Frustrations at Mentoring

As most of you know, I mentor…A lot!

I mentor previous employee’s of mine. I mentor current employee’s of mine. I mentor businesses (yes, for no fee! I love seeing companies become successful, especially start-ups). I mentor friends and friends of friends (a lot of people call me a life-coach, just without the fee’s attached).

I enjoy seeing people become successful, no matter where they are in life and whatever they are doing.

With that said (or written), I have a big frustration that I encounter quite often. It’s when a mentoree (is that a word?) “knows what to do”, but still contacts me before doing it.

Fear? Fear of failure? Fear of not knowing everything? I’m not sure.

I never really had a mentor in professional life. No one ever took the time to sit down with me and teach me — most of my bosses cared only for themselves, and the few that I did have (I can think of two), were not in my field of professional work, but, were there to help me personally.

So, back to my $1 pet peeve, or frustration.

A month or so ago, I got a call from one of my Israeli mentorees. He asked me if he should put out a press release before or at a trade show.

I asked him “What would you do?”.

He stated “Well, when we worked together, you always did this, (explanation of that), I want to do the same, but my boss (the CEO), thinks that it would be stupid.”

“So, do what you know will work, what gives you the biggest ROI, and what you KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT, and screw the CEO. She will know you were right when she sees the huge return that you will get.” (Media coverage, sales leads, etc.)

“I know, but, the CEO…”. He was fearful of pissing off the CEO or being wrong in front of the CEO.

My response was this, “You know what to do. Now, the question is, do you do what you know is right and will get you the best ROI or will you do what is wrong, but will appease your CEO? Which one, 3 months after the show, will make you look better AND get you the reward you want — either personally, professionally, or financially?”

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

And lastly, I had to say (to vent my frustrations), “You KNOW this! I taught you, and mentored you, about all of this. That one day, you will know as much as I, if not more. You will become a mentor to me. You must move on from me and move in the direction that your experience and knowledge will lead you. Part of that is me, but, most of it is you. You KNOW this. Do not ever call me again about something you know.”

We went on and caught up on our personal and professional lives, we laughed, we cried, and so on. Our relationship wasn’t hurt because of what I said, it was strengthened. It’s like a baby bird — eventually you need to push them out of the nest.

Of course he called me a few weeks later and asked about something that I had no clue about — but, as a mentor, I hooked him up with someone that could help him and give him the direction he was looking for.

So, that’s it. My frustration. It’s like growing up. You gain experience and knowledge and just “know” what is right. Don’t question it, just do it.



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