Posts Tagged ‘coaching’


The Mentor Myth by Debby Carreau pokes a hole in the theory that having a mentor is essential for growing professionally and reaching the top rungs of the corporate ladder. The word “mentor” is an overused term. Instead, Carreau asserts that people are responsible for their own destiny. They are in control, not mentors who barely know them and are taking a passive interest in their careers. While mentors can be useful, there are much more effective approaches to career advancement. Smart professionals lead the way down their own career paths, and they are not afraid to take risks.

Professionals who want to be in full control of their careers and success should keep the following principles in mind:

  • Others are not in control a person’s career destiny. Supervisors, mentors, and coworkers are not responsible for how far another person advances in a career.
  • Mentors can be helpful but are not a career panacea. They are not as valuable to any one person’s career as some business books and career experts would have people believe.
  • Change happens. Planning is an important part of having a successful career, but unexpected events do occur. Smart professionals think strategically about their careers but are also flexible for when such events, such as market declines or industry disruptions, occur.
  • Complacency is a career killer. Many people take too long to make necessary changes in their careers, and they get stuck. Career planning is an ongoing effort and deserves dedicated time.
  • Failure is an opportunity for growth. The fear of failure stymies some professionals from taking risks, but each failure is a learning experience that makes most people stronger.
  • People are personally accountable for their own careers. Professionals who advance are those who always go beyond the bare minimum and do what they say they will do.
  • Hard work is not enough. People who work around the clock with the hope of getting noticed rarely receive the attention they crave. More productive for career growth is working hard and strategically thinking about how to move forward.


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91717331Change is endemic in the modern corporate setting, and employees who are continually learning are better equipped to evolve with this change. In Managers as Mentors, Chip R. Bell and Marshall Goldsmith present a mentoring guide that assists managers in taking on coaching roles to enhance the skills and abilities of associates. The authors emphasize that protégés are meant to develop into confident individuals who assume greater roles, and that the mentor/protégé connection is a partnership in which both parties gain valuable insights throughout the process. Managers as Mentors explores the full range of mentoring, from creating empathy, sharing knowledge, and effective listening to stimulating curiosity, assessing performance, and letting the protégé independently exercise newly-mastered skills.

According to the authors:

  • The best mentors recognize that their relationships are based on mutual interests, interdependence, and respect. The communication between mentor and protégé must be honest, straightforward, and open.
  • Protégés learn best when they are tutored in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Some may bring anxiety to the relationship, and this is a learning barrier because it suppresses risk taking. The mentor must overcome this by building rapport to a level where the protégé is willing to take rational risks.
  • A motivated protégé is one who will learn. Learners are better prepared psychologically if they accept the “why” of learning before they hear the “what” and the “how.”
  • Communication without judgment is essential to mentoring. Mentors should express themselves to protégés in terms of acceptance and affirmation in order to eliminate protégé defensiveness and encourage freer expression.
  • Mentors must remember that discussions are opportunities to augment their learning, not lecture. Good mentors yield the pulpit as much as possible to allow their protégés to think for themselves.
  • Listening is essential to mentoring. Mentors should give undivided attention to their protégés, deny distractions, and make their protégés the absolute focus of their energies. This fosters greater understanding by ensuring that communication between the two parties becomes the foundation of intellectual linkage.
  • A certain level of dependency is unavoidable in the mentor/protégé relationship, but it can be harmful if permitted to become too influential. To avoid hindering growth and development, alternative routes to learning must be explored.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Monday Morning Leadership, Power Mentoring, The Complete Guide to Mentoring


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