A Case for Mentoring

Oct 17th, 2010 | By | Category: application, aptitude, Career advice, career challenges, career choice, career choices, challenges, choosing a career, competing, competitive challenges, competitive environment, competitive peers, mentor, personality, problem, skills, strategy, success, tactics

For the past nine days I was on New England cruise to view the fall foliage and tour several ports of call. During the voyage, by chance, I met a semi-retired physiologist who specialized in helping patients who were having difficulties facing challenges. The bottom line to his clinical observations is many people in challenging situations reach a point of exhaustion where they have tried their best, but fail to obtain their goals. In a word they are out ideas and energy to continue their struggle for success.

As we talked, I explained my interest in mentoring and developing career strategies for average people who do not have the benefit of influential family and friends. I was surprised at his interest in my idea. We discussed our own experiences, and how little guidance there is in making big decisions, such as choosing a career, charting a career path, and effectively handling workplace challenges. One of his observations was how focus groups are a good way for a diverse group facing a common challenge to help each other. Dale Carnegie schools (http://www.dalecarnegie.com/corp_sol/corp_sol.jsp) for public speaking was an example of focus group and interactive training. Although familiar with Dale Carnegie’s books, I have never attended one of the seminars. He explained that one of the key elements of the Dale Carnegie classes was the interaction among the participants. That by listening and building on the experiences and ideas of others all benefited. We discussed the concept of establishing a similar environment using the Internet. Although the face-to-face element may be missing, the Internet would provide an anonymous avenue, which could be beneficial to more introverted and reserved personalities. Although there is a definite need for such a conduit, it may be difficult to establish and publicize. I have some ideas and am working on additional pages to the PracticaL Mentor website to incorporate active discussions of workplace challenges.

In discussing the format and content of the PracticaL Mentor articles and website, he said he would take a look and give some feedback. I am anxious to get his input. From what I described, he thought the concept was good. The one thing he emphasized is the majority of career strategy and advice articles lack a specific “how to apply” methodology. I agreed, but pointed out that writing specific scripts may be counter productive, for each of us has our own personality and it is impossible to write a generic script that would be ubiquitously effective . While he agreed, he expressed that the basic concept of a strategy or tactic should be explained in enough detail to enable most readers to adapt it to their situation. I will try harder to incorporate this suggestion in future articles.

In the course of our conversation, we discussed the need for mentoring. It was the good doctor’s observation that there is a need for mentoring and that it should be a personalized as possible. He cited the book Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer (http://ezinearticles.com/?Winning-Through-Intimidation&id=2240793). In the opening of the book Ringer states that if you come away thinking the book is about selling real estate you have missed the point. Throughout the book, Ringer used real estate as examples of the lessons, and the lessons were applicable to similar situations and environments. Luckily I have read Winning Through Intimidation, for it is no longer in print, although there are still copies available. If you come across it in a used bookstore, I recommend it. Even in the 1970’s when the book was a best seller, a lot of readers failed to associate the situation in the book with their own, and derived little or no benefit of how to use the element of intimidation in situations where it may be an effective tactic or defense. The Greeks were among the first to discover the power of a good story. Throughout history storytelling, fables, proverbs, legends, myths, and allegories were use effectively as ways to pass along ideas and concepts. In the future PracticaL Mentor articles will attempt using story telling construction and concept. As in Winning Through Intimidation, the stories will be to illustrate a concept of idea. Writing an effective story is difficult and takes some practice so please bear with me.

I am looking forward to receiving more input from my new friend. I plan to incorporate his suggestions in developing the PracticaL Mentor into a more effective and valuable resource. I would also appreciate any constructive ideas or criticism that will help improve the PracticaL Mentor. If possible, I would like to convince my new friend to donate an article to post on the website. If you are interested in donating an article please contact Practical.Mentor @gmail.com..

The PracticaL Mentor.

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