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Managers, Mentors, and a Lot More


Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith have just introduced another gem into the leadership development world. Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning is now available everywhere books are sold. It’s a rich resource, filled with wisdom, perspective, and examples drawn from their impressive careers in the field.

But while its focus is on mentoring, the book offers insights and information for anyone interested in learning, informal development, or engagement… in the workplace and well beyond.

The authors’ emphasis on conversation in particular resonates for me… with themes that are near and dear to my heart!

“Dialogues are interpersonal crucibles for blending facts, figures, and feelings to concoct acumen and understanding.”

Dialogue has tremendous power beyond the words that are shared. It communicates the value of the other person and your investment in him or her. It provides the space for hopes, dreams, and vulnerabilities to be expressed. It breathes energy into intentions. And it provides a springboard for change.

“Listening, done well, is complete and sincere absorption.”

Listening is an under-the-radar skill that enriches and turbo-charges every interaction. Being able to bring absolute focus to another through absorbed listening is a gift. And it offers the opportunity for deep reflection and development.

“Quality questions have a multiplier effect on learning.”

Questions are the currency of conversation in general and of development in particular….questions that cause people to step back, look inward and outward, consider strengths and challenges, explore possibilities and incite action. Mentors and others need nothing more than the right questions to instigate learning and growth.

“Great mentors are not only curious; they are excited by the opportunity to stimulate other people’s curiosity.”

Curiosity is a ‘gateway’ competency that enriches nearly any other competency required in business. That’s the conclusion we came to in a recent article I co-authored with Beverly Kaye. The spirit of inquisitiveness creates greater engagement on the part of the listener and the speaker… and under the right circumstances, it can become positively contagious.

Dialogue that’s characterized by committed listening, intentional questions, and curiosity can propel those around you far in the direction of their goals and dreams… whether you’re a mentor, manager, mom, friend, or colleague. As a result, Managers as Mentors is a book with broad appeal and relevance to anyone interested in helping others grow.


  1. Well said Julie, I am a fan of Goldsmith, havent read this one yet, but Mojo and What Got You Here, Wont Get You There, I consider leadership coaching standards.

    “Questions are the currency of conversation” so true! One exception to consider is that “Dialogue that’s characterized by committed listening, intentional questions, and curiosity….”, if its NOT characterized by these characteristics, it’s not dialogue! Best(i.e.most useful)book/ training I’ve seen on dialogue is Crucial Conversations, Vital Smarts. For transparency- I do facilitate that training here in Thailand. Thanks Julie

    • Thanks for your comment, Jack. And I’m glad that you reached out on LinkedIn…. fun to see our common threads.

      I agree. Crucial Conversations is a terrific book and program. I have lots of clients who use it and see great results. I’ll bet that facilitating it is rewarding… and fun!

      I look forward to our paths crossing online!

  2. Julie,
    It was so tempting for me to read this book.. it can sure change/improve interpersonal skills..

    • I think you would really like it… lots of great strategies and techniques!


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