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June 2005 - Mentoring: Part 3

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.June 2005

Mentoring: Part 3

For the past two months we’ve discussed (1) the importance of leaders mentoring others and (2) how to be a mentor. This month we’ll look at six characteristics of effective mentors.

Invest time and effort.  Mentoring takes time.  Unfortunately, when time is short, mentoring falls by the wayside.  This is unfair to individuals that need mentoring and to the organization that needs people mentored.  Regular ongoing mentoring is important.

Coach and develop.   The terms, “mentoring” and “coaching’ are often used together.  Mentor coaches provide on-the-job training—a way for the person being mentored to learn by doing.  Effective mentors stand on the sidelines offering words of positive criticism and encouragement.

Enlist help from others.  When mentors don’t have the necessary expertise, they willingly connect the person to someone who can help.  Effective mentors realize the importance of using their contacts to help the person being mentored.

Challenge and stretch.  Effective mentors don’t allow those being mentored to do less than their best.  Mentors challenge others to think creatively, try new things and engage in new ways of acting.  Mentors encourage others to stretch beyond the boundaries of their previous accomplishments.

Identify KSA deficiencies.  Everyone has some knowledge, skill, and attitude deficiencies.  Mentors can often observe the deficiencies and even arrange for the person being mentored to take tests and inventories to identify KSA shortfalls so action can be taken to correct them.

Provide a positive role model.  The most effective thing a mentor can do is to be a positive role model.  As the poet Edgar Guest once said, “I soon can learn to do it if you let me see it done; I can watch your hands in action but your tongue too fast may run . . .  And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true, But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do.”  Never underestimate the value of modeling.

One of the most important things leaders do is mentor others. Re-read the April and May columns, as well as this one, and then focus on the importance of mentoring, how to mentor, and the characteristics of effective mentoring. Finally, apply what you’ve learned.

Happy Mentoring.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

June 2005 - Mentoring: Part 3
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