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The skills and assets of a mentor come in many different shapes and sizes depending upon the natural inclinations and personality type of the mentor.  But every great mentor works to be perceptive and discerning to their mentees’ needs and to their mentees’ pattern of growth and development.  Mentors act as leaders who take it upon themselves to work with and walk with their mentees through every step of the learning process in order to be an adviser, teacher, and trainer.  Mentorship is an important component to successful independent contracting companies in all industries whether HVAC, plumbing, or electrical.

In last Tuesday’s blog, we explored the first two important mentors in Tony Dungy’s (renowned NFL coach and commentator) life as he explained in a 2011 article in Guideposts.  In today’s blog, we will delineate the important aspects of the last two mentors in this article and explore how the mentoring style of these two types of mentors helps to grow confidence, develop skills, and shape leadership in their mentee’s life:

-Inspirer of Perseverance-

The third mentor that helped shape Dungy’s life as a young man was his junior high school Assistant Principal, Leroy Rockquemore.  Just like Dungy, Mr. Rockquemore was an African American at a school consisting predominately of a white student and teacher population.  Dungy remembers Rockquemore wanting to learn about his students’ interests and wanting to get to know them as people—not just see them as kids trying to make it through school.  Rockquemore was invested in his students and his investment in Dungy’s life continued on into his high school years.  Leroy Rockquemore’s direct mentorship came after Dungy decided to quit his high school football team because his African American friend was unfairly denied a spot as co-captain of the team.  Tony was chosen as a captain for the team and he believed his friend was denied the co-captain position because the high school didn’t want to have two African American captains and with that…Dungy quit.  But right before football practice began in the autumn, Dungy got a call from Rockquemore and he asked Dungy to meet with him so they could discuss something together.  Rockquemore knew the reasoning for Dungy’s decision to leave the team but he wisely said, You love playing football.  And the other guys on the team look up to you as a leader. You’ve got to reconsider this. Tony, you have a God-given talent. Why would you let anything stop you from doing what you have the ability to do?”

Tony rejoined the team, persevered on, and had a great season.  Because of Mr. Rockquemore’s encouragement to persevere even in the face of unfair treatment, Tony was noticed by college scouts and received a scholarship to play for the University of Michigan as quarterback.  Mentors that inspire their mentees to persevere help grow strong, driven, and optimistic future leaders.  Getting knocked around in life will happen to everyone but it is what you do after you get knocked down that matters.  Mentors that value perseverance, strongly encourage their mentees to stand back up and keep fighting no matter what the opposition.  The inclination to persevere and persist is an important skill to implement in both personal life as well as business life.

-Realistic Reminder-

The last mentor that Tony delineates in this article may have come more as a surprise to him than any of his other mentors.  After graduating from the University of Michigan as the MVP, Tony waited and waited for a phone call during the NFL Draft but it never came.  He decided to sign with the Pittsburg Steelers as a free agent but never got to play his position as quarterback as he had wanted.  As Dungy preserved on, he ended up getting mono during a training camp while in his second year in the NFL.  He was frustrated that the sickness had set him back so severely and openly complained to his training camp roommate, Donnie Shell (All-Pro Safety).  Just when Dungy took a break from his complaining, Shell gave him a tough but realistic reminder that jolted Dungy back to reality.  Shell said, Tony, you’ve always said that God is number one, that He knows what’s best. But now that you’re faced with this challenge, it doesn’t seem like that’s what you really believe.”  Tony was not expecting such a blatantly truthful statement to come out of his roommate’s mouth but when Tony heard this he hit the floor and prayed.

There is nothing quite likely getting a raw jolt back to reality after you’re convinced that you’re the helpless victim of an unfair situation.  Mentors that are inclined to giving sincere yet realistic reminders cultivate genuineness and truthfulness in their mentees because they don’t let their mentees settle for feeling sorry for themselves.  While these mentors may not always be the most nurturing of leaders, they are leaders that keep their mentees focused on what’s important and true.  In the end, mentees that are forced to “walk their talk” will be future leaders that are more respected by their team and more genuine in all their decisions.

Mentorship in life and inside HVAC, plumbing, or electrical independent contracting companies is a continual process in the lives of developing leaders.  It is through development of leadership skills that we can become strong mentors that future generations need in order to get insightful guidance, caring direction, and beneficial advice. Thank you for following our weekly posts. Here at Service Excellence Training, we turn learning into earning!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.

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