Fourth, you have to hold people accountable. Good mentoring doesn’t start by hugging, but by listening, observing, and then challenging. We generally hug too quickly and challenge too late. We should first challenge and then hug when they do it or at least attempt to do it even if they fail and want to try again. The question is what are you trying to produce and what does the person need? Often, we let our own emotional vacuums color relationships with people we are trying to mentor. I’m not afraid to say to a young guy, "Hey man, you gotta work on this" or "That ain’t gonna cut it" or "Why do you think you’re like that?" or "Wow, that’s incredible!" To do that, you have to critique yourself with your mentors and others. An example, I recently mailed a form that I’ve used for several years that allows church members, leaders, family, and friends to critique everything from my "performance" to my character.
"Good mentoring doesn't start by hugging..." Whoa. "We generally hug too quickly and challenge too late." I've been learning this. My thought was that the mentoring relationship needed to be more personal to be effective. The problem has been this hasn't been true. And then when the need for the challenge comes, I'm not sure it doesn't cause the person more pain than if you weren't so close. I'm not sure. But I am sure that 2007 is going to bring more challenges from me than hugs. But I'm sure there is a balance.
It seems like many of the best people ask for critique. Ouch. I'm sure Bob is careful about who he allows to critique. I wonder if it is anonymous.