The tin man

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about mentoring. I used to think it was simply about modeling certain behaviors, but I’ve learned along the way that there is a lot more to it than that. In fact, a big part of mentoring happens before the guiding, directing, and modeling actually start. Selecting the right people makes a huge difference, even to the point that it really should be considered part of the mentoring process.

Simply put, some people have it and some people don’t.

I’m not saying that there are people who are not worth the time and training. Not at all. What I am saying is that not everyone is suited for every role. You see, developing people isn’t about making them into something they’re not. It’s about identifying their natural abilities and building those into real strengths, improving and refining them. It’s like the line from the song Tin Man by America:

Oz never did give nothin’ to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have.

If you want to develop talent in your workforce, in your organization, or even within your children, you need to spend a lot of time getting to know where their strengths lie. Really, it comes down to getting to know them. Only then can you help them reach their potential, and isn’t that what mentoring is all about?

You can’t make something from nothing.

Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
You gotta have somethin’
If you wanna be with me
(Billy Preston, Nothing from Nothing)

One thought on “The tin man

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  1. Well said Tammy but if I may, I will add a few comeents without the colorful musical references which were very germain to your point..

    As a person who eagerly mentors those who have the desire to grow professionally I have discoved a couple of things in my journey.

    1) There are those who give lip service to their desire but are not willing to make the effort to change.

    2) There are those who really listen but simply lack the capacity to go beyond their capabilities………your tin man reference.

    3) Then there are the gems that have both the desire and capacity to grow. These are the poeple that, without reservation, you invest every effort within you to help make them the best they can be.

    That is when the ultimate joy a mentor can experience is acheived………almost!

    On occasion, I have been embarrassed by being slapped in the face by my long standing philosphy of not judging the book by the cover when I found that I had. What I mean is there will always be a few you encounter that hunger for the growth but are not willing to display that hunger in the environment you are mutually in at the moment. Above all,l my greatest joy in mentoring people has been when that shy person contacted me afterwards and wanted further instruction. Those kind of moments are true gifts from someone that should never make you not almost go to your knees in humility because of the trust that person is placing in you.

    Bottom line, never judge the book by the cover. As a mentor there are always opportunities to give even though you may not recognize them at the moment. Hmmmm……if you don’t recognize it at the moment and are later contacted are you not the one being mentored in a sense?

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