I'm grateful for the fact that I got the chance to present my ideas on mentoring to the Sailors who work in my command in February as part of the CPO 365 program at our command. As you might expect, I presented mentoring in its proper context, which was in a secularized position as it relates to the Navy career. Since the Navy requires all junior Sailors to be mentored, the Sailors gathered to listen to my mini-seminar were quite versed in the details of mentoring. This made for a lot of conversation and takeaways.
I presented a lot of information on how the Navy wants mentorship to work, how it does work, and then I presented two types of mentoring in the Navy.
1. Paperwork mentoring. In paperwork mentoring, the idea is to fulfill the Navy's requirement for junior personnel to be mentored without actually doing the work. The Mentor and the Protégé sign a contract that is worthless and never meet. Neither person knows the other outside of random meetings, and no career advice is ever really given.
2. Mentoring. Mentoring means that the junior person is giving the senior member the permission to enter into his/her life and make suggestions for change, provide guidance for career decisions, and helps with personal issues when possible.
As you might guess, my goal was for my Sailors to enter into real mentoring relationships with senior personnel. My other goal is for my people to become the mentors needed for future generations of Sailors. I probably spent as much or more time on what they should strive to be as a mentor as I did on what mentoring was in the Navy. You have to be someone who has something that others need. Be successful, and then be approachable so that others will need you. It's really that simple. The aspect of success comes from being mentored, and the approachable aspect comes from wanting to mentor.
In all, I enjoyed the 23 Sailors in attendance. I think both the senior folks in the room and the junior personnel learned a lot. I believe my command is headed in the right direction, and I'm once again grateful to be where I am.