Essential Empathy

violin-2 The ability to sense what someone else is feeling, to understand major elements of another’s circumstances is essential to mentoring. For example, there is the story of a technically gifted violinist who was told by his professor, after years of training and rehearsals, to give up on a concert career. Why? Because he had no interest or inclination to make someone else’s thoughts or emotions his own.

This skilled performer couldn’t get past his self-concern. He wasn’t able to develop empathy for audience members. Because of this, he couldn’t communicate TO them since they felt no vital connection FROM him.

Mentees need to feel Mentors’ affinity for them and for their concerns. When that connection is generated, the mentoring process becomes natural and successful, furthering growth of both Mentor and Mentee in achieving life and career goals.


balance  In a world of 24-7 electronic availability to momentary demands,

both Mentors and Mentees struggle to balance working priorities and living priorities.

Necessary work-life balance can best be created through intentional responses to conflicting  pressures.
Here are some discovery questions that apply to both Mentors and Mentees as they face this challenge:

—–What are your priorities at this stage of your life?

—–What is most stressful for you right now, regarding work/life balance?

—–What does ideal balance look like on your job?  In your home life?

—–What is your significant other’s awareness regarding your job stress?

—–What are your boundaries regarding when work “wants” to intrude on your life?

—–What will be consequences if you do NOT achieve better work/life balance?


tape-measuresHow does anybody KNOW if mentoring is working?

Is there any tangible evidence of mentoring success? Well, yes, there is.

It is possible to evaluate mentoring success using at least 3 basic measures:
PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Is the mentee more competent? More able? More responsible for self-development?Becoming as good as can be and better than has been?

PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT: Does the mentee act with increased confidence, making decisions, charting a meaningful career direction?

Doe she or he take more ownership and become more pro-active? Does the mentee Deliver on initiatives with a sense of inner strength that is not over-inflated?

APPROPRIATE RISK-TAKING: Are communications authentic? Can mentor and mentee have honest exchanges about their partnership?

Can the mentee leave some comfort zones to experience breakthrough growth through learning and accomplishing in new arenas?

Measuring the mentoring process needs to be ON-GOING and has the goal of constant improvement at its core!