How to be a SAGE without being a Snob

prairie dog


You can’t be great if you don’t grow.
Growth requires learning.
We learn and grow in relationship.
Helping others learn moves them toward their greatness.

Learning is pivotal to greatness.

“Mentoring is the act of, ‘Helping others learn.’” Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith in, Managers as Mentors.

Danger zone:

Chip and Marshall explain pitfalls for mentors:

  1. I can help.” Eager mentors are interventionists. But growth is a function of struggle. “Here’s a test; if you ask the protégé, ‘May I help?’ and she says no, how do you feel?”
  2. I know best.” Proud mentors use protégés to feed their egos. “If your protégé comes to you and says that he found someone else who might be more helpful as a mentor, how do you feel?” (Mild and momentary disappointment is normal.)
  3. You need me.” All mentor-protégé relationships begin with need. Growth is moving through need to strength.

Mentoring partnerships focus on, “learner discovery and independence, in a climate that reduces boundaries and encourages risk.”

Becoming a “S.A.G.E.” mentor (from Managers as Mentors):

  1. “Surrendering – leveling the learning field.” Power over creates anxiety in. Growth requires freedom and courage. Successful mentors, “Pull power and authority out of the relationship.”
  2. “Accepting – creating a safe haven for risk taking.” Mentors bring in. “Accepting is the act of inclusion.”
  3. “Gifting – the core contribution of the mentor…” Mentoring is a no strings relationship, freely pouring from one cup to another. Generosity is too weak a word for mentors, they gift.
  4. “Extending – nurturing protégé independence.” Successful mentors push relationships beyond expected boundaries with the goal of creating an independent self-directed learner.

“Mentoring is an honor. Except for love, there is no greater gift one can give another than the gift of growth,” Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith in Managers as Mentors.

What makes mentor-protégé relationships go bad?

What behaviors do successful mentors exhibit?