Mentoring Leaders for Bold Tomorrows
Individual Mentoring or Custom In-house Group Programs
Publishing and Speaking
In this Issue:
"Skills of Character"
and the Mentor's Perspective
Part 2 of a 2-part series by Arch's Mark Walch,
Partner, Mentor, Arch of Leadership
Executive Director, New Directions Institute
In Leader Mentoring: Find, Inspire and Cultivate Great Leaders, Michael Shenkman makes the case that mentoring differs from instruction, teaching, and coaching in that it emphasizes not talents and skills used in executing a project but the qualities and values of life that are needed to sustain oneself in the creative endeavor. "No mentors, no leaders," he says, adding, "I want my new book to strongly advocate for leader mentoring as an essential, premium developmental service that aspiring leaders and their sponsors, bosses and partners need to invest in."
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Part 2 of a 2-part series by Arch's Mark Walch, excerpted from Michael Shenkman's new book Leader Mentoring, to be published in spring 2008 by Career Press
Note from Michael: A major premise of our Arch of Leadership program holds that certain “skills of character” must be present in a person if he or she wants to be accepted as a leader. It’s the role of our mentors to assist their mentees in exploring their own personal values and world-view so as to identify such “skills of character” and then to develop them. In this second installment of a two-part series we began last month, veteran Arch mentor Mark Walch shares how he guides his mentees through this exploration as well as his thoughts on the value to developing leaders of personal insight, listening and other mentoring tenets.
BIO: Mark has more than ten years experience as a leader, mentor and developer with the Arch of Leadership Mentoring Program. He has mentored well over a hundred leaders in corporate, entrepreneurial and organizational settings, and also serves as Executive Director of the New Directions Institute, based in Albuquerque, NM, an organization that promotes healthy and holistic living practices.
Mentoring for Me
My own philosophy about mentoring is that my role is to assist my mentees in deeply exploring their personal values and world-view, while helping all my mentees determine a model from which they might lead. The process is achieved through active listening and through focusing on the experience occurring in the room at the time. This experience is processed with the mentee, and together, we share the discoveries uncovered by this situation.
My process is to first gather information through personal sharing and storytelling, where mentees recall various life experiences and personal accounts. This, in essence, becomes a launching pad for further conversation and sharing. I try to listen to them as intensely and receptively as I can in order to be clear about my emotional reaction to their stories. With this information, I can provide honest feed back to them, while simultaneously gauging their reaction and using their response as a measurement of the development of the relationship. I will often challenge them to experience something in their life akin to what they would ask followers to do, and to process their actual experience with similar hypotheticals. We then use the material in the workbook and readings to enhance the discussion and to help them contextualize their process. Group sharing with other mentees is also important in the development of the relationship and the progress.
This process has become so familiar to me, that I am able to see its value with relative ease. The clear intention of the relationship in the professional, assigned capacity allows for less contamination of personal beliefs into the relationship. I am able to enter into the room with a clear intention associated with my desire to help others without entanglement in a personal way with me. This distancing is used and encouraged in the therapeutic process and training I have had, so it is both familiar and comfortable. Moreover, the contamination I might experience or the projections are able to be contained or processed with the mentee because of the clarity of the relationship. The desired intent, after all, is focused only on their growth and development.
I enjoy the opportunity to impact others and to develop their ability to trust in themselves and bring their experience and convictions into the world for the purpose of leading. This is an important part of my work and, in fact, my life, comparing favorably to other aspects of my work in that I am developing human potential in whatever form I find it. At the same time, I am working on developing my own sense of self and purpose, and have been pleased to discover that I can help others in this same journey. The opportunity to have an intimate and trusting relationship with others allows for true growth to occur for both parties. So often the mentees are able to expose strong beliefs and desires in a safe place, which ends up directing their lives in a conscious way forever. This I find to be as rewarding as it is valuable.