Many of you will recall Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager series from the 1980s and 1990s. Blanchard has written many books since then, some of which have been updated and re-released. Claire Diaz-Ortiz has also written seven books, and has enjoyed a career with Twitter as well as being a public speaker and blogger. Blanchard and Diaz-Ortiz have wedded their talents to focus on the value of mentoring relationships in their new book, One Minute Mentoring.
A mentoring relationship is typically between two individuals who are usually, though not always, in a similar field of work. This relationship serves to help people achieve their goals, and can help with accelerated career development and the avoidance of pitfalls that might otherwise occur. It can help to get through particularly thorny problems, and to evaluate whether a change is in order or if a new perspective or skill is needed. The authors contrast mentoring with coaching, and emphasize that unlike coaching, mentoring is not about how to do a particular job.
One important aspect of mentoring that is often overlooked is the value that the mentor gets from the relationship. It is not just a one-way value proposition. In fact, when people serve as a mentor, they often begin to reflect more on their own career path and gain new perspectives on problems they may be facing. They may begin to question their own tactics, such as the ways they manage staff and how their behavior might be interpreted. Being a mentor can also rejuvenate a veteran employee who may be looking for a way to freshen or liven up their work without making a job change.
The authors share a valuable story about a fictional younger employee in a sales position. He is not advancing in his work as quickly as he did in the beginning, and he wonders why. As he discusses his stagnation with family members and friends, he is naturally led to the idea of having a mentor. And yes, there is a happy ending.
One Minute Mentoring has some of the same characteristics that made the One Minute Manager series successful. It is an “easy” read, meaning it is written is common language and with simple, straightforward statements. No philosophy, just clear direction. At 130 pages, the book is short. It can be read in an evening, although one may choose to read it more slowly, or re-read it to gain better understanding. Chapters end with “One Minute Insights,” or summaries which emphasize the key points from each chapter.
This book takes readers through the finer points of what can be gained from a mentoring relationship, including finding the right mentor, goal-setting, defining the relationship, networking, sharing, communication, reviewing, adjusting, and more.
In the latter part of the book, the focus shifts to becoming a mentor and creating a mentor program in one’s own work setting. For logistical reasons, the authors advises readers to start by working with the human relations department.
This book could be good for an employee in virtually any career, but especially for those who are not as satisfied in their work as they want to be. A mentor relationship can help people find the missing pieces to get more satisfaction out of their current job, or to decide that a job change makes sense for them. It could also be good for those nearing retirement but losing enthusiasm. Or for those who are newer to the job or career, and looking for some experienced guidance.
It is easy to like One Minute Mentoring.
One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work with a Mentor—And Why You’ll Benefit from Being One
Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz
William Morrow / Harper Collins
Hardcover, 130 pages