Training Evolution Blog

Mentoring 101, My Mom

Ethel and Milton


I’m wondering...who was my first mentor? Well I drew Ethel Markus as a mom so it had to be her. She was a gutsy, loving woman with unflappable loyalty to her family. What she left me was not the first word or last on how to engage, develop or take care of business basics. But what she did give me and what I hope I have been able to use is an understanding that everything is okay – and to approach my existence knowing that more is not always needed. That sounds wobbly and broad – but my mom was not just content, but truly happy with her lot in life. I’m not sure how many real choices she ever had about her trajectory, but I alway had the sense that she felt good about who she was, her contribution to her family and her community. She was strong-willed and beautifully content. 

In business we are not built for contentment. We strive for more…new products, new ideas, new clients and sometimes just the next shiny object or practice that folks are talking about. When someone says lean in, another contingent is saying lean out. What is indeed wonderful – is that the basics of mentoring and trust-building communication skills are evergreen.

Mentoring is as old as the hills, so we know it works – or how could the concept survive? Without messing with the sacred mentoring relationship, how can we manipulate the process to help all varieties of people in all different fields? By sharing how mentoring works and then allowing partnerships to coordinate the rest of the work, we enhance mentoring opportunities. An entire organizational culture can transform via the use of mentoring. Mentoring is a repeatable skill – so once your team has it figured out, the benefits continue.

Half the battle is laying the groundwork – encouraging partnership formation (creating the opportunity to reach across backgrounds, teams). The measurable second half  is the determination to put in place mentoring guidelines that make mentoring work! Listen to the podcast and learn a few of the best practices we profoundly believe and have seen work time after time.

Mentoring 101 Best Practices