If You Want to Be a Good Mentor, Have Wisdom to Share

Solution, life coaching key

While having a mentor will change your career, being one will change your life.

In season 24 episode 7, we cover the important topic of mentorship.  Specifically the difference between mentorship and coaching.


On the surface, most people know mentorship is important. However very few professionals have one. In research done by DDI in 2019, they found 60% of frontline leaders don’t have a mentor.  This means the professionals underneath front line leaders in the organizational chart are even less likely to have a mentor. LearnLoft estimates between 80% and 85% of professionals have no mentor to help with career-related issues.

 According to an Emerging Workforce Study, 35% of employees without regular mentoring start looking for other jobs within 12 months of joining an organization and 68% of millennials in an organization are likely to stay for five years or more with an organization if they have a mentor. It evident the value of mentorship is important in a career but it also important in life.

One of the most famous examples comes from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. While Buffett has been a great business mentor he has also passed along some phenomenal life lessons Gates carries with him today. He mentioned Warren Buffett touched his life by teaching him that the measure of success is not through his net worth but by ‘having people you care about loving you back.’

When people don’t have mentors they get lost. They might still get to their destination but they could have hurt a lot fewer people in the process and gotten there faster.

The difference between mentorship and coaching

Is there a difference between Mentoring versus Coaching? They are often used interchangeably, but their not the same. 

Mentors tend to be at the highest level possible thinking about and advising the whole person. They might not even have specific expertise in a particular job or field of their mentee but they can still add value based on their business or life experience. Having said that, there are times when they might act as a coach to their mentee in specific situations.

A coach, on the other hand, has deep expertise in a particular job or skill that needs to be developed. In a formal setting, they have either been trained or gone through extensive studying of their particular craft. They often think of themselves as the instructor and they leverage various methods to help their “student” develop the skills.  Typical coaching behaviors include things like modeling, asking questions, or watching with a keen eye.  I have written and spoken in detail about the role managers need to play in acting more as a coach for their people.  

Great mentors have wisdom to share

Regardless of where you are in your own journey, you can be a mentor to others.  If you are going to mentor others you have to wisdom to share. The only way this is possible is you have done the work through books and studying or have the experience to share.

The best way to share your wisdom with your mentee is during “mentorship moments.” Regardless of the frequency of these moments, they provide an opportunity to share wisdom through critical life or business lessons, accountability or encouragement. As Zig Ziglar famously said “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”

Get the #1 Best New Management Book to Read by Book Authority: Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Join the Next Ultimate Leadership Academy If you are ready to elevate the way you lead, join the next virtual Ultimate Leadership Academy.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.  

How to Develop Your Leadership Skills Without Much Time

Everyone claims to be “so busy” these days. The truth is, we make time for what’s important to us. If you want to get in better shape, you make time for it. If you want to be a better golfer, you make time for it. The same is true in leadership. 

Before we go any further, let’s get on the same page about one crucial truth: Leadership skills are developed, not something you are born with. Your development as a leader is paramount because of the impact you will have on other people. There isn’t a better quote to depict this, than from Warren Buffett:

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted the tree a long time ago.

There are many reasons why people don’t commit to growing and developing as a leader:

  • Companies prioritize new products, services, and increasing short-term revenue during company events over the development of their people’s leadership skills 
  • Performance reviews rarely focus on the development of a leader and instead focuses solely on the results from the last year
  • Leaders think they are a finished product and have leadership all figured out

But since you are reading this, I have a sneaky suspicion you aren’t one to make excuses. You want the answer to a simple question, “How do I develop my leadership skills when I don’t have the time?” 

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

Every day, tell yourself you are good enough and worthy 

The development of any skill centers around confidence. As Helen Keller famously said, “Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Like all personality traits, they are improved through practice and increasing belief.  

The most straightforward way to build confidence is by choosing the words you say to yourself. A leader we studied in Building the Best, doesn’t let the results of the year determine her confidence. Instead, she looks in the mirror every day and reminds herself, “I am good enough, and I am worthy.” This simple practice only takes three seconds but packs an enormous impact.

Watch for leadership lessons in the content you consume

I always find enough time to watch football. While it’s time spent on something I enjoy, I am always on the lookout for leadership lessons.  

A great example of this came from Andy Reid of the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. He was speaking about his quarterback, Patrick Mahomes and how great of a leader he is, “When he (Mahomes) is in that building, it’s all football, it’s all team. He’s never given an ‘It’s about me.’ I’ve never heard that from him. It’s all 100% about the team: ‘How we’re doing, what we can do better, how can I help?’ And then (he) buckles down to get the game plan down. He studies. For young guys out there, what a great example that is about hard work.”

The simple habit of pulling leadership lessons from your favorite shows, movies, or blogs is low hanging fruit in the development of your leadership skills. 

Commit to Growth 20.  

The best leaders start their day with a routine that helps them perform at their best. Certain leaders start at 4 am, while others get going at 8 am. Regardless of what your method is, I know you can commit to 20 minutes a day of development.  

It’s what I refer to as “growth 20.” Twenty minutes a day, reading, listening, or watching something that will help you grow. With the explosion of podcasts, youtube, and platforms like LinkedIn, the options are endless. All you have to do is create a sustainable habit to make it happen. Here are a few ideas:

  • Listen to a book or podcast during your commute
  • Read a chapter of a book before bed instead of watching TV
  • Block 20 minutes on your calendar to read LinkedIn, Thrive Global, or Harvard Business Review  

Meditate on your leadership interactions

One of the best ways to turn knowledge into comprehension is to meditate on the leadership events that happen every day. Because you are in a position of leadership, there are plenty of opportunities to do just this.  

Get in the habit of writing down a few notes about your interactions throughout your day. Think about the things that worked, didn’t work, and what you can do better next time. 

Rehearse critical conversations right before they happen

Far too often, leaders have direct dialogues with team members without rehearsing them. I don’t care how long you have been leading; this is a bad practice. Do you think Tiger Woods goes out to play a tournament without preparing his body and mind beforehand? Not a chance.  

Get out a notepad and write down your shared purpose statement. Beginning with a shared purpose statement puts you both in alignment from the start and helps remove defensive barriers. Then, please write down the evidence or truths (not feelings) you have witnesses that you want to make them aware of to help improve their performance. This simple practice takes all of two or three minutes and drastically improves your odds of being successful.  

If you aren’t doing any of these, pick one that will work for you and commit to it for tomorrow. Start small and get one win. Then do it again the next day.  

Tell me what you think in the comments

Is reading this column one of the ways you sharpen your leadership skills? If so, drop a Yes, in the comments section. What are other ways you develop your leadership skills that I missed?

Get the #1 Best New Management Book to Read by Book Authority: Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead others.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. He is currently booking events and speaking engagements for 2020. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How do you develop your leadership skills?

Start by telling yourself you are worthy and good enough to be a good leader each day. Once you mindset in the proper place, turn your attention to learning from the content you already consume. Then look to apply those in your daily work place.

Why don’t people commit to growing and developing as a leader?

Leaders think they are a finished product and have leadership all figured out.

How do you grow your leadership skills every day?

Commit to “growth 20.” Twenty minutes a day, reading, listening, or watching something that will help you grow. With the explosion of podcasts, youtube, and platforms like LinkedIn, the options are endless. All you have to do is create a sustainable habit to make it happen.