The Genius of Mentors


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Greetings. Behind most successful people there is a mentor. Someone with the experience, wisdom and dedication to teach and guide. Someone able to see and unlock our great potential long before it ever takes shape. Someone to bounce ideas off of. Someone to listen and encourage. Someone to bring a different and more knowledgeable perspective from having made a similar journey…often on a road less traveled.

And while most companies, organizations and leaders readily admit that mentors are valuable, few have figured out how to create mentoring programs and a culture of mentoring that really works. Instead, initiatives launched with great optimism and fanfare seem to vanish quickly–except in rare cases in which mentoring is part of a company’s DNA and the roles of mentor and mentored (or is that “mentee”) are seen as essential to innovation, growth and business success. Which suggests that we need to be more innovative in how we think about mentors, because the truth is that practically every one of us would benefit from having one or more along our journeys.

The idea of having more than one mentor was brought to my attention by my wife Lisa, herself a wonderful clinical nurse, educator and mentor, who suggested that people find their real talents by being exposed to different mentors whose insight and styles gives them a broader base of guidance on the real keys to success. And when mentors work as a collaborative team the benefits are even greater. Plus, the pressure is taken off a sole mentor who must fit their support into the constraints of everything else on their plates. So just as many enlightened organizations have job rotation opportunities for high-potential employees, we might imagine mentor rotation opportunities too. The main differences being that we don’t give up our engagement with a first mentor when a second mentor enters our lives, and that we view all of our employees as being “high-potential” and capable of reaching new heights with the help of someone who has already been there.

And just for fun, here’s a bit of historical context. The word “mentor” actually comes from ancient Greece and a very clever fellow named Mentor who was a close and trusted confidante of our buddy Odysseus.

We win in business and in life when we are eager to learn from those who have walked on the path before us. And when their support and passion for mentoring enables us to discover their wisdom and our own unique brilliance.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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