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Making the Connection

By E’toile L. Libbett, GRI, associate broker with Preferred Carlson, REALTORS®, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Mentoring: A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés. Floyd Wickman & Terri Sjodin. 167 pages. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1997.) $24.95.

Floyd Wickman and Terri Sjodin have collaborated to produce an excellent guide on mentoring.

The book is punctuated with entertaining and sometimes emotionally charged stories about protégés and their mentors. Some of these stories are from or about well-known personalities such as Les Brown, Tom Hopkins, and Ben Franklin. Most, however, are about ordinary people such as you and me.

The authors say that using a mentor is a way of achieving your goals faster and that mentoring does not replace other types of training; it enhances it.

The book explains what a protégé can expect from a mentor, how to select a mentor, and what the protocol of being a protégé involves. It gives 16 laws of mentoring.

The mentoring relationship can save the protégé time and money by opening doors the protégé couldn’t have opened alone. The relationship provides coaching and troubleshooting assistance for the protégé, thus helping reduce the protégé’s frustration. Used in conjunction with goal setting, mentoring can help the protégé achieve increased productivity and career satisfaction.

The selection of a mentor is explained in 21 detailed steps. These steps begin with brainstorming your wants. In which areas of your life do you want a mentor? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Wickman–a speaker and real estate trainer noted for his “Sweathogs” educational program–and Sjodin say there’s nothing worse for a mentor than to have the protégé fail to follow up on the list of tasks the mentor has suggested. The authors feel that a protégé has “to earn the right to hear the secrets of the masters.” The basic tasks lead to the bigger secrets until the “most precious pearls of wisdom” are shared.

Completion of the basic tasks is probably the most difficult portion of the mentoring process for the protégé. The basic tasks may mean that the protégé must step outside the protégé’s comfort zone. The protégé may also realize that success is imminent if the tasks are completed, but the protégé may not be ready for success. However, if one is hungry for success, comfort level will not matter and the protégé will be propelled to take action on the shared wisdom of the mentor.

Wickman and Sjodin say that the laws represent the characteristics that a mentoring relationship must display if it’s going to last. The laws help the mentoring relationship grow, flourish, and be successful.

The book ends with a collection of comments–pearls of wisdom–from many mentors.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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