The Coach's Corner

Archive for June, 2012

What Does Mentoring Look Like?

June 18th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //

There is no secret formula for mentoring someone, but one thing is certain: It requires spending a lot of time together. One of my favorite mentoring stories involves an owner-operated manufacturing business where the founder — an Ivy-League-schooled, impressive, enlightened individual — was preparing his son to run the business. One of the many examples of this owner’s insight was the fact that he had an open-office landscape for his team, himself included. Because of this setup, I often had the privilege of observing the father/founder meeting with his son — and I admit I would try to eavesdrop on their conversations. What I observed was the father asking a lot of questions, and then patiently listening to his son’s answers. I also saw mutual respect, and never detected any form of lecturing. I watched the interactions between a son who really wanted to learn, and a father who wanted his son to be successful. It was truly a wonderful picture, and a perfect example of good mentoring.

p.s. The father has since passed away, and the son is at least as impressive as his father. As a result, the company continues to prosper.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

June 4th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //

Most people have no idea what kinds of pressures business owners have to deal with every day. From the outside, the idea of being in charge and owning a business looks pretty cool — yet we’ve all heard it said that it’s lonely at the top. I had an experience with a business owner one day that brought home that point. I was at a business meeting at the Birmingham Country Club; from the conference room windows, those of us who were in the meeting could see the club entrance and the valet parking attendants. During one of the breaks, only the owner of the business and I were in the room. We were idly looking out the window, and not saying much of anything. All of a sudden, he said, “Now, there is a good job.” To which I replied, “Excuse me?” I had no idea what he was talking about. He responded, “The valet parking attendant job. Most customers are very polite to you, and they usually smile and pay you cash.” He was serious, and obviously dealing with some tough customers. I felt honored that he felt safe enough with me to be so transparent. On those days when your job as the boss leaves you feeling rather lonely — because, no doubt, there will be some days like that — I hope you have someone to support you.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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