Category Archives: Mentorship

Deals with issues on mentorship

redefinition phase

Redefinition phase

The final phase is often marked by the mentoring relationship becoming more like a peer friendship. Just like Paul and Barnabas. Do not keep looking down on your protégé when he has matured. Transform the relationship. Even our sons can be treated as peers when they have matured and proved themselves. Failure to redefine the relationship may destroy it as the nurtured champion feels suffocated. Give the young lion space! Otherwise his roar will forever be overshadowed by the master’s. The Master mentor, Jesus Christ, having raised the apostles, gave them the charge and gave them space to exercise what they learnt while he disappeared back to heaven. In his departing message he called them friends and brothers.

International church planter, Henry Madava, born and raised in Zimbabwe and now based in Kiev, Ukraine was raised and nurtured in Tom Deuschle’s church. Despite Pastor Tom not having known and recognised the young champion, the nurturing influence was there none the less. But the modest pastor accepts the fiery church planter back into his home church not as a son and junior but raises a platform for him as a peer. That is an example of redefining the mentoring relationship. A lot of pastors and organisational leaders fail at this point.

Like I stated before if the separation phase is handled properly the relationship will be transformed and redefined. If however the separation phase is handled poorly, the relationship will be destroyed. It is easy to destroy your legacy and life’s work by failing on the release well. Remember that your protégés  are the missiles that you are sending into the next generation, they are an extension of your influence. Give them space to exercise their gifting along side you or separate from you without destroying the relationship.

Some mentors fail to realise that the redefinition phase may entail a separation from the organisation without disrupting the relationship.

Cultivation Phase

Cultivation phase

This phase can last several years as the mentoring partner develops competences as a result of career and psychosocial support from the mentor. The mentor feels proud of the help he has been able to give to the emerging leader’s personal and professional development.

The mentoring functions peak as learning accrues to both mentor and protégé. The champion gains valuable knowledge from the mentor while the mentor gains loyalty and support, as well as a sense of well-being from being able to pass on knowledge to the next generation. It is important at this stage for mentors to realise that a mentoring relationship is a platform for learning and therefore the mentor should not view himself as the sole repository of knowledge and wisdom. Mentors need to be open to learn from their charges. Information and learning flows in both directions in a mentoring relationship. Jack Welch introduced the concept of reverse mentoring when he requested senior GE executives to be mentored by young technological savvy managers and learn the ropes of technology.

In the following section I describe four ways of developing self-efficacy –(a belief that I can cause my dreams to come to pass) These are all influenced by the mentor. A wise mentor knows how to use these different ways to create mentoring interventions depending on the need and situation at hand. These are all useful within the cultivation phase of mentorship.

a) Mastery Experiences

I know that I have what it takes to win because I have been through some experiences in the past where I put in sustained effort and won, despite significant challenges. My successes build a strong belief in my efficacy while failures undermine it. The challenges you conquer and master build your self-esteem and confidence to do greater things. David on facing Goliath, relied on his past mastery experiences and said, “I have mastered the lion. I have mastered the bear. The God who helped me master these will help me master you Goliath”. The things you have conquered in life give you confidence to take on more challenges. Those mastery experiences give tenacity and confidence to go for more. But if you have been defeated, you are afraid to take on more challenges.  Once beaten, twice shy – they say.

This is where the mentor comes in. A mentor says, “I want this person to win. I want to build his self-efficacy. I will give him small challenges. As he wins those small challenges his ego rises, his self esteem improves.” The mentor then ups the stakes – expanding them a little bit further step by step. In other words I don’t allow them to go and attack Goliath without having a few wins under their belt. I am strategically helping them to win one battle at a time and it builds their confidence and self-efficacy.

Cynthia is a dental therapist in our practice. Her first job was as dental hygienist in an Orthodontic Practice. She moved away from clinical procedures she is supposed to perform and for ten years worked as a hygienist. But dental hygienists do not have much work in Zimbabwe. She was no longer employable as a dental therapist because she had lost her clinical skills. At a personal level she had also lost her confidence to handle clinical procedures. So when I offered her a job as a therapist she was scared due to low self-efficacy. She had not practiced as a therapist since graduation – she had forgotten how to do it. Then I offered her work as a hygienist, which she accepted. Gradually I gave her some clinical work thus stretching her. Initially I set her up to win by giving her simple cases which she handled easily. Each small win increased her mastery experiences until she was confident. Now I can leave the practice under her care. We increased her mastery experiences and now she has the confidence to do more challenging things. As a mentor you increase the success rate of your mentoring partner on minor things. It builds her self-esteem and self-efficacy through mastery experiences and she goes for more. You can also assist her handle challenging complex tasks, one bite at a time to increase the likelihood of success and hence increase self-efficacy.

b) Observational Learning

I have seen others who are like me persist in their efforts and win, therefore I say to myself, “If they could do it, so can I”. Basically it means that competent mentors transmit knowledge, skills and strategies for managing the demands that are placed on the protégé by life’s challenges. Observational learning simply means, “I am observing somebody who is competent as they role model what they want me to do”. As I observe them I notice they are human like me. I learn from them and say to myself if someone who is as human as I am can do it then I can do it also.  The Bible says “for Elijah was a man of like passions as we are”. What the Bible means is that if this man who is as human as yourself could do it, so can you.  When you hear a testimony you say he is just human like me and he achieved it and so can I.  That’s observational learning.

Seeing people like yourself succeed by sustained effort raises your belief in your own ability to succeed – that’s why you need to associate with go-getters. Observational learning implies that the mentor allows the protégé to learn from the mentor’s experiences. Deliberately include your protégé in some of your challenging tasks and let them see you win. They will learn from your successes, which builds their sense of self-efficacy. Mentors should also expose their charges to biographies of successful people who serve as sources for vicarious learning.

My banker friend and hero, Jeff Mzwimbi stood against a massive challenge when the government illegally took over his bank, Royal Bank and amalgamated it into ZABG[1]. Many other bankers faced with similar threats quit the country for fear of a selectively partial legal system. But Jeff challenged the government in court and persevered after so much persecution. I believe that his ability to withstand the bullying tactics of the ruling authorities was rooted in a sense of self-efficacy which he developed when he worked with Strive Masiyiwa, founding Group CEO of Econet -the giant Zimbabwean based telecommunications network company. Masiiwa fought a four year legal battle against government for the licensing of his telecommunications company. Through vicarious learning Mzwimbi said if Masiyiwa, a man of like passions like me, can withstand these bullying tactics, so can I. It is my firm belief that Jeff’s resolve to fight for his dream came from his association with Strive. That is the power of observational learning to build self-efficacy. It can therefore be said that Strive nurtured Jeff into a persevering champion that would fight for his dream. Because of that determination now five years later Jeff and his team have been assured the return of their assets and they are ready to relaunch Royal Bank.

c) Social Persuasion.

When someone who has credibility in my eyes tells me that he believes that I can make it. This raises my belief that I have what it takes to succeed. This is the power of the affirming words of role models, coaches and parents. A mentor can affirm his protégé so as to build his self-image and self-efficacy. When a credible mentor says to you “I know you can do it”, it gives you confidence.

The reason you are reading this book is that when Dr John Stanko[2] heard me present a seminar on this topic, he challenged me to publish it as a book. He persuaded me that it was world class. You can imagine the impact the affirmation of a respected author like him had on my self-efficacy. I was thinking, “If Dr. John believes that it’s publishable then I can do it.” That affirmation encouraged me to persevere as I worked through the writing and publishing process. That is the power of social persuasion. And the affirmation did not have to be completely true. After all it is a matter of perception. The confidence and affirmation of a credible mentor builds your self-efficacy.

I had an employee who constantly made silly mistakes.  One day she performed well on a complicated treatment. I sat down and wrote her a note that said, “I appreciate and like you because you do an excellent job – like you did on this patient”. She was chuffed. She went around showing everybody and telling them, “I did not think he recognizes my effort. I thought I was useless”. From that day her attitude to work and her performance improved dramatically because I affirmed her on what she did well.

Many times as bosses we spend our time giving negative feed back, criticizing, and talking about the bad things they do until people come to a point where they think “I never do any thing right”. Then they quit trying. But you must deliberately look at the good things that a person does and affirm them on that. When you do that you build their sense of self worth and enhance their willingness to extend themselves on your behalf.

One of the most powerful demonstrations of social persuasion in a mentoring relationship happened to my friend Matt Wazara recently. As Matt was completing his specialization course in surgery, his pastor’s wife was diagnosed with a condition that required complex surgery in RSA[3]. He accompanied them down to Cape Town. His pastor and his wife then made a special request to the RSA specialists to allow Matt to assist in the surgical procedure. His mentor trusted him with his wife’s life. This was a powerful vote of confidence in their protégé and a powerful booster of self-efficacy for Matt. Ordinarily he would not have been allowed to assist in cases outside Zimbabwe without a special license. Chances are he would never have had an opportunity to assist these highly qualified surgeons in a highly complex treatment. After a successful surgical operation, the RSA surgeons were so impressed by Dr Wazara that they asked him to assist in the next surgical procedure which was an open heart surgery. Matt was elated. This is a once in a lifetime operation for any surgery student. In this one act his mentor had affirmed him as well as strategically positioned him for a stretch in his career. No doubt Matt went into that theatre thinking, if my mentor thinks I can do it – then I sure can. This big hearted gesture of affirmation and social persuasion by his mentor re-defined Matt as a surgeon. His career is unlikely to ever be the same again. In fact the experiences he had will be a reference point in his pursuit of reforming healthcare delivery systems in Zimbabwe and beyond.

d) My physical or emotional state influences my perceived self-efficacy. Therefore by reducing stress and improving my physical state, I increase my self-efficacy. Mentors through offering a shoulder to cry on and assisting their protégés during crisis, release the stress and emotional baggage they carry thereby increasing their self-efficacy. Well-known author and motivational lecturer, Milton Kamwendo recently lost Esther, his lovely wife, unexpectedly. It was indeed a difficult time for him. At the graveside his mentor Doug Mamvura gave a moving speech in honour of Esther’s home-going. Doug not only stood with Milton during those dark hours but also covered the gap in Milton’s weekly Sunday Mail column to give a powerful eulogy for Esther as well as positively affirm Milton. No doubt those words and actions of affirmation from Milton’s mentor reduced the stress while increasing his self-efficacy. I have no doubt that Milton is a stronger man for it. What a mentor!

[1] ZABG- Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group – was formed on the basis of the Troubled Banking Act allegedly to salvage so-called “troubled banks”

[2] Dr Stanko is the founder of PurposeQuest International

[3] RSA- Republic of South Africa

Case for Mentorship

Mentoring is a developmental process that enables the mentor to increase his influence beyond his own geographical and generational location. It enables the creation of a lasting legacy. It increases the mentor’s footprint. “Source: Nurturing Champions”

Many leaders resent the time required to mentor people because they feel that mentorship only benefits the protege. This is one sided and erroneous view of mentorship. Mentors increase their influence (- and therefore their leadership reach) by mentoring others. A mentor shapes the value system, thought process and world view of his protege. In this way the mentor is able to influence -(and since leadership can be defined as influence) – people who are beyond his geographical reach. For example I mentored a young man who is now ministering in Australia – since he still cherishes the values that I taught him, I am influencing people in Australia without ever getting there. Therefore mentorship extends my leadership reach and influence past my current location.

One of my mentors has gone on to be with the Lord, but because my decision making process is still shaped by his influence, it follows that his leadership has transcended his generational reach. The people I mentor will be influenced by my mentor though they have never met him. Mentorship helps the mentor pass on his values to the next generation.

Mentorship uses a principle of leverage to increase and multiply a leader’s leadership influence. It helps mentors perpetuate their legacies by touching and influencing the next generation’s influencers. I deliberately and intentionally choose to mentor others in order to increase my influence.

In satellite technology the area covered by a satellite’s reach is called its footprint. In mentorship the extent of your influence — what others may call your circle of influence – is the extent of your leadership footprint. Is your footprint limited to your physical reach? If so you can increase it through mentorship.

One of my mentors is Prof Don Mitchell who supervised my doctoral studies with Rushmore Online University. We have never met but his influence is evident in my life. Prof Mitchell has impacted so many people whom he has never met. His footprint is quite large.

The benefits of mentorship to the protege are well known. They are also detailed in my book Nurturing Champions.

I therefore argue that mentorship benefits both the mentor and protege.

defining mentorship

I define mentorship as a dynamic relational experience of trust that enables a mature person to nurture, train and empower another person to grow into his destiny by sharing God-given resources. Source: Nurturing Champions.

The critical aspects are that mentors release their God given resources e.g. their time,  occasionally their finances, wisdom and network of relationships to facilitate another person’s dream. In other words mentorship is not cheap labour whereby the mentor uses the protege (or mentee) for the fulfilment of the mentor’s dream. Mentorship is the other-person focused.

Mentorship involves nurturing and empowering the other person. It stands to reason therefore that true mentorship will result in an empowered protege who is not dependent on the mentors but who can think and express his/her own opinion confidently. A well mentored person should be able to move on past the mentoring relationship on his own and tackle life alone. He does not have to be eternally dependent on the mentor. As a matter of fact the relationship can transition from being mentor-protege to being peers and colleagues on an equal status.

Mentorship is a dynamic relationship which does not have set a formula but is dependent on the parties involved, their personalities and time and resource constraints. It follows that a mentor does not relate to all his/her proteges in the same way. Each mentoring relationship is tailored to suit the individuals involved.

The mentoring relationship is an experience for both the mentor and mentee. It is a relational issue with all the underlying dynamics to relationships requiring consideration. It cannot be a transactional experience where the protege seeks to get what he wants with no obligation to a relationship.

It is a relationship based on trust. Trust and confidentiality are critical for a beneficial mentoring relationship. Neither the mentor nor the protege should abuse information shared in confidence. Trust is earned and therefore this takes time.The strength of the relationship enables the training and empowerment of the protege.

Mentorship allows both the mentor and protege to grow as they learn from each other. It is a developmental process. Mentorship in the new economy does not include the “download” syndrome where the mentor is the source of all wisdom who downloads to an empty head of a protege which is ready to be filled. But mentorship is a an interactive learning and growth process for both mentor and protege. The mentor then serves as chief learner in the process.

By the word mature person in our definition we are not referring to age but to experience in the sphere of mentorship. In other words a younger person who is more experienced can mentor an older person. For example my 12year old daughter Faith, introduced me to and mentored me concerning the workings of Facebook as a social networking tool.

Pursue mentoring relationships for growth and impact.

Hello world!

Nurturing Champions Blog is a place where Rapha Trust and its founder Dr T. A. Makoni will seek to hasten champions along the way by nurturing and empowering them. Welcome to the training ground of champions.

A young cub though it has all the potential to become the King of the Jungle is vulnerable when newly born, it therefore needs to be nurtured and protected until it is well groomed and well trained to go tackle the jungles alone.

Nurturing Champion Blog is a place for champions to be recognized, trained and nurtured to fulfill their God given dream and pursue their destiny. Its a place for the release of potential. Its the place to learn to roar. Its a place of watering your dreams to fruition.

I encourage you to engage in dialogue as we pursue the call and destiny of God upon our lives.

Check out our recent books: Nurturing Champions – a manual on mentorship and Entrepreneurship On Trial – a manual for entrepreneurs in the developing world from