Mentorship is an amazingly important factor in both the business world as well as in life.  The skills of a great mentor do not come in one shape or size but in most cases the effectiveness of a mentor comes when he is able to read the current needs of his mentee and thus adapt how he presents his knowledge in order to best fit the needs and aspirations of his mentee.  Mentors are more than just leaders.  A leader oversees a group, organization, or independent contracting company but a mentor advises, trains, teaches, and is always in direct interaction with his mentee.

In a recent Guideposts article, Tony Dungy, a well-known NFL coach and commentator, delineates several important mentors that he has looked to for guidance throughout his own life.  The interesting aspect about each of these mentors is that each advised, trained, and taught in a different manner but each possessed the natural and necessary skills to aid Dungy during each pressing life event at-hand.  In today’s blog, we will explore two of the major characteristics that the first two mentors outlined in this article possessed and explore how these positive characteristics help mold and transform the life of the mentee:

 -Vessel of Reflection-

The first mentor that is introduced in the article is a man by the name of Tom Lamphere.  He was the Minnesota Vikings’ team chaplain while Dungy was the defensive coordinator for the Vikings (a job in which Dungy hoped would open up doors for him to land a heading coaching position).  It was during this time that Lamphere asked Dungy to study the book of Nehemiah with him.  He explained to Dungy, “I see you becoming a head coach.  And when God gives you that opportunity, I want you to be prepared.”  Dungy found through this study that Nehemiah was a book full of leadership lessons and Dungy saw how he himself had learned many of these strong lessons of leadership through the purposeful placement of great mentors throughout his own life.

Lamphere allowed himself to be used as a vessel of reflection and wisdom in Dungy’s life.   Lamphere used his mentorship skills to guide Dungy to a resource of wisdom (The Bible, specifically the book of Nehemiah) and continued by becoming a mentor that walked beside Tony Dungy while Dungy reflected on the leadership lessons he had learned throughout his own personal journey.  Many times, mentors that come into our business life and personal life allow themselves to be used as a vessel or a tunnel by helping us see a clearer vision through pointing us in the right directions and providing beneficial resources; then simply walking beside us for encouragement and wisdom.  These types of mentors may not be the boisterous type that make themselves “the main attraction,” they may be quiet or reserved but when these mentors speak…people listen!  This type of mentor helps mold their mentees into self-sufficient and strong leaders who discover insightful lessons from each stage of their life.  These mentors also pass on the value and importance of wisdom and discernment onto their mentees, which in the long run helps to grow their mentees into strong leaders and developing mentors in both their personal lives and the business world.

 -Morale Compass-

The second mentor we are introduced to is Allen Truman, Tony Dungy’s boyhood coach, mentor, and hero.  At just 17 years old, Truman coached Dungy’s Little League baseball team.  Dungy was just 12 years old and looked up to Truman as a role model.  Allen Truman was a great athlete and an outstanding person, he always made sure to make Tony and other younger kids feel accepted even when they were in the presence of older and so-called “cooler” teenagers.  Truman told Dungy, “You don’t have to run with the crowd. You have a lot of gifts. You’re going to do big things. Just stay focused.”   Allen Truman was a morale compass for Tony Dungy during some of the most tumultuous years for young boys.  To have a confident, morally strong role model made a big difference in the way that Dungy played out his teenage years.

A mentor that has the insight to act as a morale compass in the lives of their mentees are often remarkable individuals that are wise beyond their years as well as individuals that stand-up for the people and the morale decisions that others are often afraid to defend.  When a mentee has the honor of having a mentor with these amazing skills, they often transform into confident leaders who perpetuate their mentor’s courage to stand up for what is right no matter if they are “going against the grain.” This type of “Morale Compass Mentor” has a unique and powerful way of keeping their mentees accountable for their actions through leading by example.  What greater way to light a young mentee’s path than to live out a morale life that is worthy of imitation and replication.

Mentorship is a complex mixture of skills in both leadership and teaching.  Yet when mentors embrace the natural skills they possess and put them into action while working with a malleable mentee, then growth occurs for both the mentor and the mentee.  These leadership lessons and life skills attained through mentorship are lessons that may stretch into every facet of a mentee’s life from their spiritual growth, mental progression, or even to their goals in their business or career.  Here at S.E.T. we know that mentorship is a powerful asset inside every branch of an HVAC, plumbing, or electrical independent contracting company from managers to technicians to CSRs.  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.