To gain your respect and admiration, and to maximize the relationship and your time, the mentee must account for his or her actions (good or bad) to you because you are in a superior position to judge the mentee’s actions, provide encouragement or initiate correction.

Let the mentee know that the first step to establishing an effective mentoring relationship is for the mentee to slowly expose his or her weaknesses to enable you to focus your efforts on better equipping the mentee for independence and success.  In other words, the mentee’s guard has to come down to enable the mentee to be re-built – better and stronger.  There are five reasons why vulnerability or brokenness is essential. 

I often reflect on the point in my career when I was promoted to a position reporting to the Vice Chairman of one of the largest insurance companies in the world. I was so excited to be a senior person “in charge” at a young stage of my career. However, I began to notice, in the first couple of weeks, that people who used to just drop in to my office no longer stopped by.

It’s the quest of many working people – work hard, do a good job and get promoted someday so you can be the boss. It’s the reward in most corporate cultures, to climb the ladder and be in charge. If most of us get to the top by climbing our way there, how come we forget what it’s like to be down in the ranks?

People erroneously use the terms “excellent” and “exceptional” synonymously, but the two differ. “Excellent” implies a distinction from others but not necessarily rarity. For example, one might comment that a fourth-grade pianist is excellent, but she might be one of many in her class who shares the honor.

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