Mentoring as a Talent Scout

I am re-posting Orrin Woodwrd’s blog because it is such an important topic.  Mentoring is one of the key components to duplication and exponential growth.  It is also critical because you learn how to mentor by being mentored.  As I tell people, it is the short cut to success only because so few people use it.  When your time becomes more and more limited it is very important to narrow your focus and use it where you will get the best return.  The most important part about having and using your mentor is that you can plan, do, check, and adjust at a faster pace.  Let me give you an example.  Many of you know that I am a golfer and I have a golf coach.  He is a great coach but unfortunately I can’t carry him in my golf bag and pop him out every time I hit golf balls.  ( My bag would be really heavy ) He has to see me hitting balls to correct me and at best I can see him once a month.  I recently found an app for my phone that allows me to record my shots, at super slow speed, and I can compare it side by side with a professional golfers video.  This app allows me to get instant feedback and PDCA daily, instead of monthly with my coach.  The faster you can PDCA the faster you can become better.  If you have a mentor that is giving you time, take advantage of it!  The newer you are in your field the more you need to PDCA.  Enjoy this article from best selling author and The Life Business founder, Orrin Woodward

Bill Lewis

Mentoring as a Talent Scout

Oliver DeMille and I have been bantering back and forth on the importance of mentoring in building teams, cultures, and organizations to create the LeaderShift. The number one ingredient I look for in someone to mentor is hunger, for everything else can be taught, but hunger must be caught! As Oliver says, “Don’t require, but inspire.” I love coaching/mentoring people, but I refuse to begin until I am convinced a person would proverbially “eat nails” to gain and apply wisdom. LIFE is a business of gaining and applying wisdom into the 8F’s of life. Are you willing to “eat nails” to gain wisdom? If you are, then, as Zig Ziglar used to say, I will see you at the top. Here are some thoughts Oliver and I developed on the subject.

Sincerely,

Orrin Woodward

A mentor who understands powers of decline that are at work in the world knows that he must become a talent scout to maximize his impact as a leader.

Everyone has the potency to become a genius, but because of the laws of decline, statistically few people are willing to pay the price to really tap into that genius. Recognizing this sad fact, mentors should be careful to target their effort to those who will actually do something with it.

The story of the young man who had read the mentor’s book—and his friend who hadn’t—illustrates this point very well. A mentor who spreads his focus between 12 protégés, when only two of them are actually acting the part of a tenacious leader-in-training, is actually being less effective than he could be if he put his focus toward just the two who were both ready to work and worth his time. Of course, he needs to mentor a number of people to find the two protégés. Or better still, ten or twelve protégés.

It’s kind of like the saying, “A bird in the hand is better than two in the tree.” Three mentees who are truly fighting for their dreams are better than 10 who are flitting around hoping to find an easy road. Good mentors must learn to recognize the right kind of mentee—one who is really willing to walk the rocky, uphill path to success. In other words, good mentors must become Tenacity Scouts.

One mentor shared the following story:

“I’m often approached by people who want me to mentor them, but I’ve learned that my time is precious, so I don’t waste it on people who won’t really value it as they should.

“Once, a young woman came up to me at a book signing I did in her neighborhood. She wanted me to be her personal mentor. I immediately said no, as was my practice, but told her I could recommend some good books. She took the sticky note with three or four titles on it and she walked away, sadly. I thought that was the end of it.

“A few months later, my assistant told me there was a girl from Arizona on the phone for me, could I take it?

“It took me a few minutes to recall who this girl was, but when I realized it was the girl from the book signing, I was shocked.

“She told me she had read the titles I had given her, plus the biographies of two of the authors, and she had some questions for me.

She asked if I had an hour or two to discuss the books with her. I had a busy schedule that day, so I had to decline, but we scheduled a call for the next evening.

“When we discussed the books, I discovered that she really had read them all—quite thoroughly. There were some things she didn’t understand, and even a few we disagreed on, but it was an interesting conversation, to say the least.

“When we finished discussing the books, she had just one more question for me: wouldn’t I please reconsider, and agree to be her mentor?

“When I saw how hard she would work, not only to pursue her own success by reading great books, but also by persistently seeking out the mentor she wanted, despite obvious obstacles, I knew should was going to be successful someday, and I wanted to help get her there.

“Long story short, I said yes, and over the years I’ve found her to be one of my most dedicated and successful mentees and associates.”

Mentors should remember to focus their time and energy on those mentees who are really willing to take advantage of it. This means learning to recognize the signs of real tenacity.

If a mentee is easily deterred from achieving what she wants on the small things—such as reading a book, doing the basic work of success, or seeking out a good mentor—she is very unlikely to stick to her dreams when the real challenges come up; and they will come. Mentors should look for diligence, tenacity, ingenuity, initiative, optimism, and vision in perspective mentees. If they don’t have these qualities, they probably won’t choose to be in the 10% who really matter, and that 10% is where great mentors should put the power of their focus. Of course, the best way to find out is a person has the right traits is to give them a chance—put them to work!

8 thoughts on “Mentoring as a Talent Scout”

    1. First thought is always, what have you told your coach / mentor? How often are you pdca-ing with them?
      I would start there.

  1. Awesome!

    By the way, I was just listening to Phases of Depth and I don’t know if you ever found the quote you were talking about but I took the liberty to look it up (because it is a good one!)

    “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” ~F.Scott Fitzgerald

    1. thx for finding that quote – its a good one and you have to be able to do that when you are mentoring people.

      1. No problem, thank you for all you do on the PC! By the way, I LOVED the book Encouragement by Crabb and Allender. Thanks for the recommendation!

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