What difference can a mentor make?

Published February 12th, 2009 in Blog, Mentoring, Ready Set Grow!

I heard a mentoring story this week. Actually it was a story that ended badly for everyone. I call it a mentoring story because it’s a perfect example of mentoring that didn’t happen, but would have made all the difference.

A bright young woman with great potential was climbing the career ladder two steps at a time. She was fabulous! With each promotion, she received greater responsibilities and felt more intense pressure to perform. Like many women she answered that call by working harder and longer. As she tells the story, she started unraveling. Her foot began to slip on the ladder and no one seemed to notice she was barely holding on. She not only lost confidence and credibility, ultimately she lost her job.

There is so much wrong with this story! Everyone lost. The organization lost a valuable resource and this employee hit the virtual wall. (And she was going way too fast when she did.)

She is going to be all right. She’s gathering herself and learning the right lessons from her setback. When I asked her what she is taking from this experience, she talked about mentoring. “I needed a mentor – someone to help me explore and discover ways to be more effective. Things were spinning out of control, and I just couldn’t “dance” fast enough. I lost my balance, and I fell.” (I would add  here that mentors don’t just magically appear. We have to look for them and sometimes recruit them!)

Statistically people who are mentored make more money. They are more satisfied in their jobs and better equipped to do their jobs. Mentors help us put things into perspective and find new approaches. They help us find our balance.

I encourage you to take make this a mentoring year. Find one and be one. (I’ll even match your commitment to that. Throughout the year, mentoring will be one area of focus for the new “Design Your Success” Podcast. That will be coming soon, and I hope you will tune in.)

Now thanks to all of you who have written in to tell us about your book discussion groups. Whether you are well on the way or just getting started, we wish you all the best as you Design Your Success. We will continue to support your efforts by adding the chapter discussion guides, so check thewebsite frequently. Ready, Set….Grow! is printed and making her way to bookstores everywhere! (Can I just say, “Go GROW!”)

And finally, here’s a shout out to Hallie whose “Designed for Success” blog makes us cheer. For each month of 2009, she will highlight one chapter of Designed for Success. You can read about her “Designed” journey at

To your success,