The Leader as Mentor

“I don’t have time to help him. If he can’t figure out how to do it, I guess I’ll just do it myself.” Unfortunately, I have heard this kind of quote too many times from influential leaders. In this fast-paced world with too many tasks to accomplish, mentoring is often the furthest thing from a person’s mind. For some people, mentoring is a foreign concept. Other people understand it but don’t make it a priority.

business partners are posing against white background

Mentoring is the leverage point of leadership. One person can only do so much. A leader’s production is dependent upon his or her ability to produce, but it also depends upon his or her ability to lead through others. Mentoring is the craft of developing another person to become a leader, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the individual, the organization, and ultimately the mentor. Many leaders are blind to the correlation of mentoring and their own individual production. Some of them decide erroneously that they must do all of the work. Others take a more narcissistic approach and insist on receiving all of the credit. Michael Maccoby wrote about the concept of “narcissistic leaders” in a Harvard Business Review issue and a related book. In his article, Maccoby related five key weaknesses of narcissistic leaders:

  • Sensitive to Criticism
  • Poor Listeners
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Distaste for Mentoring
  • An Intense Desire to Compete

With many old-school leaders still taking the narcissistic approach to leadership, it is understandable why they don’t see the benefits to mentoring. In fact, they have a “distaste for mentoring” as Maccoby so eloquently, or unfortunately states. They abhor it and see no value in it whatsoever. In my experience of observing and teaching about leadership, most leaders who negate the value of mentoring either have never experienced the pleasure of a great mentoring relationship or they are unwilling to credit their own success to a mentoring relationship. The perplexing point for me is how a leader can avoid the promising aspects of mentoring. Even a narcissist would want to produce exponentially beyond his or her own ability or capacity!

Mentoring provides this distinct advantage to produce beyond yourself. When a leader makes it a priority to mentor other people, she can accomplish a lot more. The leader’s production capability and capacity becomes incredible! It is not just addition at that point; it’s multiplication and an exponential return on the investment in and through others. As the leader develops her people, they begin to take the initiative to produce. This kind of leader has a distinct taste for and focus on developing the production capacity of her people, team, and organization! In fact, I think there are 3 very important things that the Leader as Mentor does:

  • Teach (vs. Tell) – Great leaders who understand mentoring teach others the how and why of the tasks they are accomplishing, and they tailor their instruction based on the experience level of the person.
  • Develop (vs. Direct) – As a leader, you have to direct the tasks of others, but if you are not developing your people along the way, you will never raise the level of leadership in your organization. A key question to consider is: Are my people just completing tasks or are they growing in their careers?
  • Help (vs. Hoard) – Leaders as mentors seek to help their people pursue their potential. Instead of hoarding the knowledge, they share their experiences to help people grow faster in their careers.

As the people grow and develop into leaders, the organization is stronger and more effective, and the leader is able to exponentially exceed his or her own production capacity.

It is an awesome feeling to share knowledge and wisdom with others and watch them soar! Leaders who mentor know this feeling all too well!

Question: Who has served as a mentor for you? What is something that a mentor has done for you that has made a positive difference in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Leader as Mentor is just one of the 7 roles of transformational leaders that we cover in our leadership development programs. Our next public leadership training workshop is in Austin, TX, on October 28th, and there is still time to sign up. We have also had the privilege of customizing this impactful training program for many top companies and would love to do the same for you, your team, and your organization. Email me to find out more about how to bring one of our leadership programs into your company or organization.







The Journey For Perfection

“I’m just ready to hit the perfect golf shot!” As I processed this comment from one of my golfers, I sarcastically but respectfully responded, “Well, I’m not holding my breath until you or any of these other elite pro golfers that are out here does that!”

Janell hitting a shot

It is a quest that has no end; a journey without a final destination. We all strive to be perfect at something. I have seen this trait in a lot of the people I coach across the domains of sports, business, and life. Elite performers falsely believe that every shot, every word, and every action should be perfect. And when it is not, they begin to question and doubt their talent. Sometimes, it lasts only for a split second moment. Occasionally, it can endure for what seems to be an eternity.

Determination and striving to be our best at something can be a powerful force in our lives. The notion of perfection, however, very often leads to pressing, which involves increasing the importance of a given moment. Your life has enough stress and pressure in it without you mistakenly thinking you have to be perfect. As I tell my golfers, sometimes accomplishing the goal is as simple as getting from point A to point B to point C.

What makes us arrogantly assume that we can be perfect? Even in Michael Johnson’s greatest race in the 1996 Olympics when he won the gold medal and shattered his own world record – a race many of us would have called the perfect race – he stumbled the first few steps out of the blocks. Bob Rotella, the guru of sports psychologists, wrote a whole book about this topic entitled Golf is Not a Game of Perfect. Bill Walsh, the Hall of Fame football coach of the San Francisco 49ers taught his players to strive for perfection knowing that excellence was within their grasp.

Perfection is what we all seek but will never achieve. We can only hope to strive to do our best moment by moment. I teach my golfers as well as my other athletes to be outcome-driven and process-focused. Every one of them is graded and judged by a metric, so we work on developing an inner will and determination to pursue that outcome. But then, we let it go, and focus on the process to achieve the outcome by:

  • Playing shot to shot/moment by moment
  • Playing to their strengths
  • Recovering well when setbacks occur and things don’t go as planned
  • Being resilient and responding with your best effort in the very next moment
  • Focusing on the little things that can make a big difference

What about you? Are you striving to achieve something that will never be conquered? Are you placing unrealistic expectations on yourself? Are you basing your performance on perceived expectations? Are you trying to be perfect?

Don’t let the perception of perfection keep you from being the best you can be in every role that you play. Choose today to focus on the process to achieve the outcome you desire, and enjoy the journey!

Check out our coaching programs to help you maximize your potential and achieve your goals in sports, business, and life.

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What You Choose To Focus On Magnifies in Size

Distractions are a part of life. I see it all the time in working with my golfers. Creators of the best golf courses design the holes with distractions in mind. They put trees, sand, water, and other kinds of hazards in interesting places to channel your focus away from the target. Golf would be a much easier game if there was a wide open fairway with a flat, monster-sized green and a giant sign that read “Hit it here!” Instead, the sand, the water, and the trees call out for your attention, even if it is only to cause you to think, “I hope I don’t hit it there.”

Golf hole with sand traps

We use the following math equation in sports performance to help our athletes focus on the goal:


This is true in golf, and it is true in life. Life distractions come in many forms. These distractions are often things we cannot control like the weather, other people’s attitudes, traffic, a death in the family, an unforeseen illness, etc. Some distractions are things that we can control like how we use our time, our attitude and response to circumstances, and the choice we have to live in faith or in fear.

The key to using the equation above is to stay focused on the principles and activities that will enable you to maximize your potential while utilizing thoughts and techniques that will minimize the distractions in your life…or at least your focus on them. Maximizing your potential involves operating in your strength zone and doing things that advance the ball toward your goals.

In dealing with distractions, we have an axiom that says: “What you choose to focus on magnifies in size.” Going back to the golf example, if a golfer continues to think about the sand, it will become as big as a beach in Florida in their mind. If instead, he or she chooses to focus on the fairway or the hole, these objects will become bigger in his or her mind. It all comes down to choices and putting your mind in the best position to score by choosing to focus on your target.

In life, if you choose to focus on stress, fear of the unknown, the loss of a job, or your perceived inadequacies, these distractions will become an unbearable anchor around your life hindering you from being successful and living out your calling in life. You can, however, choose to focus on the things that will help you achieve your goals and make a positive impact within your sphere of influence including:

  • Things you are grateful for
  • Your strengths, talents, and gifts
  • Your family and positive relationships in your life
  • Mentors who are investing in you
  • Opportunities that you have
  • People who are counting on you to be a leader in their life
  • The fact that you are still alive

What is distracting you from becoming all that you can be and achieving your goals? Always remember that you do have a choice about what you think about and what you choose to focus on. Use this equation and axiom to pursue your potential and realize the opportunities in front of you. Don’t allow the distractions of this world to detour you from the destination of your life.


Question: In your daily life, do you focus more on distractions or your goals? What helps you to stay focused on achieving your goals? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The 4th Quarter

While every quarter matters in a game or in a calendar year, the 4th quarter represents the moment when the pressure is on to finish what you started. Clutch performers always come through in the 4th quarter and show up when it matters most! The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about September being the new January – a time to assess where you are on your goals and recommit to the things and people that are most important in your life. It also provides an opportunity for you to get back to the discipline that you know you need to have in order to make your dreams a reality and be effective in your daily routine for the remaining months of the year.


Yet, we know both in sports and in life that the 4th quarter does not always show progress and a positive score in our favor. Many times, we survey the scoreboard of our lives and find ourselves down, distressed, discouraged, and possibly defeated. We examine the situation and don’t know how we will rebound with the time that we have left. Whether you are ahead of your goals for this year or discerning how you will make a prevailing comeback in the 4th quarter of this year, asking the right questions can often lead to the right answers and solutions to help you accomplish your goals and be successful in all areas of your life. Here are some questions that you might find helpful as you think about the 4th quarter of this year:

  • Where Am I On My Goals? – The first step is take a checkpoint on where you are in relationship to your goals. Many people set goals at the beginning of the year but fail to review progress during the year. In order to achieve your goals, you have to measure your progress. We recommend a monthly review of your goals in order to develop action plans that you can plan weekly and execute daily. We also recommend a personal quarterly retreat that involves taking a day away from your daily routine and physical work and personal environments to think deeply and strategically about where you are and where you are going in terms of your goals as they relate to your life plans.
  • What Course Corrections Do I Need To Make? – Another great question involves the consideration of changes that may allow you to make more progress in a certain area of your life. If you find yourself traveling down a path that is not yielding the results that you want or desire, asking a question that will help you “correct your course” and steer in a better direction is very helpful. Many people just continue to dig in and go harder and faster without ever recognizing that they may be in a situation where they don’t where they are going but they are making great time!
  • What Has Been Working For Me? – This often forgotten question allows you to journal about the things that have worked for you in order advance the ball towards goal achievement. Replicating excellence and being consistently great in your performance is what you want, and it begins with identifying, realizing, and leveraging the things that are working including ideas, actions, processes, and systems. This also involves becoming aware of your strengths and determining how you can continue to collaborate with and delegate to others who have strengths that complement and supplement your strengths effectively.

In addition to these questions, you can become even more focused in the 4th quarter as well as every other quarter of the year by doing the following things:

  • Be Present – physically, mentally, and emotionally in the moments that you have.
  • Be “Outcome-Driven and Process-Focused©” – driven by your goals but focused every day on the process to achieve them.
  • Review your goals and life plan on a regular basis.
  • Schedule your priorities in your weekly calendar versus just prioritizing your schedule and the daily things that try to distract you from what’s important.
  • Ensure that the things and people that you are investing in are the most important priorities in your life.

You only have one life to live made up of monthly, weekly, and daily moments that matter. Be present in the 4th quarter making the most of every opportunity!

We offer group and individual coaching and leadership training workshops and retreats that can help you and your team maximize your potential, achieve your goals, and make the most of the 4th quarter and every quarter of your life. Let us know how we can help you.

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Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

This disclaimer is usually tagged as a footnote to investment literature that touts how great a mutual fund’s returns and performance have been over the past year. I, however, am often called into situations where this quote plays a vital role in helping someone rebound from a period of underperforming below their elite talent level. It’s amazing to me how the past often haunts us as we dismiss the progress that we have made and selectively frame the pictures of poor performance.

For example, many of the golfers that I work with as a peak performance coach are haunted by the past. Past rounds, past holes, and past shots. They are seeking perfection, and when they do not hit the perfect shot, doubt often creeps in. If they are not careful, they begin a pattern of spiraling downward in performance allowing the past shot to dictate their future opportunities for success. In other words, a bad shot leads to a bad hole which leads to a bad round. This pattern can also happen to you in the roles you play in life. For example, how does a woman go from moments of incredible impact in the lives of her children to feeling that she is a horrible mother – just because of one imperfect moment?confused-signs

The key to breaking through this vicious downward spiral is what I call “Recovery Time©” defined as your ability to respond and rebound from moments you did not expect to happen and move into the next moment. Others might refer to this quality as “grit” or “resiliency,” and we believe that it can be developed and improved.  Using a golfer again as an example, I work with my athletes on thoughts, tools, and techniques that will help them play shot to shot, perform in the current moment, and respond when they miss shots they know they should have made. Part of this process involves developing “trigger/activating” phrases that help them to replace thoughts of fear and doubt with thoughts of trust and belief about them and their talent.

We must also learn from the past, not live in the past. The past must be an ally pushing us onward and forward, not an adversary rising up against us at every turn. Your past may not involve a missed 4-foot putt or a bad round of golf. Your past may include:

  • Being laid off at work
  • Feeling inadequate as a parent
  • Feeling disconnected to your spouse
  • Wondering if people even know you exist
  • Being rejected over and over again
  • Struggling to tap into your talent
  • Striving to pursue purpose and meaning in your life

Whatever you are going through today, know that you can recover from miserable moments. It begins with realizing that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Just because you have had a bad past doesn’t mean that you are destined to have a terrible future.

If we truly comprehend the meaning of this quote and conquer our doubts of past performance, we will learn to embrace the current moment with arms wide open. We will understand how opportunity and possibilities are waiting at the door if we will just relinquish the overwhelming memories of times where we did not perform at our best.

Strive today to “learn from the past, prepare for the future, and perform in the moment” (quote taken from my book Moments: Making Your Life Count For What Matters Most).

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