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It has been eleven years since I started working on my first mentoring program at Anheuser-Busch. It was a modest program (twelve mentoring pairs) for the IT organization, and it started me on a course of learning more about mentoring. Over that time, I have trained over 2,000 mentors and have observed what works and what doesn’t in mentoring. Over the next few weeks, I am going to share these this learning here.
About two years ago, I took up running. I started running casually with a friend, two to three miles at a time. It wasn’t long before I was signing up for 5k’s and 10k’s, leading to my running two half marathons in 2011. Along the way, I sought out advice and mentoring about running. One piece of advice stuck with me about long distance running was this rule: run within your heart rate. The rule means that if you run too fast at the beginning of the race (pushing your heart rate too high), you won’t have enough energy in the last few miles to keep up your pace. While the rule seems simple, it is a powerful tool when running long distances and gets you into trouble when you break it (as I found out both times).
I have organized my learning about mentoring into rules that are intended to do the same thing: give mentors simple guides for approaching their mentoring partnerships. These rules are written for mentors who are in mentoring partnerships that will last a year or longer. Like a marathon (or, in my case, a half marathon), what you do in the beginning will have an impact later in the relationship. Following these rules early will help mentors establish productive, trusting partnerships that will benefit themselves and their protégés over time.
UPDATE: The eight rules of mentoring have been turned into a book, which is due out from Routledge in December 2016. You can pre-order the book from the publisher’s website (use discount code FLR40 for 20% off) or from Amazon.
Here is a preview of the eight rules:
Over the next few months, I will explore each of these rules. I welcome your comments and thoughts on the rules.
To comment on this article or to learn more about mentoring, contact Rik Nemanick at firstname.lastname@example.org