Monthly Archives: February 2015

~ Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction ~

....John Crosby

Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing? It can help your career tremendously if you find a mentor who can 'push you in the right direction'.

Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.

Mentors help others for various reasons - some are born leaders who share their business successes; others like to 'give back' perhaps in memory of their own mentors. Others have a genuine interest in the success of a selected other. Here is just a capsule of familiar pairs of mentor and mentee.

'One of the oldest ways to pass on wisdom and knowledge from one generation of professionals to another has been through mentoring' .....Oprah Winfrey and her mentor, Barbara Waters

Meg Whitman (CEO and President of eBay) was told, "Be nice, do your best - and most important, keep it in perspective," by her mentor (father).

Andrew Carnegie was mentor to Charles Schwab (first president of US Steel).

Michael Lee-Chin (Chairman of National Commercial Bank in Jamaica, philanthropist, and businessman) was mentored in business by Warren Buffet and names his mother, Hyacinth Gloria Chen, as his life mentor.

Benjamin Graham (Columbia University professor) and Howard Buffett (dad) mentors to Warren Buffett (CEO, Berkshire Hathaway) told him "You're right not because others agree with you, but because your facts are right."

Mary Kay Ash (co-founder Mary Kay Cosmetics) mentor to Tom Wheatley (president fo global sales).

Warren Bennis mentor to Howard Schultz (CEO, Starbucks) suggested to his mentee "Recognize the skills and traits you don't possess, and hire the people who have them."

A.G. Lafley (Chairman and CEO of Procter and Gamble) was told by his mentor, "Have the courage to stick with a tough job."

Ace Greenberg (Bear Stearns) was a mentor for Sumner Redstone (Chairman and CEO of Viacom) and told him, "Follow your own instincts, not those of the people who see the world differently."

B.F. Skinner (psychologist) mentor to Robert Epstein (Editor-in-Chief, Psychology Today)

Robert McNamara (former US Secretary of Defense) mentor to Lee Iacocca (former president of Chrysler)

Thomas Sowell (economist) mentor to Clarence Thomas (US Supreme Court justice). to

Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan mentor  Dr. Ruth Westheimer (psychologist, sex counselor)

Reference: The Mentor Hall of Fame by Rey Carr


Marie Coppola Revised February 2015

So you've decided you should make new friends rather than continue on with all the old friends you have had all these past years - you've outgrown them.  You have nothing in common anymore.   You say, "Some live far away - others are too busy with their lives".   A new friend offers a fresh perspective especially if she or he is of a different background and life experiences.  You can enjoy learning new ideas or coping with a new adjustment in life.  You might say "the maid of honor at my wedding was special but she now lives on another coast."  And "yes, he was the baby's Godfather, but I haven't heard from him in awhile.  That was then and this is now." 

Many of us have busy active lives, and newly made friends are interesting and fun at lunch or a night out for a dinner.  We may have similar interests; our jobs, friends of friends, neighbors, church, etc.

Imagine a life-changing event comes up or an important decision you have to make.   Or a family issue.   Can you turn to that fairly new friend to offer solutions or advice on what they would do in your shoes?   But how long have they lived in your shoes?  Do they know your revolving family history and the key players?  Do you know them as intimately as a 10, 15, 25 or 30 year friendship?

Many of us can call a long-time ago friend after a substantial time lapse and tell him or her what you're going through.  These friends can fill in your life blanks themselves.     They know your past actions, family relationships and personal history as well as your patience limit, endurance and value or faith quotients.   You don't have to start from the beginning of your life to explain your present situation as you would have to do have to with newer friends.  Perhaps there are tentacles to the situation that you don't wish to share with someone you don't know well.  Long-time friends pretty much know a lot about you. There 's so much  you would have to explain about your life events that an old friend already knows.  Who is better to assess what is before you or your problem and offer solutions?    They know you - how you react and how you see things and what's most important to you.

Here's a test:  stop reading this and call an old friend.   You can  interface with them no matter how long it's been since you last spoke together.  You go right back from where you left off and feel comfortable with it.  You cannot duplicate that gift.  You've been through many things together - things a new friend hasn't or may never share with you .  And will they repeat it to someone else?  You already know which friends will and which ones won't.

Now wait just a minute - do you really want to ditch your old  friends?   Having relocated myself and meeting new 'friends' I enjoy the friendships, but it lacks the strength of time that old friends give you.   By the way, keeping life-long friends can extend your life span.  They remember your best memories and lament over the bad ones - sometimes making jokes about them.  They are like brothers & sisters.

While a new friend offers a fresh perspective with life experiences, your old friends have a much more in-depth frame of reference on what makes They laugh at jokes only the two of you get, remember your likes and dislikes, and may even finish your sentences.

© Marie Coppola  February 2021