Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Steve Blank‘s (@sgblank) work (I have linked to some of his recent articles below) and I did appreciate the distinction that he had drawn between teachers, mentors, and coaches in his article for LinkedIn. But as I read the article I found myself upset with his response to a question from an audience member. I felt that he had shown indifference to the audience member based on his response. The question was “How do I get you, or someone like you to become my mentor?” The individual was clearly asking for a suggestion on how to find a mentor. Steve’s response was “At least for me, becoming someone’s mentor means a two-way relationship. A mentorship is a back and forth dialog – it’s as much about giving as it is about getting. It’s a much higher-level conversation than just teaching. Think about what can we learn together? How much are you going to bring to the relationship?” Steve finished the article with this advice regarding mentorships “But never ask. Offer to give.” To me that advice sounds to close to, “I’m too busy, don’t bother me with your question.”
The measure of success for most NFL coaches is did they get their team into the postseason playoffs. This year the Minnesota Vikings had a regular season record of 10 wins and 6 loses, the exact same record as the Chicago Bears. Even though the Bears had the same numbers of wins, the Vikings made it the playoffs and the Bears didn’t. This was based on the Vikings winning one more division game than the Bears. The Bears season is over and so is coach Lovie Smith’s era when he was fired last Monday. How different the feeling is for Vikings coach Leslie Fraizer. He is being lauded for bringing his team back from a 3-13 record last season and getting his team to the playoffs this year.
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