I was in my first year of being in a foreign country.
I was in a dream job for a 20-something, training manager for a Swiss multinational.
I was privileged to work with some of the top practitioners in the world of executive leadership development.
I was in awe of one of the practitioners I worked with who was a master at something called ‘Behaviour Analysis’. At least a decade ahead of the data mining and the big-data boom, he was using data to give managers concrete feedback on the way they communicated, which was often very surprising and extremely insightful for the recipients.
From the first time I met Pete Francis, I had meaningful conversations. Pete is for me an embodiment of ‘active listening’. He was unassuming, centered, down to earth and genuinely interested in what I had to say. He asked me what my goals were, what motivated me to do more, what exposure I needed to achieve my objectives, what challenges I was facing. And he gave me the gift of undivided attention.
I realize only today that it was the first time someone, who was not my family, had taken such a keen interest in my future.
Steve Jobs said that we can only connect the dots in our life looking backwards. I realized only much later that Pete was the first mentor I ever had, though we never labelled that relationship.
Today as I launch ‘THRIVE : Mentoring for success’, I wish to express my gratitude to Pete and numerous other women and men who have helped me grow, both as mentors and mentees.
As human beings we are always at the frontier between what is known and what is not known. The act of turning any part of the unknown into the known, to make us what we are is where a mentor supports us. As poet Robert Frost said ‚ ‘a mentor is not a teacher, but an awakener’.
The most rewarding mentees I have worked with are humble, they pay extreme attention to themselves, to life, to their ‘next step’, which they may succeed more or less at, but from which they always learn and grow.
Today, with my wonderful team, I am honoured to catalyze a dozen of these transformational mentoring relationships. Let the magic begin…