Hi Team,

For those of you who don't already know, this year I have started to mentor the owners of two independent building companies. The first is an up-and-coming building company in NSW that reached out to me late last year, after reading the content on the "DDB website Knowledge Centre" to see if I would be interested to mentor them. The second is a female entrepreneur in the building industry who was introduced to me via the Master Builders Association and the WBA (Women Building Australia) mentoring program.

After taking up this challenge the last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, as I admit that I am very new to the mentoring world and prior to saying yes to both of the above I had little knowledge of what mentors actually did! Luckily, Google came to my rescue, and I discovered that the concept of mentoring can be summed up by a quote from a Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu,
"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."

One of the first things I needed to grasp was the difference between coaching and mentoring. Luckily, I have had a lot of experience with business coaching and was fully versed with its emphasis on systems, management, and performance. I have now learnt that mentoring is quite different and mainly concentrates on the mentee's mindset, thinking and behaviour. But the biggest similarities between coaching and mentoring are that they both assume a "growth mindset" and both are all about personal development.

"The key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are - not to make them more like you." Unknown

Your mindset is basically how you view yourself and how you relate to others. Your mindset is the key to your decision making and to your success in life. Changing your beliefs can have a powerful impact and a growth mindset creates a powerful passion for learning. And this is the foundation to mentoring.

Leading up to the start of the WBA mentoring program, I recently completed a training course called
"The Art of Mentoring” which I found extremely informative and relevant.

Below are my key take-aways from the mentoring training. (which are also useful for developing any relationship)

  1. Women working in the male dominated building industry have a unique set of challenges and completely different work-life imbalances.
  2. Mentoring works best when it is driven by the mentee (i.e., the mentee should set the agenda).
  3. Listening is far more important than talking.
  4. Both the mentor and the mentee must have a similar sense of purpose and a clear idea of why they are doing the mentoring. (More on this next week)
  5. Using open questions that start with "who, what, when + how" opens up the conversation and helps to create deeper more meaningful discussions.
  6. Successful mentors guide the mentee to come up with their own solutions.

"When one person mentors another, two lives are changed." Unknown

Next week I will try to explain why doing this mentoring is important to me and the fundamental differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and learn from each other.

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