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Mentorship Unleashed

Mentorship Unleashed

In this captivating episode, Jason ( Jason S Bradshaw) engages in a dynamic conversation with Scott Jeffrey Miller, the celebrated author of “The Ultimate Guide to Great Mentorship.” Join us as we unravel the intricacies of mentorship, exploring Scott’s rich career, the 13 pivotal roles mentors can play, and practical tips for becoming an influential model.

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Transcript

JASON: Well, like I said, I'm absolutely delighted to have our guest with us today, Scott Jeffrey Miller, the author of the bestselling book, The Ultimate Guide to Great Mentorship. Scott, it is an absolute pleasure to have you with us today.

SCOTT: Oh, the pleasure is mine. Thank you for the spotlight and also the platform today.

JASON: Oh, you're very kind, you're very kind. Now, your latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Great Mentorship, I do want to dive into that, but before we do I say the latest book because you're a multi time best selling author. Do you want to share with the audience some of the other work that you've done in the past when it comes to books and perhaps, share right out of the gate, the biggest podcast that you host?

SCOTT: Well, too many books, quite frankly. So I've just finished my seventh book in four years. That's not a brag. That's a confession. I don't know exactly what was in me and I have three more that I've optioned with publishers. So I'm going to be at 10 in six years, but I worked of course for the Franklin Covey company for 25 years, right?

The most trusted leadership development firm in the world. Dr. Stephen Covey sold 40 million copies of his book, The Seven Habits. I'm hoping to sell a half million of all my seven put together. So we'll see what happens there. But an amazing run. It's been a great journey. My books generally focus on leadership, career development, mentoring.

Like you, I'm privileged to host two podcasts each week. One is a leadership podcast and the other is a podcast where I interview executives from the C suite. Really just kind of helping our listeners and viewers become better leaders, both at home and in the workplace and like you, I'm passionate to have an insatiable curiosity on how to build my own effectiveness.

So I usually interview people that I think will make me a better dad, a better husband, a better leader, a better entrepreneur. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. But, it's an honor to be here today

JASON: It’s certainly one of the benefits of hosting a show is that you do get to meet some truly inspiring, informative and just simply great people like yourself.

So, Scott, thank you. I can. I have two books in the works at the moment …

SCOTT: Yes

JASON: …that quite frankly, my publisher says I've missed every deadline. So could I hit one of them would be great.

SCOTT: I’ve never hit a deadline by the way.

JASON: And you, you've been a machine getting these books out. As you said, they're all about, or in the sphere of leadership, why are you so passionate about creating this body of work to help make great leaders

SCOTT: You know, I don't think everyone should be a leader and I'm a bit of a pariah in the leadership industry. I think most of the body of work lures people into leadership. Oh, it's a noble profession. Oh, you'll change the lives. I think. I think that it's bunk.

I don't think everybody should be an anesthesiologist or a commercial airline pilot or a leader. I think too often in organizations, the only way to get promoted, earn more money, have more influence is to become a leader of people. So you have a lot of individual contributors, people that should actually be and stay.

As individual contributors moving up into leadership, and it's the wrong leverage of their skills. What happens is too many of them, like me, sometimes implode, and rarely do we go back to being the salesperson after being the sales leader. Nobody steps back down. They quit and leave. Now the organization has lost both their top producer, and their leadership pipeline.

So I wanted to write a series of books that are practical and applicable, tell the truth about how hard it is to be a mentor or a leader, but also at the same time, speak to people who want to pursue that journey and give them great scripts, what to say, say this, don't say that, think this way, don't think that way.

And you'll notice there's a theme in all of my books, and they're very vulnerable and transparent. I confess all of my sins. I talk about my mistakes. My wife has said to me this book writing thing better work out because I'll never get a job again after all these books I've written about my mistakes.

So, so far so good.

JASON: Well, I appreciate that honestly in that view I agree that there is a space in organizations for subject matter experts and that should be a path for promotion and a noble cause in itself that, then just that leadership track because like you call out leaders do have the ability to shape the people underneath them.

But if you're a good leader, that's a great thing, right? But if you're a bad leader or we're still, you're a leader by default, not through any desire of your own then that can have a negative impact on the people you lead as well. So really appreciate that honest take on, not everyone should be a leader.

I can guarantee you do not want me to be your pilot. I'm much better as the passenger in the aircraft as opposed to the Parliament. Definitely I could do that. So the new book, the Ultimate Guide to Great Mentorship. 13 roles to making a true impact. Now, we will get into some of these 13, but I'm just wondering where the number 13 comes from.

SCOTT: You know, the publisher approached me, Harper Collins. Asked me if I wanted to write a book on leader on mentorship. I had written several books with them before every author's dream to have a publisher come to you and ask you to write a book. And so I said, gosh, I'd love to. My entire career has been as the recipient of great mentorship or hopefully being a mentor to somebody else.

I said, sounds great. Let me think about it. I came back with 15 roles and they passed out and they said, no, have you ever heard of the seven habits of highly fit people? Yeah. I sold 40 million copies of it. Well, you can't have more than seven. I said, okay, so with Grand Compromise, I lopped two off and came back with 13 because I actually believe that there are 13 roles that mentors can play.

Sometimes they underplay them, sometimes they overplay them, sometimes they shouldn't play them. But after all of my experience, 30 years in the leadership industry, as an executive in a global public company, as an entrepreneur, as someone who moved from the front line to the C suite, I just determined that I thought there were 13 circumstances, 13 situations, 13 roles that mentors should play. And that's how that number came about. It wasn't an artificial number. I started with 15 and like I said, to appease my publisher, I brought it down to, started at 15, brought it down to 13.

JASON: And, and so nice of you not to double that number of seven.

SCOTT: That's what I thought. That's what I thought.

JASON: Yeah. So, let's start. Quite often, the moment you move into a leadership role, someone is saying, well, now you need to become a mentor. Do you think that every leader needs to be a mentor?

SCOTT: Good grief, no. I don't think there's any correlation between leadership and mentorship.

That's nonsense, right? I mean, first of all, you shouldn't make your leader, your mentor. That's an irresponsible request. So I think too often times, leaders are either volunteered or voluntold to become a mentor in their organization. That's okay, but there's no correlation between the competencies that make you a great leader.

And the competencies you learn to become a great mentor. That's why I wrote the book. It's exactly why I wrote the book is because most mentors hail from a leadership position, but what makes you a great mentor is your ability to share your wisdom, your ability to show maybe an unnatural level of patience and vulnerability and admit your mistakes, your ability to sit down and listen and help your mentee uncover what it is they're trying to accomplish and then determine if any of your experience is good or bad can help them accelerate their success towards that path.

JASON: Yeah, it makes so much sense. Now, in the book, you talk about 13 mentor roles. Do you have a favorite?

SCOTT: I do.

JASON: Do you have your go to role?

SCOTT: I do. I have three sons, and I have a favorite. I won't tell you who they are today, but I do have a favorite role. And that's, that's okay. I don't like any of them. Read my books, you know I don't really like being a parent. I like my kids. Relax, everybody. I just don't like them when they're awake.

My favorite role is the validator. This is a role that I think has the ability to be consequential with your mentee. This is role number six. It's a role that I sometimes think people overplay. That they validate too frequently. But this is a role that if you slow down and you exercise the benefit of the pause, change your voice, inflection, rate, tone, pitch, and you say, you know, Jason, I want to stop a second.

I've been watching you and listening to the last six or eight sessions, and I recognize a superpower in you. Now, I want you to stop thinking and put your pen down for a moment, and I don't want you to deflect it or deny it or dispute it. I just want you to listen. I notice that whenever we meet, you are an amazing synthesizer, right?

We, whatever it is we're talking about, you have a way to kind of peel the onion to bring down to the root cause of what really should happen first. My point is, I think you have an amazing power to get to the bottom line fast. And understand the why behind the what, and this is a skill that will serve you extraordinarily well as a parent, a spouse, a partner, a friend, a leader, a mentor, an entrepreneur.

I want you to, so you get the point, right? Is find something in them that is very deliberate. Don't concoct something. Don't artificially validate two things in every meeting. But you have a chance to name someone's genius. And that person, your mentee, may or may not immediately glom onto that, but they'll never forget it.

I have stories in the book that I share of people that named my genius back in my teens. When I was 17, and to this day, 35 years later, I still remember what they said to me, and I've built a career out of it. Not because I believed it in myself because I believed they saw it in myself. And so the validator has a special place, I think, in the 13 rules, at least for me as the author.

JASON: And if I'm picking up correctly what you're saying, the mentor does not need to be the validator in every session for the, it's not the style of mentor. It's a role that the mentor pays at the right time during the relationship. So if someone gets this book and let's face it, everyone should be buying the book.

You've got to sell 40 million copies. If someone picks up this book and whether they're starting a mentor relationship with someone or whether they've been mentoring for decades. They can really take each one of these roles and apply them at different times and in different situations and with different individuals to maximize the value that they deliver as the mentor.

SCOTT: Well, that's exactly right. I think these roles are optional. You're not going to play them all. There's not a particular sequence other than the first role and the last role. They’re kind of bookends. But otherwise, these are roles for you to become aware of. I wrote the book not to build mastery in people, but to build a heightened awareness.

Well, maybe I should now be the challenger. Maybe now is the right time for me to be the absorber. And extend and absorb more, known as the listener. You guys should be the flagger, or the connector, the closer. I think the validator is used with great judiciousness. You don't validate your mentee on everything they do, otherwise it's just pableness.

It doesn't make any sense or have any gravitas to it. It's to have an awareness of which of these 13 roles might work in the circumstance you're in based on where your particular mentee is in their own journey. At the end of the day, your mentor job is to simply help your mentee accomplish what they're trying to get done if they don't know what that is and it's your job to help them uncover it, discover it. Your job is not to live vicariously through them. It's I think the biggest watch out as a mentor is saying the phrase, well, if I were you, I would do this. No, you're not them. You never have been. You never will be. Don't have their fears, their passions, their joys, their traumas.

What you could say is, well, when I was faced with a similar set of circumstances, here's the criteria I reviewed, here's the decisions I made, here's how it worked or didn't work for me. Let's tease out, are there any learnings that that might apply to your situation, right? It's important that you like parenting.

Sometimes, the truth is, we live vicariously through our children. I do all the time, I admit it. We laugh about it. We joke about it with them. Same with mentor. It's important in mentoring that you don't try to undo your sins or fulfill your passions or for that matter, become the visionary, which is another role, it's a very dangerous role because when most people think about the visionary, you think of big, bold ideas and that's usually great as a leader.

But as a mentor, I think it's very important that you don't over vision role eight because you can crush your mentee with a vision of something you should do, which may not be a vision of what they should do. Be very thoughtful about when you're the visionary, creating a vision based on their skills and their dreams and their passions, not on yours. We confuse them, I think, frequently.

JASON: Hmm. I love that. Watch out. Don't try and live through your mentee. Don't try and fix your past sins or even try and get them to achieve what you secretly want to achieve. But for whatever reason …

SCOTT: I told you you were a great synthesizer. I told you that was your superpower. You proved me right.

JASON: I appreciate that. So, you mentioned that role one and role 13 are literally bookends to the different roles a mentor can play. So let's start with the revealer, you know, bringing out the best in the mentee.

What's some tips that you have for our listeners that to help them down this path of this role of the revealer?

SCOTT: This is the first role, the revealer. And in essence, I liken it to an archeologist or a paleontologist and that is your job is to help your mentee state or uncover or discover what it is they're trying to accomplish.

Some will have it top of mind. Some might say, well, I'm thinking of either being a chiropractor or a patent attorney. Okay. Those are different. So let's talk about how different those are, but that's your first job, right? Is to name the goal, help your mentee. Create an actionable goal from X to Y by when right from X to Y by when, but I think the more important insight in the opening chapter is that in order for you to be an effective mentee, you've got to know what it's like to be on the receiving end of you as mentor.

What's it like to be in a mentor mentee relationship with you? Heck, for that matter, what's it like to be led by you? Be married to you? To be parented by you? And so really the first chapter is mainly about building your self awareness. What's it like to be on the receiving end of feedback from you? Do you know how forceful you come across?

Does your passion present as frustration or anger? Does your personality that's maybe more shy or retiring, create a sensitivity or attentiveness in your mentee. This is an important skill set as a leader, as a human, but especially as a mentor to really know what is your style and has it been calibrated properly to make sure that your mentee is comfortable being uncomfortable.

SCOTT: Because not all, but most mentors are going to be in a position of influence, stature, education, power. That's a higher differential than that of their mentee, and that can be very intimidating. And you want to do everything possible to mitigate that so that your mentee doesn't try to become you. Because oftentimes mentees try to mirror a mentor.

Or that they're not trying to accomplish something that they think you'll be impressed by because that doesn't matter. What matters are they impressed by what they're doing.

JASON: Absolutely. And so then go to the other spectrum, the closer. What's the role of the, help us understand this role of the closer?

SCOTT: It's rule 13. The last for a reason, fairly inherent in the name. You know, this is an important triumph at the end, right, is to make sure that your mentor relationship comes to some conclusion, typically. Now, you may not want it to, but in most cases, a mentor relationship has a beginning and an end. It's usually organizationally led, not always, right?

I mean, I'm not walking around my neighborhood looking for mentors. Usually it's somebody in the company I work for, not always, but often. Could be your church or synagogue or mosque or country club or recreation center or entrepreneurial, you know, club or university. But usually there's a beginning and an end and it's the mentor's job, I think, to close it out, celebrate the successes, name, we started here.

We ended here. Notice I said we and not you because the mentor is always learning from the mentee as well. I'm often asked about reverse mentorship, and I always say the same thing. There's no such thing. It's called mentorship because your age is immaterial to whether or not you're mentoring or being mentored.

If you have some wisdom or expertise for a topic, you're a mentor. So the closer is really about naming what's happened, maybe talking about what didn't happen, calling out the growth in the relationship, maybe making light of or mentioning where there was some conflict and how you moved through it, or if there was some appreciation that needs to be said that hasn't yet.

And then setting some clear expectations on what happens next, if anything. I think typically in a mentor relationship, the mentor has to make certain that the mentee knows there are boundaries. Like that's one of the roles. The boundary setter is role number two. It's probably the most difficult of all the roles 'cause you have to move outside of your comfort zone and discuss sometimes undiscussables, but as the closer.

You also should say, so what's next, if anything, to make sure that your mentee doesn't misunderstand how they may or may not have access to you going forward. And that again, will change in each circumstance.

JASON: Yeah, I feel that we could spend days unpacking the wisdom that's in this book. I certainly appreciate the rawness to some of the advice that a mental mentee isn't a for generally isn't a forever relationship and that the reality is if it's working well, both parties get something out of the relationship because the mentor will learn from the mentee if they're open to it from the outset.

And it's not that the mentee needs to become the teacher. But just through what you're helping the mentor, the mentee with you. You learn things about yourself and if you're self aware, that is, and certainly can improve your skills as that mentor. So I'm sure based on this 20 odd minutes that we've had together already, that people are itching to know how they can follow your work and connect with you.

What's the best way for them to do that, Scott?

SCOTT: That's kind of you to ask. You can visit my website, scottjeffreymiller.com. Of course, connect to me on any of the many social platforms. I'm on them all. LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. You also can visit the website for this book. It's called greatmentorship.com. I have a 90 minute certification class that you can sign up for and become a certified mentor as well. I've thoroughly enjoyed the conversation today.

JASON: Well, thank you very much, Scott. Now, we'll have all the links to how people can stay in touch and follow your work, including a link to purchase a copy of your book in the show notes, or if you received this episode by email, it will be right there in your email.

But before I let you go, Scott, it would be remiss of me not to ask one final question, and I'm wondering, as I'm sure the audience is, what's the one thing that they should do as soon as they finish listening to this episode or watching it that will help them be a better mentor.

You know, Dr. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said many things. Many profound things. He passed about 10 years ago, but one that sticks with me is this concept of be a light, not a judge, be a model, not a critic. And so I would say to anyone who wants to become a mentor or you want to be a better leader or a better parent or spouse or a better role model is to become a model.

Write down all of the behaviors that you want to see in other people. If you want your mentee to be punctual, trustworthy, forgiving, kind, to make and keep commitments, to not gossip, then go become that. Model everything that you want to see in your friends, in your family, in your associates. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Write all those behaviors and qualities down and carry it around with you in your wallet. And you'll become a great inspiration for all of those around you. And people will start to behave like you behave.

JASON: Fantastic way to end the show. What great wisdom. If you haven't already, make sure you go and get a copy of Scott's latest book. It will absolutely add value to your day and help you become a better mentor. Thanks Scott, for being part of the show today.

SCOTT: Thanks again. My pleasure today.

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