Mentoring Lessons We Can Learn From CeeLo Greene
"I want to be a beacon of light in darkness. I want to be a poster boy of possibility." - CLG
CeeLo Green was recently ranked 5th in Fast Company's The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2012. Surprised? You wouldn't be if you've been paying any attention to him.
CeeLo's latest gig, mentor on NBC's The Voice, has earned him a whole new audience and the praise of many who enjoy watching him mentor his contestants. Did you watch The Voice this season? I'll admit, I didn't know a lot about CeeLo before The Voice, but I am now mesmorized by him! What's with the cat? And what's up with those funky outfits? And how DOES he get all those ladies? What is he trying to pull? WHAT AM I WATCHING?! I can't take my eyes off of him, and I find myself wanting to know more.
"I want to say that, instead of im-possible, I'M possible. And so are you." -CLG
CeeLo's passion and dedication toward his team members this season was unwavering. He possessed many of the qualities we at Management Mentors suggest mentors possess. We give CeeLo an A+ for mentoring and would hope that corporate mentors present and future will copy a page out of the CeeLo Green play book. Check out our Top 10 Tips for Corporate Mentors. And Mr. Green, if you are reading this, are you sure you didn't download our Top 10 Mentoring Tips white paper at the start of this season? :)
- Facilitate not clone. Remember that you are sharing your mentoree's journey, not yours. If you act more as a facilitator for knowledge, experience, and personal development, youíll avoid the temptation to create another "you" and you'll allow the person to develop into the "who" they want to be.
- Uniqueness is important. What makes every mentoring relationship different is the uniqueness of each individual. This is especially true when it comes to diversity. "It doesn't matter to me that you're a woman or African American, etc.", though intended to remove a barrier, actually reinforces the barrier. It should matter to you, because it matters to me.
- Consistency is critical. Relationships develop through ongoing contact. Keep your commitments to engage on a regular basis. The golden standard is every other week for 1 to 1.5 hours; however, agree on what will work and do it regularly. This gives the mentoree the assurance that you are genuinely interested and that he or she can count on you.
- Faking it is not making it. Genuine and honest feedback is the only credibility that will work in mentoring. If you don't know something or feel uncomfortable about a discussion, share that with your partner rather than trying to project that you've always got it together. Perfection is hard to emulate, and your mentoree will respect you more when he or she gets to know you as someone who's had disappointments and setbacks.
- Empower rather than solve. Because mentors are often in a managerial or leadership role, they are problem solvers. The tendency is to take this skill directly into the mentoring relationship and provide solutions. The problem is the solution is the one that worked for you and may not work for your mentoree. In addition, a mentor should be empowering the mentoree to arrive at their own solutions. As the old adage says: "You can provide a fish and feed someone for the day or teach them how to fish and feed them forever."
- You are not responsible--you have shared responsibility. Mentors feel responsible for their mentoree. This is fine if you understand that to mean that you should act responsibly, but this should not go so far as to believe that you are primarily responsible for your mentoree's success. It is a shared responsibility. However, the mentoree bears the larger portion since it's up to him or her to act on what is discussed during the mentoring relationship.
- Appreciate what you're giving. In an effort to be helpful, mentors often feel they never give enough. This can lead to your missing out on a real benefit for you in mentoring: seeing how helpful you have been. The best way to learn what you have contributed is to ask the person most directly affected--your mentoree. Asking will do two things. First, it will provide you with valuable information about what you've given. Second, it will allow the mentoree to be aware of this and to be appreciative.
- It's not coaching; it's mentoring. Mentors certainly coach in areas of skill development and knowledge acquisition, but mentoring is more than that. It's about having a personal relationship with a mentoree that moves beyond coaching to discussing who the person is and what his or her dreams and aspirations are. Share the dreams. Share the journey. Don't mistake the advice for the journey.
- Honor your limits and boundaries. It is never healthy for any of us to give without limits. This only depletes us and makes us less available for others. You have a right to your own boundaries, such as how frequently you can meet/communicate, areas of discussion that may be off limits, contacts you donít want to share. State those clearly to your mentoree so that he or she will respect them. Ask your mentoree to do the same so that both of you gain a mutual understanding of the boundaries in your relationship.
- Listening is hard, but advice is easy. We could all use more listeners in the world. We are all more prone to commenting or giving advice without first truly listening to the issue being presented. That's why some solutions don't work--someone wasn't listening. How do you listen? By asking good, open-ended questions and letting the other person speak: "What makes that hard for you?" or "What could you have done differently?" The other advantage to asking good questions and listening is that it gets you out of the "I'll solve this problem" to "Iím facilitating this conversation to arrive at a solution that the mentoree thinks is best."
"If your passion is genuine, something miraculous can happen.” - CLG