want and we are curious about one another and we do know people want to be heard so it’s not that we don’t want to do those things but we don’t want to do them with that set of purposes within that mentoring so you really clearly see that you know one thing that it reminds me of is when we were doing that presentation with your three team members and Orion said his biggest concern and working in your culture model at first was oh they’re probably giving us a bunch of BS like all core corations do saying how much they want to hear what we have to say and all that and then he said I remember when I got into my first mentoring sessions I realized this was for real because they were asking questions and they did want to hear what I have to say do you remember him saying that I do yeah absolutely that was a such a great because a lot of companies do say they want to hear but then they don’t make a space for hearing right so I I may have a ninth Pitfall Judy okay you know one of the other problems that we found and we’re in like many businesses today right fast-paced Dynamic uh lots of things to do always something more urgent more pressing and there’s a natural uh tendency to say oh we’ve got mentoring schedule today for 30 minutes but we really don’t have time for that let’s reschedule that for next week or let’s skip this month Etc you know that’s a pitfall that I know that we’ve fallen into from time to time and I view it as a discipline that you have to have to make sure that you are conducting the mentoring on a monthly basis and the the way to get over that hump I think is to uh look at it from an investment standpoint you will get a return on that investment and increased Employee Engagement productivity better relationships which will more than make up for the half hour of time that you spend together with a mentee once a month right exactly and sometimes our tendency to push it off aswell that’s something we can we can take out of the agenda for the month because we’re busy right sometimes that is because we are going deeper further with people and it’s a little frightening to them I remember Mike I I hope this doesn’t make you feel bad but I remember one time going to one of your group review sessions where there were about half of the group had not done their group review and afterwards I said you know you got an issue to go and talk about with your team because about half of them have dropped their commitment to doing their work and you said but they’re so busy and I remember saying to you Mike you have four kids you’re a soccer coach you’re an owner you go to a bunch of extra meetings did you make time for these sessions and you said well yeah and I said then why would you hold them to less of a standard so part of it is even when we’re doing a good job we’re afraid that people will get offended at us if we expect more from them right yep so that could be like it’s always good to look at why would we skip this if if there was a barrier that we were unconscious of why would we skip this oh it might be because these get really uncomfortable when we get really real I think that’s a big part of it I really do and sometimes I found that people might not necessarily want to be personally responsible oh yeah they may prefer to live in a world where they aren’t account right for the things that they have to do on a day and a day out basis yeah I remember when you guys went through one of your recent surveys and there were a couple of behaviors for trust that were a little out of whack and you all went around to each other and said am I failing on any of these behaviors and you had a few people say you had a nine instead of a 10 and you said oh that was hard for me to hear even though it wasn’t like you were failing miserably and that’s how we all feel we feel a little bit like we’re expecting to be punished when we’re asked questions and and what’s beautiful about your organization is you’ve created it so that people can trust each other more because I read recently that until you have consistent psychological safety for at least six months people won’t believe you that you’re not going to punish them or hurt them or anything even if you have to say tough things so I do want to take a quick pause because I know that we’re a good way through this podcast and I just want to take a minute to remind our listeners to look a little bit deeper into life work systems life work system specializes in Performance Management through healthy culture transformation and Mike’s a great example of that so we ask you to go to our website to learn more about life work systems and how to get involved with us including accessing information related to today’s podcast but also the past podcasts and when you go on our website you can subscribe to our podcast and you can also join our mailing list if you want there’s plenty of things to do on our website and also we would love for you to know how to contact us so on our website you’ll find our phone and our email so I just wanted to sneak that in there Mike I also wanted to mention something to you that I don’t know if cmit is doing this but you guys might want to try the reverse mentoring if you’re not because imagine how it feels to an employee who says you know they’re done mentoring and you say now we would you do my 30 minute mentoring because there’s it’s a breakdown of an artificial barrier sometimes that we can’t both be that reciprocal do you guys ever do that very rarely but I think it’s a great idea and I would like to see more of it yeah it kind of feeds into that feeling of them feeling that they can make contributions to you which is one of the core needs I know I would have Lov that I think that’s why I do this work I would have loved if my parents had come to me and said could you give me your opinion on this because that was never happening when we were growing up it was always let me tell you how you should think and and they were good people don’t get me wrong but they didn’t have any curiosity and I would have felt so honored if they’d said what do you think so it’s just something to to consider we don’t always push it but it is something that is often needed so Mike you know this but our audience doesn’t know this that our mentoring templates start in the very first month of working with a client and it’s really in the beginning to help them ground some of the real basic concepts like what is a personal responsibility model uh versus a control model what does it mean to uh be trustworthy what does it mean to be personally responsible those kinds of questions are in the early templates but some of those questions are also questions that get people over the discomfort of discomfort right do you remember one time you asked one of your employees if there was any anything that would cause you to leave what would it be and this employee said well I I wish you paid me more money and that was a tough one and I even said to you Mike you don’t have to fix that right away you just want to notice that look how much courage it took for you to ask the question and him to answer that question and if I remember right you guys came up with a creative resolution to that when somebody ended up leaving we did yeah I do remember that and as you’re saying it it sounds like maybe to the average listener that that’s an unwanted result right of going through that process but what I found is it’s much better to get that out on the table early because then as a as a business person you have an opportunity to to address it right as opposed to uh trying to mind read and guess that’s been one of the most wonderful things about mentoring in life works is we don’t have to guess as much as we used to from a business standpoint we know where people stand because they’re comfortable and they trust us to approach us and uh and share and and know that they’re not going to be retaliated against because we’ve created this culture where they’re comfortable doing that so and you’re and you’re comfortable enough and I I know the listeners can tell how much courage you have just from that one example Mike because you’re absolutely right most people might think well that’s an insane question you know what would have you leave us but it’s actually like you said having it above board I remember one time in a mentoring session a manager asked her employee are you at a 10 with everybody on our team and she said yes and then the manager asked this question which was on the template are you and I at a 10 and the other person looked away and the manager said I promise you there will be no retaliation I can see there’s something going on please tell me what it is and the employee was a brand new employee she’d only been there about 45 days and her response was well honestly I figure you’re going to fire me any minute now and the manager was like what and she said when you hired me you told me my first 30 days was a trial period and that I would find out on my 30th day whether I was accepted or not and 30 days came and went and I never heard anything so I assume you’re finding my replacement now you can see how important that was information to know about right absolutely and that manager was able to say oh my gosh I am so sorry you didn’t deserve that it was a terrible you know misstep on my part we love you we want you here but you know imagine that 15 days where that conversation didn’t occur that person might have been on like all those job boards and um you know thinking about who can I tell that I’m GNA need a new job soon and they’re they’re probably not very present yeah not at all and you know we have those same challenges right I think every organization does about setting and meeting expectations when it comes to employees and it’s always somewhat imperfect science right and so got to have these touch points and these Avenues where people can uh be heard right and feel comfortable being heard and expressing when their expectations aren’t met and when they have concerns and they have issues because it’s just the reality of the situation that we live in you know I used to think as a business owner will have a perfect system where there’ll never be any mised expectations and then you start to realize that’s that’s Utopia right that that place does not exist so so it has helped us as well in being able to you know get get out in front of those issues before they turn into real problems well and that’s the thing I think also people are terrified of questions meaning they’re GNA automatically get in trouble whether it’s the owner asking a question or an employee asking a question or being asked a question and the more that you’re asking these questions that are clearly to support the employee the more that they Trust the questions that you send to them because they’re not designed to catch you and get you and punish you and that’s what so many of us were raised with Even in our childhoods and our schools and then in our first workplaces we had a guy at one of our client sites that came to a mentoring session and I happened to be sitting in on a couple of them that he was in and each time he would start to tear up now he didn’t SOB or anything but he would tear up and he’d say it’s so hard for me to trust all of this because my experience in my past company was so so terrible that if I ever revealed anything it was always used against me so it was just going to take time for him to realize he was going to be okay in this environment yeah I can see where that that people coming in from a different culture from a different time period from an autocratic style leadership it’s a challenge I mean I went through that personally right I mean that was my background in having to go through a change for myself into individually was not overnight and it’s interesting is we continue obviously to grow the business and hire new people when somebody comes in from that kind of an environment it requires a fair amount of time and and and training and mentoring to get them adjusted to the to the culture where it’s okay to share ideas and opinions and not feel like you know you’ve got to put on your game face at work right that your your same face can be at anywhere and that you don’t have to be perfect you can make mistakes right because if you can’t get to that point where gosh we’re even comfortable about what we didn’t think would happen or we’re afraid to say it brings a a huge amount of energy that’s often held up in stress in the body into where it can be used for creativity by the time a company is at month five so you guys are well beyond that except for maybe with your new employees what you’re doing with the template is you’re going through a pretty consistent process right so it’s the first thing that I mentioned earlier was with Mike I gave him recognition and appreciation and then I would review his purpose and values which we did and then I would say to you Mike mine is to create a world where people love their lives so I’m grateful that you help me love my life and you help the people in your company love their lives by investing time energy into them and so you see how even just talking about the purpose reminds us what we’re what we’re going for and that doesn’t have to have a ton of attention on it just some attention are you loving your life Mike I am loving my life absolutely good because I remember one time a couple years ago I said to my mentor because I have a coach because I can’t always see my blind spots in fact when I see something I’m like how could I not see that I teach this right but I wasn’t loving my life in that I was prospecting I didn’t like prospecting and she said well why don’t you fire yourself from that job so I did and I honestly felt like a kid let out of jail so sometimes even talking about purpose can lead you to self-awareness self-management and what’s what’s developed instead has been beautiful which is working through other Partnerships and and so on and not having to do that role I’m happy you’re loving your life also just to kind of finish this up what I would normally do with somebody like Mike if I were me Ming him regularly is I would just go through and do a quick report card on Mike are there any relationships that are not a 10 are there just out of curiosity I would say there are a couple okay do you know so there’s two is that right two okay what numbers would you give them I would give one an eight and the other a nine okay so not in terrible crisis right no okay and then I would say to Mike on in terms of your own productivity in your life right now especially with all these changes with the Corona virus and being stuck at home and everything would you give yourself a 10 in terms of being productive at this time I would not I would give myself nine on productivity okay so there’s a few barriers there a few things that you would want to maybe work on what about your own engagement in your work right now and in your life do you feel like you’re excited to get up in the morning and faced your life or do you feel like you dread it you know any on that I’m at a 10 on engagement okay okay and so what I would do with Mike is he’s got two areas where he’s not at a 10 and I would probably encourage him which one of these is most important to you to work on I would say relationships okay did you know before I asked the question that you had two that were not at a 10 was it real crystal clear that that I had to think about it for a moment I had to think about it for a moment but but uh but yeah I mean there are there are two relationships that I need to work on yeah now Mike knows this process those of you listening kind of just have to take our word for it but I would have Mike go through on the template these eight behaviors that build trust and I would be saying to him in the relationship where you have an eight or a nine let’s just take one in in your head and I would say Mike which of these behaviors are you falling down on with them and then I would say and which behaviors is this other person who’s in that with you what are they falling down on and it doesn’t mean that we’re going to do that right now Mike but that is the process right yep that’s what we do every month yeah yeah and then you might find three things that you’re doing poorly and two or three things they’re doing poorly and then the um issue is again like you said it’s a marathon not a Sprint so I might say okay for the sake of this mentoring what’s one thing you would want to improve and how will you go about it and and then at least it gives him a a chance that maybe this eight can become a nine relatively quickly so anything you want to say about that process Mike I think it’s a great process what I found is you can kind of get a sense in each of your Ming sessions if the if the mentee is coming in with uh a real intent to to work on uh their relationships or their productivity or their engagement you many times I get a 10 and maybe this is a question for you Judy let’s say I sense that someone you know today is just kind of mailing it in right they’re not really there to to do the hard work because working on relationships is hard work and there are times when I have someone tell me that that all the relationships are a 10 and depending on the size of the organization and people that you’re interacting with it’s it’s not easy to have all your relationships at a 10 uh so so many times I will pause there and uh not just check a box right and roll through it but challenge them a little bit not to invent things but um are you sure that you know all relationships were out of 10 how what’s the best way to handle those situations well I I think what you’re saying even bigger than that is sometimes people show up at a mentoring session not truly committed to wanting to move anything forward they’re either stuck in the status quo or they’re even afraid to look like even to gain the awareness of themselves or the relationship dynamics that they’re managing but if you feel that you want them to want more than they’re doing there’s a mistaken goal there that you and I know called the goal of inadequacy right so we can typically feel when somebody’s in that place of I’m performing here when I could be performing here which I’m putting one hand below the other so for those of you listening but so when you you know are suspicious that somebody’s holding back their ability to grow that’s where you want to use the redirect and say Mike it feels like you’re not showing up to this mentoring really wanting to move anything forward or make any improvements just remember how in the goal of inadequacy you make a statement and then you ask a question so if you however you want to do this Mike pick one area on this mentoring template that you want to make an active Improvement on would you be willing to do that and tell me what that is so that’s still a Socratic question but it puts it on them that hey I’m expecting you to pick up a little more responsibility during this mentoring session yeah I like that that’s good I’m going to write that down yeah either that or go back and look at the goal of inadequacy right that’s always so tempting to let people off the hook you know and just say Well they’re probably having a bad day but it can become a you know one of these things where we keep making exemptions yeah well on the reverse side I remember one time you you taught me but sometimes I will get this as an answer say we’re talking about productivity and someone might say I’m at a nine on productivity because we can never be perfect you know I’ll never give you a 10 whether it’s productivity or engagement or relationships I’ll never be at a 10 because I know there’s always room for improvement what you taught me was that’s okay you know if they want to make that statement but what they need to do is they need some examples right of of why it’s at a nine and not at a 10 say for example with productivity what what is an example of something that’s keep keeping you from being at a 10 when it comes to productivity and that challenges them right not to just a blanket statement every time but to really think about yeah and if they have no answer to that question you would be able to say to them so at this time your productivity couldn’t be better because you can’t you can’t even think of an example that it could be better and that’s all we mean by a 10 it doesn’t mean you’re in some kind of you know static place of perfection all the time but it means in this moment I don’t have any problems that I’m aware of that I need to work on so I’m glad you brought that up because you’re right people are uncomfortable saying it’s really okay right now and yet you’ve probably had this experience Mike and we can kind of wrap up on this of when people get mentored long enough they often get to the point where they can go through and say I really don’t have any relationships right now that are Troublesome I’m really feeling pretty productive and I really feel good about my engagement and now all you work on with them is either their blueprint or saying hey why don’t we practice the redirect tool or why don’t we practice this tool since we got 20 minutes and that’s when you know your people are really co-creating something new with you because they’ve they they’re managing the day-to-day pretty regularly have you had that experience yeah with certain individuals and what you find is that there’s a spectrum of people right and some will take to this much more readily and quickly than others do but for those people who are 100% bought in committed and thinking about this on an Ono basis very much so you get to a place where you know you can quickly move through the the template and get to a place where you are working on tools techniques their own personal blueprint and and those are you know great sessions they’re all great sessions but th those are nice ones right where you can kind of get into more of the meat around some of these tools techniques in the blueprint yeah and I think that also kind of I remember one time at the talk at the presid presentation Lydia said it’s sort of a contagion with us the more we get what we’re doing the more we’re all doing it it somewhat rubs off I would I would think you’re seeing that after all these years yeah you go through this process of going through the the the steps and the techniques and the tools and the checklists and the templates and at first it feels a little bit like uh it’s unnatural and maybe a little bit forced but what you find Within anything with practice and repetition eventually it becomes just part of what you do on a day in and day out basis and it becomes more natural it does and and honest to goodness it is unnatural at first because how many times do people like Orion saying I just thought this was going to be another BS you know BS promise that every company makes so it is unnatural because we haven’t been asked a lot and given opportunities to think through and make new decisions so it it does become like you said though becomes a way of life and so I appreciate that I had you on here Mike with so much real life experience and even you are continuously growing you’re willing to look at oh gosh I wonder if we could do this reverse mentoring because maybe that would be a next step for us or I wonder now if I want to go back and fix that two relationship that are at eight and a nine you know so I appreciate the fact that this was a very rich conversation and I want to go ahead and wrap up the session but I want to I want to make a couple quick statements one was that I had a couple of other quotes that I just want to leave our listening audience with and you as well Mike and this one is by Plato and he said don’t train a child to learn by force or harshness but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that they may be better able to discover with accuracy The Peculiar bent of the genius of each so you know in this model Mike you know that the belief we hold about people is that they are and want to be great and I love how this is saying you you help them discover with accuracy the particular bent of the genius of each even saying we’re not only great we’re genius about our own lives and that’s really what you’re doing in good healthy mentoring and then this one by plutar the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled so just kind of keep those in mind as you continue to promote mentoring in your community and be a resource to the people because they’re going home and they’re probably better mentors to their children their Partners their friends and neighbors and you know they’re helping to Kindle those knowledge nuggets within people so I really appreciate that about you I want to also just end with thank you for everyone for you Mike for our listening audience thank you for listening to Life Works [Music] today thank you for listening to life works today this podcast has been brought to you by Life Works system CEO and host Judy Ryan the intent of this podcast is to provide you with hope and new ideas for Greater Joy in your life and work for more information on our organization and earlier podcast episodes related articles videos and more please visit our website at Lifeworks be sure to subscribe to our podcast and mail list we invite you to join us in creating a world in which all people love their lives and where your life works today

LifeWork Systems Logo white with transparent background

Join Our Mailing List