The Importance of a Mentor

(08/14/2012)

“The Importance of a Mentor”

 

Mentors…I was often told how important a mentor is for a business professional during my UNLV student days. In my first position after college I came across a manager who was structured and strict with his expectations for a new sales person. The tactics of this manager put me in an uncomfortable position on a daily basis. Little did I know how influential his tactics would help me in building relationships with clients, colleagues, family and friends.

 

My first training session with this manager focused on asking open ended questions and a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “The Elephant’s Child”. The poem opens up with:

 

I KEEP six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When 
 And How and Where and Who.

 

Because Kipling knows these six words, he is able to learn everything he needs to know about anything. My manager drilled this concept into me and corrected me every time I did not ask a question with one of these six words. The concept was to start every question with one of these six words and then keep quiet to listen – we should be listening twice as much as we speak.

 

This simple concept has been one of the most important lessons I have learned in my professional career. By starting every question with one of these six words, I have been able to learn more about people’s needs to be able to help them and develop stronger relationships. My first mentor after college gets the credit for helping me and I hope it helps you too.

 

How have your mentors helped you? What lessons will you pass on that you learned from your mentors?