Interview with Edward. Mentors and Sponsors

posted August 24th, 2012 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Edward whether he sees himself as a mentor/sponsor and if so, how the mentoring/sponsoring relationships developed and whether he has mentored/sponsored women.


In these senior roles, for better or worse, you get approached all the time to be someone’s mentor.  I’m not a believer that that works because there needs to be a base of trust and understanding and insight built before you can become a really effective mentor.  With rare exceptions when I’m approached, I say I’m probably not the right guy for you.  However, on some occasions I have become either informally or very formally someone’s mentor where I came to the view that [a] there was a lot of potential there and [b] that it might actually help the person.  The biggest piece of it is that you’ve got somebody to talk to without fear of reprisal or consequences. Even when your organization gets you a coach, you’re always suspicious that they’re reporting back to HR.  So when I do these things, I say here are the rules – you will never ever ever hear anything about what we talk about anywhere which means you can be completely open and that’s the only way that this is going to work.


“I have recently agreed to mentor a woman who reached out to me and the interesting thing about it is that she had a life epiphany kind of event, an illness that caused her to sit around and think a lot, and one of the things she concluded was that she has every bit as much talent as the guys, but somehow she is not getting there, she is not connected, and that’s why she reached out to me.  She explained all this to me and I said, okay.   I know you, I like you, I see your talent, I’ll do it.  I’ve just begun to do that.  I’m a fan as long as it’s not just a process.  There are systems whereby it’s a rule that you have to mentor three people.  It could work but it actually takes a huge investment of time and work to make it meaningful and the conditions for success have to be there otherwise somebody else should do it.”


What Strikes Me?

Mentoring requires a foundation of trust and understanding and insight before it can be truly effective


Mentoring means you can talk to someone without fear of reprisal or consequences


Mentoring requires a huge investment of time and energy to be meaningful and successful


What Strikes You?


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