David Maister - Professional Business, Professional Life
David’s ResourcesAbout David
NEW! Browse my materials by topic of interest:StrategyManagingClient RelationsCareersGeneral

Passion, People and Principles


post # 487 — January 14, 2008 — a Managing post

One of the best books on mentoring that I have found is “The Elements of Mentoring” by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley.

Here are some of their chapter headings and subheadings:

Getting to Know Your Protégé

Spend time

Identify and communicate strengths and weaknesses

Allow fears and emotions to be discussed

Expect Excellence

Set high expectations and communicate clearly

Model what you expect of others

Demonstrate confidence

Affirm, Encourage and Support

Show that you value them

Instill confidence

Kindly shed light on unrealistic expectations

Provide Sponsorship

Discern their dream

Help them with first steps

Use your status to get them opportunities

Get them to function on your behalf occasionally

Teach and Coach

Clear Instruction on expectations, roles and functions

Story-telling and metaphors

Help people understand organizational politics

Offer Counsel in Difficult Times

Provide insight, not necessarily answers

Listen, reflect feelings clarify alternatives

Validate feelings

Protect When Necessary

Recognize that protégé will occasionally suffer personal or political problems

Use protection sparingly

Stimulate growth with Challenging assignments

Nurture Creativity

Encourage innovative thought

Safe haven to experiment

Model innovation

Provide Correction — Even when painful

Confront negative performance or behavior

Help with ideas — don’t just criticize

Narrate Growth and development

Discuss milestones openly

Self-Disclose when appropriate

Accept Increasing Friendship and Mutuality

Model work/Life Balance

Display Dependability


What’s your experience been with best practice in mentoring? Have you experienced organizations where it works well? What is the secret to effectiveness at this?

1 Comment

Ravi Kiran said:

I would simply have to say that everything worth mentioning is mentioned. What i’d love to add is the context behind everything. I believe mentoring is a simple stand for the person being mentored, and the mentor is directly responsible for the protege’s result.

That level of ownership creates remarkable results. Mentoring is personal. Mentoring is a stand. I can’t recall where i read this, but this fits : Leaders are handcrafted, not mass-produced.

posted on January 26, 2008