Category Archives: Mentor

Who is on your Personal Success Team?

Over the past few weeks I have helped over 100 people create their first ever OTM Plan For Personal Success. The process for creating these plans have ranged from large group facilitated workshops to one on one executive coaching.

One of the fascinating and recurring themes of my work in this space is that people do not have mentors currently present in their lives. Yet everyone with whom I have worked over the past few weeks (to a person) has agreed that they need other people to help them to achieve their success (and in turn recognise that they too should assist other people in achieving their success).

Dee Hock, the founder of VISA International considered mentors to be crucial to anyone’s success. I agree. In fact I currently have three formal mentors in my life, each of them adding clear and distinct value to my success journey. The insights, practical steps and good old fashioned ‘sounding boards’ are but a few of the benefits I have received as a result of conversations with my mentors. These days most of the conversations I have with my mentors is over Skype. (While all three of my mentors reside in Australia, one lives in Melbourne but some distance from me, another lives in Adelaide and the third lives in Perth). It is such a simple and effective tool for these types of conversations.

The challenge for most people is that each of us have to take personal responsibility for recruiting our mentors. One of the success tools I use in the OTM Planning For Success program is called Establishing Your Personal Success Team. This is a group of people who have either holistic and/or specific skills that can contribute to your success. Mentors, coaches, advisors, partners and close friends fit into this category.

Establishing a list of the sort of roles people will need to fill is a great first step to creating your Personal Success Team. Once this list is established, it becomes obvious that mentors will need to be sought.

So, how do you find a mentor? One way is to ask people. Another way is to find suitable people and pay them  for their value (as I do). The more I study success, the more I am discovering that successful people never stop seeking help from other people. Ever.

So, who is on your Personal Success Team? If you don’t have anybody, what are you going to do about it?

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Powerful questions for mentors

Mentoring is experiencing a resurgence as more and more people are recognising its benefits, from both mentor and protege perspectives.

Recently I facilitated a mentoring workshop for one of Australia’s largest universities. Part of the workshop included a Strategic Conversation. The purpose of which was to generate some resources for the 60 mentors present.

One of the most powerful resources for a mentor is to be able to access questions that can be used within a mentoring session. In this context, the Strategic Conversation that I hosted included the following question:

“As mentors or proteges, the most powerful and effective questions that we have asked or have been asked are…?”.

I have received permission to be able to share the output of the Strategic Conversation with you. Please click here to download the file.

I would like to be able to continually add to this list. In this context, please share the most powerful questions that you have been asked or have asked in the context of a mentoring relationship.

PS My first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals! is due for release on July 30th, 2010. In this context I have a pre-release Special Offer available. Over my journey a number of mentors provided me with books as gifts to assist me with my development. If you are a mentor then this may be the perfect gift for your proteges, especially if they are in the first ten years of their career. You might like to consider an even more powerful gift which is the Online Course that supports the book.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

“Reverse mentoring” reframes traditional views – or does it?

“Reverse mentoring” is meant to reframe traditional views of mentoring. According to Gill South’s article in the New Zealand Herald reverse mentoring is a process where senior leaders deliberately seek out young staff or aspiring female staff to access their views of the world.

While reading the article I found myself thinking, “This isn’t new, this is what mentoring already does.” As a facilitator of mentor training programs I’m yet to experience mentors (who are volunteers in the programs that I facilitate) who do not expect to learn a great deal from their mentee. In fact, most of the mentors with whom I have worked have explicitly stated that they want to be mentors to access a different perspective on their company.

To enable you to make up your own mind the full article can be viewed here.

While I might not agree with the term “Reverse mentoring” I do agree with the benefits of forming true mentoring relationships that Gill lists. From a senior staff perspective accessing views from people within the organisation that you might not have direct contact with provides a smart and strategic reason to become a mentor. Fortunately there is a resurgence in company mentoring programs and Gill’s article will contribute to that trend. If you are a senior staff member and not involved in a mentor program I encourage you to become involved now. The relationship you form will benefit both your mentee and yourself, possibly more than you realise.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at

Mentoring in the mould of the Master-Apprentice approach

As a trainer of mentors and facilitator of mentor-mentee relationships I like to keep my eye out for developments and thinking in the field. Over the weekend I had the pleasure to read a newspaper article from a retired professor named Jim Mroczkowski. In his article Jim explains a mentoring relationship that occured after a shift from one university to another. He describes the relationship as being more like a master-apprentice relationship than a modern mentoring relationship and attributes the success of his career to the foundations that he learned during his time as an ‘apprentice’. Jim’s article is titled Lessons Taught and Lessons Learned and is worth the three minutes that it will take to read the article.

The success of his experience got me thinking. How present are master-apprentice relationships these days? Might there not be some perfect opportunities for such relationships to develop today? Are any of our members currently participating in such relationships and if so, how do they work?

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts on these questions and to hear your experiences relating to master-apprentice relationships.

Gary Ryan enables individuals, teams and organisations to matter.
Visit Gary at