How Mentorship Really Happens…

… … … it happens exactly like this (at least in the corporate and professional world):

via Dilbert

I almost spit my ☕ out! And Dilbert’s response is perfect.

Coaching and mentorship in the context of a professional work environment can be tough, especially because it can be conflated with and/or confused with normal, everyday management.

Or rather, I think that’s the actual problem! I think disassociating things like “management” from coaching and mentorship can sometimes create more problems than solutions. I mean, how would the employee know if what they were receiving was either “managed counsel” and/or advice as opposed to mentorship / coaching?

Exactly — they kind of come hand-in-hand in these environments, especially early-stage companies. We are all actively investing and coaching each other to be the best and most high-performant team members that we can be, for our collective survival.

Personally, I think I’ve spent too much time trying to construct invisible walls between what I consider “management” and what might be understood as “coaching” — at least in the context of my very small team.

Instead, what I really care about is making sure that I have my time with my team is laced with powerful sentiments like unconditional positive regard and practices that gradually provide more self-disclosure over time.

In the end, if we do this right, we’re all going to be more connected than we are today and it won’t matter if we called it “management” or “coaching” or any title or label — we’ll be a more effective team and we’ll be having more fun together.

And that’s how real mentorship happens.