This week I had the privilege of giving a workshop to a group representing businesses and non-profit organizations. The theme was “mentoring”, the purpose for this trial run to provide feedback for my official presentation at our District Toastmaster’s Conference next month.
Over the past several months I’ve researched information, created, deleted and re-created power point programs, then arranged and re-arranged material more times than I can recall. All I can say is thank God for the ability to “cut and paste” on a computer screen. That function saved at least one load of perfectly good trees.
All in all I felt the session went well and I continue to be most grateful to a helpful and attentive audience. The questions and discussions that followed were, to me, the most useful part of the evening. I’d presented the concept and history of mentoring, the benefits of an effective mentoring program and the requisite behavior and attitudes of both mentor and mentee (protégé). That information resulted in these questions: what’s the difference between a mentor, coach and employer/trainer and what are some of the greatest deterrents to an effective mentoring arrangement?
I’m now committed to conducting a bit more research before the big day. The next point, addressing challenges in mentoring relationships, however, loomed large in the minds of every one present. “An attitude of entitlement,” said one business owner. There was unanimous agreement. “Failure to accept personal responsibility,” said another. Examples and events were cited as cases in point for damaging mentor-mentee partnerships. Although I came home with ideas for improving my upcoming presentation, I couldn’t help but think of times when a bad attitude resulted in a less an ideal outcome.
“But how can you teach others when you refuse to learn?” (Romans 2:21- CEV)
Whether teaching or being taught, attitude makes the difference.