Mentoring as Transportation

jeepIt all started with a party game…those funny “what if” social games that get sillier with late night exuberance and adult beverages. “What fruit would they be if all pharmacists were a fruit?” asked one guest, a deeply serious pharmacist. “If lawyers were farm animals, which one would they be?” teased another guest, targeting his attorney friend. I popped the obvious question—“If mentoring was a mode of transportation, what would it be?” It yielded a few interesting, yet provocative, answers.

“Mentoring should be a limousine,” one guest commented, “elegantly helping important learners gain the competence they need in the way they need it.” “I think a Jeep,” said another, “since today’s learners have to traverse challenging emotional terrain in a complex, ever-changing work world.” Another said, “A race car, since learners live in a fast-paced work world with the competence they acquire becoming obsolete so quickly.” There were wild suggestions of golf carts, jet planes, and motorcycles. But, the one that prompted the most interesting discussion was the idea that mentoring should be a tank to shield protégés from mentors with bad attitudes, indifference, and emotional distance.

If you asked your protégé to characterize the relationship you help create as a mode of transportation, what would he or she choose? And, what would the choice communicate about how you mentor?

P.S. You might also enjoy Victor Lipman’s recent article:  Why Employee Engagement is Not Just the Job of Management published on July 7, 2013.

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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