Double loop learning is moving beyond simple problem-solving to examine patterns of behavior, trends and root causes of issues.

It means being aware of how one’s own behavior impacts end experiences.

In the best learning partnerships, mentors help mentees examine how their own actions, habits and thoughts can contribute to the problems at hand or get in the way of desired results.

In good mentoring relationships, mentees aren’t being evaluated or judged–and that’s a key reason why focusing on double loop learning is much easier with a mentor then with a manager.

But mentees have to have the courage and strength to look at how their own actions may contribute to their own problems.
Capturing learning through self-reflection is a trait typical of successful people. In order to learn from one’s experiences at the deepest level, a person’s got to be able to look at how he or she contributes to results in an objective and open manner–and resolve to grow forward.

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?