Maximize Your Mentoring

In this episode, Traci Morrow joins Mark Cole to discuss John’s lesson on Maximizing Your Mentoring. John shares four questions to ask yourself if you want to improve your relationship with your mentors or the people you mentor.

Traci and Mark, who are both mentees of John Maxwell, share what they’ve gleaned from John’s method of mentoring, especially during difficult times. They discuss how staying true to your leadership values will help you lead through crisis and beyond it.

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the Maximize Your Mentoring Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Traci Morrow:      Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. This is Traci Morrow, and I am so excited and happy to be co-hosting with my dear friend, Mark Cole. Today, we are going to be hearing from John. Now this lesson was taken from a live video that John did on his Facebook page, and it's entitled Maximizing Your Mentoring. You are going to want to grab the notes, so put a pause on us right now and go to, where you can click on the “Bonus Resource” button to get that print out, those notes and go along with us. Now, here's Dr. John C. Maxwell!

John Maxwell:      Hey, John Maxwell, back with you. I've really looked forward to our weekly times where, especially, during the Coronavirus, I just kind of talk to you about what's happening to us and how do we respond. Especially, as leaders because we not only are responsible for ourselves, we're responsible for a lot of people. And I want to talk to you about how to maximize mentoring, and really, this comes out of a conversation that Mark Cole and I had together. You know, Mark is the CEO of the John Maxwell Enterprise, and Mark was sharing with me that during this crisis time that I'm mentoring him a little bit differently. And I thought, “Oh, that's kind of interesting!” And so, I kind of asked him, “Well, what do you mean by that?” He said, “Well, John, you're mentoring me a lot on perspective, because how we view things is how we do things.” And he said, “You're really helping me to see a bigger picture than what the crisis is.” Because remember, this crisis has a tendency to reduce the picture. It has a tendency for us to begin to go in word and say, “Oh my, it's happening to me. And it's probably the worst thing that's ever happened. And nobody's probably ever gone like this and gone through this before.” And so, Mark said, “John, you're just constantly keeping a big picture perspective during the crisis for me.” He said, “Secondly, you're just helping me with creativity.” And creativity is a fact that we've all had to change a business is not as usual. In fact, for some businesses, not period. So how do we get creative and what do we do when we can't do business as usual? So, he said, “You're helping me with the creativity.” And then, he said, “Thirdly, you're helping me balance realism and optimism.” And you know it, realism without optimism is so discouraging that we, instead of leading together we're going to have a wake together, and optimism without reality is pie in the sky and that's not even right for a leader to do that in the fact of you have to get people not only hope, but you also have to help them, and the hope is in the optimism, but the help is in the realism. And so, he said, “You're helping me with that balance there.” And then, he said, “What's probably biggest difference is you're less instructive in your mentoring right now, and you're just more available.” In other words, I'm just basically saying, “Mark this phone is—you call me at any time. Whatever comes up, I'm just here to help you.” And so, I almost call this lesson “Mentoring During a Crisis”, and then I thought, “You know what? That's a little too small. I've got to get a little bit bigger here.” We are mentoring right in a crisis. I’m mentoring you today in a crisis. But there's a bigger picture there that not only will help us today in the crisis, but it will help us tomorrow or when we're out of this. And so, I'm just kind of excited about this lesson. I just developed it for you, and I hope it adds value to you because there are four questions that you want to ask yourself to maximize mentoring in the relationship that you either have with people that you're mentoring, or the person that's mentoring you.

Here are the questions, number one: who mentors me? That's very important. It's not only what they say, but who says it. Now all four of these questions I'm going to come back and teach on. Number two: when do they mentor me? And the reason, obviously, that question is there is because timing is very important. And there are times when we're more receptive to mentoring than others. For example, during a crisis, we're much more receptive to what leaders have to say, when we're in trouble than what they have to say when we seem to be going along real well. Question number three is: how do they mentor me? I'm very excited about sharing this with you because I think this is meat in mentoring that very seldom any of us ever get. So, I went inside myself a lot on this and I just said, “Okay, how do I do it?” And intuitively, how do I share with you how to really mentor people to get a maximum return for that person that you're sharing with it? And then, question number four: how do I maximize the mentoring? How do I maximize the mentoring? If I’m mentoring you, how do I maximize the mentoring if you're mentoring me, in other words, after we're done, we're not done. And that's the thing I think so many people never realize in success. They think that, “Okay, I just finished that.” And they don't really appreciate nor value nor understand the return on what I would call “sustained thinking”. In other words, when everybody else has done thinking, if you'll stay with that thought a little bit longer, the odds are very high that you're going to get a better thought than the people that just kind of said, “Well, we're done.” Anyway, so those are the four questions and I think that this is going to be will be helpful. And so, thanks for being with me! And I hope you enjoy it, I hope you pass it on to others.

So, let's go to question number one: who mentors me? I want to give you some questions to ask in picking the person or making sure that the person who mentors you is the right person because, you see, there is the information that's given in mentoring. I mean, the knowledge that's passed on. But the reason that, who is very important is that there's also a spirit in mentoring. There's an attitude, there's a soul in mentoring that, really, has us to stop and say, “It's not only what I'm learning from this person.” In fact, to be honest with you, I think every person is my teacher and so whenever I'm with anyone, no matter who they are, no matter where I am, I'm always in a kind of a student mode because I know they have something that if I'm listening asking enough questions they are going to teach me. So that's for everybody, I mean, everybody can be a teacher to us. But when it really comes to somebody mentoring us that “who” question’s really an important question because there's the contagiousness of mentoring is more in the spirit of the person that mentors you than in the words that they give you. So, here are the questions, very simple, let's go! When you're picking somebody to mentor you, have they been successful? Okay, and just to be honest with you, I really don't have much desire to have somebody mentor me that hasn't excelled in the area that they're mentoring me in, because I want them to be better, farther, smarter than I am. By the question, have they been successful? Just put the word experience there, Okay? Because that's an experience question. I mean, that's somebody that has had a track record of success under their belt.

Question number two: are they right now successful? Now this is a little picky, but I think it needs to be mentioned because just like you put experienced by the first question, put relevance by this. If they're successful right now, there is a relevance that they have that they wouldn't have if they hadn’t been there and done that. “I been there and done that” is the experience side, been there and doing it is the relevant side. You got it.

Question number three: had they been tested, and have they passed? In other words, have they passed the crisis test? Because you really don't know if the principles and the values that you talk about, really have strength and power and stability until you've been tested with it. And by the way, beside that question you know, have they been tested and have they passed that test? Put the word wisdom, and the reason for that is wisdom comes out of crisis and what we've learned from it. Wisdom doesn't come out very seldom of the easy days we have, wisdom comes—it's forged out of that crisis that we go through, that through that, it's more than what we know it's what we experience, it's all put together. That's where you get wisdom.

Question number four: are they continually growing? I love this question. In fact, this is a big question for me on people that are mentoring me. I really want people to not only talk to me about what they have learned, I want them to talk to me about what they are learning. The difference is, when they tell me what they've learned, I get experience when they tell me what they're learning, I get passion. So, this is a passion question. I want to be mentored by a person who is doing it right now and they're growing right now. And there's something about the contagiousness of that in a mentoring role that is absent with a person that has grown but they stopped growing. In fact, I can still remember a very important mentor in my life, very important mentor. I can still remember the day where we sat down, and we were in a mentoring session and all of a sudden the realization it just hit me like a brick. It just, hitman. We're having this mentoring session and I look at this person that I will greatly love who has helped me in incredible ways, and I said to myself, “They've stopped growing. They're repeating themselves.” I was sad all afternoon, because I had just outgrown my mentor. I just never wanted to do that. I always wanted that person to be ahead of me, before me, bigger than me. So that's a great question, are they continually growing?

And the next one: are they emotionally grounded? I not only want somebody that has all the qualifications I've talked to, but I want somebody that's solid, and the reason I ask the question, are they emotionally grounded? Because I'm giving you one word about the questions. That words perspective, by the way, is because dysfunctional leaders and we're getting more dysfunction in leadership and in our culture all the time, all the time, dysfunctional leaders lead out of their issues instead of out of a good perspective. You show me a person that is emotionally challenged and dysfunctional and I'll show you a person who leads according to what their needs are, not according to what the big picture is. So, are they emotionally grounded?

Question number six: which one? One, two, three, four, five—yeah, six! question number six: Are they my sponsor? Now, I'm going to have to explain that one because there's a difference between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor’s pouring into my life and helping me, but a sponsor is doing more than pouring into my life and helping me. They're backing me up, they're in my corner, they fight my fights for me. The word sponsor is the word commitment. I've had a lot of mentors, I’ve had very few sponsors, but I've had a few. In fact, about a year and a half ago, Tom Philby Senior passed away, and he was a huge sponsor from the time I was 33, I mean, for about almost, not quite 40 years of my life he was my sponsor, which meant when I was a young leader, he carried weight for me, he paved the way for him. He was the John the Baptist, he fought for me when I wasn't there. He was always in my corner and he was more than a mentor, he was a sponsor. He basically said, “That's my boy. And you can't touch him and I'm going to protect him and I'm going to survey the man and I'm going to constantly look out for him and if he's with me, or he's not with me, doesn't matter, it’s my boy.” We're all fortunate if we can have a few sponsors in our life. I've been very blessed. I've had a few, not a lot, but boy, the few I've had made a big difference in my life.

The last question goes back to really, why I asked, who is mentoring me? And this question is huge, and that is: do they have a greatness that's bigger than their work? Now, you don't hear about this when we talk about mentoring. This is seldom ever discussed, but I'm telling you, it's absolutely essential. This is going back to, who mentors me? Most of the other questions I've asked, really are questions that we quite understand, but this one, that their greatness is bigger than their work. What I'm talking about—what word do use for that one? Their spirit? the persona maybe, but I think persona gets too wrapped up with charisma and I don't like that because that's not where we're going here. I think I can illustrate it maybe, better than even give you the right word. I had the privilege for about 12 years to be mentored by John Wooden. Life changing, life changing. If I had to list mentors, he would be at the top of the list. And he taught me incredible things. I just live everyday principles he taught me in leadership. I remember the first time when I left him after a mentoring session, and he was in a little condominium and we went down the elevator, or I went down the elevator, he stayed in his condo and I went through a little parking garage, and then the visitors parked out on the outside. And so I'm walking to my car, and I'm just about to open the door on my car and I just had this intuitive feeling to turn around and I turned around, and I looked up and on the little balcony, where Coach Wooden lived, he was standing there and he was watching me the whole time. And he was waiting for me to turn around. He didn't call my name out, he didn't even say anything. He was just standing there, he was watching a person that he had just spent four hours with. And I turned around and I looked up and I'll never forget he had that incredible smile of his and that wave. And I got in the car, and I said I was with a great teacher today. But I was with a greater man than I was a great teacher. Wow, that's huge. That's mentoring that changes life.

So okay, maximizing mentor, who mentors me? That's question number one, now when do they mentor me? Great question. If you were in my home office, ten feet from where I sit at my desk, there's a couple shelves of books, and those books are books that have marked my life. They are there on purpose because at some time in my life, I read them, they marked me, they changed me, they transformed me. These were life changing books for me, I mean, they're not a lot. I really haven't counted but I'm going to guess 25? and I've read 10,000 books, I’ve read a lot of books. But these were books that marked me, and every once while I’ll just go over and pull one out and sit down and look at it for a little bit and it's just a comforting feeling because they have been great friends of mine. Now, here's what I want you to say all those books over there that marked my life, there's one word that keeps all of them on the shelf together, and that word is timing. And here's what I want you to—I want to make sure we really catch this. I pick up those books now, and I read them, and in fact, sometimes I look, and I say, “Well, that wasn't that great of a book. I mean, it's a good book. But wow, that's over in the ‘Mark Me’ section.” But then I take myself back to when I read the book, and here's what, all those books have one thing in common: timing, timing. You see, I read that book, when that book spoke to right where I was in the timing of my journey. And so, it was a great book, maybe not because it was a great book. It was a great book, because the timing was right. That book was giving me what I needed for right now. That's why when we ask the question, when do they mentor us? That's a great question, because sometimes you could hear the mentor say the same words. But the timing wasn't quite right, so, they wouldn't have the same impact. You know, crisis the reason I'm talking about it now is we're in a crisis. I think this is a huge time to mentor people, because I think they're receptive to leadership. I think they're receptive to a crisis and crisis, what does it do? It moves people it changes people, it takes people out of their comfort zone. In fact, that's one of the reasons I told Mark, “I'm available to you, I'm just closer to the phone.” Why? Because he's leading in unchartered territory. The waves are moving on him, and so availability is huge. But timing is so key. In fact, that's why we're doing these lessons here. This is a timing time. We're all looking for answers, we're all looking as leaders for resources. I mean, the things I'm giving you, I'm assuming you're not only applying them to your life, but you're passing them on, that's why the John Maxwell Enterprise is making this available to you. It's a timing issue. When do they mentor? Here's what I do know, this could be a teaching in itself, I'm just going to give you the quote because I got to move on, “Most of the things we want, but we don't have them, we want them, we don't have them. Most of the things we want but don't have are just outside our comfort zone.” Trust me on that. And so, what does a crisis do? It moves us, and it sometimes moves us out of the comfort zone. That's one of the benefits of a crisis. If you're getting moved out of your comfort zone. If you have a good perspective about that, and you're willing to learn out of that comfort zone and you're willing to look for opportunity out of that comfort zone, there are some good things that happen. So, who mentors me? That's the contagiousness of the spirit of the person. When do they mentor me? timing is so important. What’s the statement? When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Okay, that’s just, you got it. You got it.

Question number three: how do they mentor me? In this part, I'm going to really talk about mentoring in a crisis, okay? This one's probably the most crisis related of the three questions. So how do I mentor people right now? Number one, they give me perspective. During a crisis time, what that mentor will do more than anything else is they'll help us continually see the whole picture. Because in a crisis, we see our picture and they constantly are expanding us because what do leaders? Leaders see more than others see, they see before others see, so, they see this whole big picture. It's what I did a few weeks ago, perhaps you're with me, we had over a million people with us. But it's what I did a few weeks ago when I talked about leading during a crisis and whether that one of the things I did is, I said a crisis is quite common. Now, I wasn't trying to undermine or underestimate the Coronavirus. I wasn't doing that all, but what I was trying to do is to help everybody understand that this isn't the first crisis, won't be the last crisis, it's not even the biggest crisis. It's just a crisis. But the tendency is for emotions to rule during a crisis, to where we think that what we're in right now is the worst thing that's ever happened, and it's never happened before and it's never been so bad and it's just not true. My good friend, Simon Sinek, we were texting back and forth the other day and he said, “John, listen to this.” And he sent me a great podcast! And basically, on it, he was talking to his team and one of the things he said is, he said to them, “These are not unprecedented times.” In other words, I want you to know Simon saying to his team, don't ever think that like, this is the biggest, worst thing that's ever happened and I happen to be living during it, and I'm right in the middle of it. You see, when we're in a crisis, the number one question people are asking right now is how do we get through this? You know, “My gosh, how long is it going to last? How am I going to get through it? Am I going to make it?” See, the question shouldn't be, how am I going to get through this? The question should be, how am I going to get better because of this? How am I going to improve when the crisis is over, do I come out better? Or, do I come out bitter? And, wow, that's a huge, huge issue. And so, I want to get perspective in the crisis. I want to make sure that we have reality, but we also have hope. Alan Mulally, a wonderful friend, was the CEO that turned Ford Motor Company around. I mean, it's an incredible story. I think it's called the book, The American Dream. I read it. So, it's a thick book, but it's an incredible story. And when they were bleeding billions of dollars, and Ford was in trouble, and there was a lot of emotion, and they were in a huge crisis. And Alan Mulally’s calming influence through all of this, I mean, every day they're checking to see where they are, and are they going backwards still? Or, are they starting to slow the tide down? And, and his phrase he continually used was, “It's okay. It's okay. We're going to make it. It’s okay. It's, okay.” Well, Alan Mulally was doing is he was just giving perspective, he was not only giving perspective, he was showing perspective in a crisis. So how do they mentor me? Well, the first thing they give me perspective.

Number two, they share out of their personal life. Now this one I just am passionate about, and I want to do a good job. I hope I do a good job for you. What I'm saying here is, when I talked about, they share out of their personal life, most mentoring is telling where, if I'm mentoring you, I sit down and you would maybe ask questions, and I’d tell you what I've learned and those type of things. And kind of telling us where you sit down, and I tell you what I think you need to know. Sharing, and we're talking about sharing out of our personal life. Sharing is where instead of you sit down, and I kind of tell you what I think you probably need to know. If I share with you, I say, “You know what? Here, here, here, sit right beside me. Sit right beside me, okay?” And I want you to sit beside me because I want you to experience what I experienced. I want you to feel what I feel. I want you to see what I see. I want you to watch me as we're in this crisis. It's the power of proximity to a great stance but sharing basically, is inclusive. It’s not, “I know something you don't know, I'm going to teach you.” Although, mentoring has that. No question about it. It's kind of like, “I'm going to let you on the inside. I'm going to let you see me.” It's what I tell communicators all the time, do you want in leaders, do you want fans or friends? If I want fans, I’m going to constantly make sure that my level of excellence is so far above yours, that you just can applaud me, but you can say, “Wow, that man is amazing, but I can never achieve what he achieves.” That's the kind of leader that wants fans. If I want friends, I'm got to walk slowly through the crowd. I'm going to have this sharing spirit. I'm going to basically say, “Come with me. You can see me, you can see me in my strengths, you can see me in my weaknesses, you can see me with my questions and doubts, you can see me when I'm strong, just here, sit beside me, sit beside me.” That's powerful mentoring, and in this crisis, that example that you show people is just going to be huge and really developing them well. So, when I have you sit beside me there are three things, I'm going to just make sure that you partake in this journey. One is the source of my strength. If you sit beside me, I want you to see me go to the source. Now, I’m going to have to stop here for a moment and just say, you know this already, but I really always try to keep fairness with all of my friends because I love everybody unconditionally, everybody unconditionally. People that don't have my viewpoints, people don't have my faith. It doesn't matter. You couldn't stop me from loving you if you tried, okay? I love you unconditionally, but I am a person of faith. So, if you were with me, I would take you to my source of strength. I would take you to the well that I go to where I draw the water. And for me, it's my faith. It's my relationship with God. Every day I'm reading Psalm 112, and the reason I'm reading it is because it is fantastic and I not only read it, but I pray it. Again, let me just say to you, you know, well, put your fingers in your ears if you don't want to hear this, but I'm only going to only be here for a moment, my name is John, you know you can trust me, I'm your friend. I mean, I’ve always have been your friend. But, when you read Scripture, it's wonderful, but when you pray scripture, you put yourself in it. And I'm just going to—just give me a moment, because in Psalm 112, and I'm not going to read all of it, I'm just going to read just a couple three verses. “When darkness overcomes me—" Now, see I'm praying this I put myself in the Scripture now. “When darkness overcomes me, light will come bursting in. I will be kind, merciful, generous, and fair as I conduct my business so that all goes well with me. I will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God's constant care for me will make a deep impression on all who see it, and I do not fear bad news nor live and dread of what may happen, for I have settled in my mind that God will take care of me. And that's why I'm not afraid, but I can calmly face my foes. I will give generously to those in need, my deeds will not be forgotten, and I shall have influence and honor.” I love that! “I have settled my mind that God will take care of me.” That's my source of strength. In fact, when I am with my beautiful friends that I dearly love, and they're not people of faith, sometimes I look at them and just say, “I just wish you had my faith. Not try to convert you, I just wish you had my faith.” Because that's where my strength is. That's where my peace, that's where my joy is. I mean, if you have something that helps you, you want it help others. And so anyway, I'm done. I'm done with that. I'm just saying to you that in mentoring in tough times, as they sit beside you and you're sharing, you got to let them know what your source is, and your source may not be God. It may not be Scripture. But, what's your source? Where do you go for strength? Because you have to have a source that anchors and stabilizes you so, you can do that for others. You cannot give what you do not have. You just can’t do it.

The second thing that I want to do when I mentor the person during a crisis is, I want to share with them what I'm experiencing. My emotions. I want to be raw with them. And that's why I want them beside me. See, if I teach them later, I may skip some of my negative emotions, because can I tell you for example with the Coronavirus? I was over in Israel when it started hitting the world and hitting the United States and my first emotion to this was anger. I was just mad. And the reason I was angry is because I thought there's a lot of emotional people that are leading and now the leaders are going to have to respond to a bunch of fearful people. Now, I'm not saying that's the right perspective, but it certainly is an emotional perspective and it was a negative with me because I was angry about it but if you're beside me, I'm going to tell you, I'm angry about this, I don't like it. And then I got really frustrated because as I got back and everything began to cancel, all of a sudden, the next two and a half months of my schedule was all messed up. And I mean, I lost all kinds of times when I could help people and add value to them. And, you know, one of my losses was I was supposed to go to the Vatican at the end of this month and Pope Francis had given me the invitation to speak with him on leadership and we were having a masterclass with the Pope and all that was gone. So, I was extremely frustrated, and I was disappointed. Okay? But I had positive emotions, too. I was invigorated. I mean, I don't mean this unkindly. But during a difficult time, the darkest time is when the leader goes, “Touchdown!” Hello! This is why I'm born. This is what I do. This is why—I was born for this. So, it's invigorating me, because it keeps me in my leadership zone all the time and I have creative emotions because I know there's an answer, so I'm looking for that answer. And I'm just, I'm grateful right now because I have forced rest time and it's helped me with my health and I have a book on Transformation Change Your World that I've needed to write and now I've got time to write it. So anyway, let them sit beside you and let them feel the emotions that you're going through. They need to see that, they need to see your good days, but they need to see your bad days. Remember, people don't want to perfect leader, they want an authentic leader. They'll connect with you. If you want to impress people talk about your success but if you want to impact people talk about your failures. Let them in the seat beside you, let them be close to you at this time. So, I want to share with you what my sources during difficult times, I'm going to share with you what I'm experiencing emotionally during these tough times. And the third thing I'm going to share with you is what I'm learning because there are tremendous lessons to be learned. And I'm working real hard every day saying, “Okay, what am I learning?” So, when somebody comes and says, you know, they talked to me about a failure in their life, I care for them, so, I listened to their failure, but honestly, as soon as they're done, telling about the mess up they've had in their life, the question I have for them is, “What did you learn?” Because the value of failure is us learning something that changes us. So, you know, I started putting some things down on my notes on what I'm learning. I don't have time to give all of them too, but let me just give a few of them. For example, a crisis will prioritize for us what we won't prioritize for ourselves. That's true. That this Coronavirus, has taken all the stuff that we've been doing, and it's just very quickly said, “Okay, now what's really important? What's really important?” I mean, whether it's going back to values and family or, whether it's going back to relationships we have in life. I mean, what's really important? A crisis just moves us around, and all those priorities, some of those things that we thought was so important, we realize it now that that wasn't that important. So, if we don't prioritize our life, then a crisis or something difficult has to come to kind of shuffle us around so we could look and say, “What's really important to me?” Another thing I'm learning is that uncertainty causes really, more stress than bad news. I give the analogy of going to the airport and wanting to catch the plane, hey, when we could go to the airport and get a plane. And so you get there and you get to the gate and you realize the planes late and you have maybe a connecting flight and so immediately, you ask yourself, “Can I still get on this delayed flight and make my connecting flight?” and so maybe the next 15 minutes, you're just kind of uncertain and your stress level goes up because you're not really sure this is going to take on time and everything's in the air, everything's uncertain, you just don't know. Well, let's say they all of a sudden come over the intercom, and they basically say, “Look, this plane now is going to start even later than we thought.” So, they give us a time, and the time they gave us we realized, “Oh, okay, that's horrible news. I'm not going to make that connecting flight.” But you know, the stress level goes down when you know you're not going to make the connecting flight. The bad news is less stress on you than not knowing what's going to happen. Because now that the bad news has happened, you say, “Okay, now I've got to make alternative plans. It's back into my control.” Uncertainty, what makes uncertainty so difficult for us is that it's out of our control. We can't do anything about it. Another lesson that I'm just loving and learning and teaching is that respect is gained on difficult ground. It really is. If you're a leader, and you lead well during this crisis for your people, can I tell you something? When you come out of that crisis, the respect they have for you will just heighten. With the highest authority is not positional authority, its moral authority, and moral authority is truly when you have been proven tested, and you have done extremely well after a while you have an authority that's beyond any kind of legal ramifications. You have an authority that people just say, “I follow that person, because they've been tested and I've watched them being tested.” If everything worthwhile is uphill, and it is and it looks like this during a crisis, it's like this. Well, let me tell you something, if you can get through that crisis and lead through that crisis and help people get through that crisis. You're going to gain respect. You're going to come out of this with more respect from the people that you lead and more and more authority than you've ever had. Another lesson, I'm just practicing every day is, okay, it's from the Scripture, but it doesn't matter, it applies to you too, and that is, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Boy, that’s a relevant word, isn't it? “Give thanks in all circumstances.” It doesn't say, “Give thanks because you're in a bad situation.” But just, “Give thanks because you're in it, in all circumstances, no matter where it is.” Because it's going to, with the right perspective, it's going to make you and I better. Boy, the lesson I’m learning right now is a crisis lets me know that if my living and my talking match, you know, I write books, I teach, and I get principles out but you know, when a crisis come, all those things I teach that just sound good that you write them down, they're getting tested now. I mean, are my values truly great values? It's going to be tested during the crisis. Are my principles and the truth that I teach and embrace, is it real truth? Wow! Well, there are other things I have here, but you know, times kind of getting away from me and so, it’s wow. Well, I’ll give you just one more. Now this is personal, I probably shouldn't give it to you because I need to have time to teach on it. I don't have time to teach it, but I'm going to just put it in as a thought for you. It's good to realize that we're not in control, and it's bad that a crisis has to remind us of that fact. What a crisis does is it humbles us. I know for a fact after 9/11 because literally, after 9/11 that next Saturday, I did a huge simulcast across America called “America Praise”, and I raised over six million dollars in five minutes for that situation and I put it through World Vision. I didn't put it through my non-profit, I wanted to have an arm's length from it. So, everybody would know I'm not getting anything out of it myself. And so, we raised six million dollars and literally, the next week, I'm in New York City being led by the leaders of New York City because of what we had done. So, I'm going through these areas, I'm seeing the smoldering and everything that's happening. And so, I'm watching, I'm observing it, and in that process is while I'm watching it and while I'm observing it, there was a sense of humility among those New Yorkers like I have never seen before in my life. And I'm just telling you, it's good for me, it's good for you. So, it's good for all of us to realize that we don't always have the answers. We're not quite as big as we think we are, we're not quite as important as we think we are, and that we need faith, and we need relationships; and that we are our brother's keeper. These are just things that center us and get us back to basic good values that are valuable.

Okay, let me just wrap this up with the last question, okay? We've asked three maximizing mentoring questions: Who mentors me? When do they mentor me? How do they mentor me? I hope this is really helpful to you. I'm enjoying teaching it, I hope it's applicable to where you are. Question number four is: how do I maximize the mentoring? And so, what I'm going to share with you is three things, and because of time, I don't really have a lot of time to get into this, maybe on another time I'll go deep in it. But I'm going to give you three words and if you'll remember these three words and practice them, you'll maximize every mentoring experience you have. The first word is preparation. The second word is reflection. And the third word is action. Preparation, all is well that begins well. You preparing before you meet the person that you're mentoring is going to make a huge difference in their lives. I remember the first time I had the opportunity to have a mentoring session with John Wooden, my question more than the other question was, “Will it be a good enough session that he will ask me to come back and do another session with him?” I read every book that he had written. I wrote down questions for him on a legal pad, five pages of questions. When I flew out for a two-hour breakfast at his favorite breakfast place we set across to each other in a booth, we had small talk for 10 to 15 minutes. He said, “John, do you have any questions?” I said, “I sure do, Coach.” I reached in my briefcase, I put my legal pad on the table in front of him. He saw the whole page was full of questions. He looked at me said, “Oh, my, you've come prepared. You've got a whole page of questions. Are those all for me?” I said, “Well, yes, they are. But those aren't all the questions.” He said. “What do you mean?” I turned the second page, it was full, the third page, it was full, fourth page, it was full, fifth page, it was full. I said “I have five pages. I've got a lot of questions. You're going to really be able to help me. I know we can't get through all of them. But can we get started?” He said, “Well, let's get started right now.” We got started right now, we left the breakfast table, went to his house by his invitation, and I left him at four o'clock that afternoon. And he looked at me said, “John, we're only through page one. You’ve got four pages. Could we meet again?” “We sure can.” Preparation. All is well that begins well. Reflection, all is well that ends well. I had five pages of questions, but the end of that day, I had eight pages of notes. Now what do I do? Within 24 hours I sit down, and I take those notes, and I begin to categorize those notes. Again, this is a whole teaching in itself. What do I need to apply? And then I put all the application stuff I need to apply that he taught me there. And, what do I need to change in my life? What did he say that I said, “Oops! Got to do a U-turn here. I was doing that wrong!” Or maybe I hadn't even started, I mean, maybe I need to change from not going to going, and so I put all the “C's”—the change things together. And then okay, what do I need to teach others? Okay, I put all the “T” things there. And so now, okay, these are my application, this is the things I change, these are things I teach, that's all reflection. Now you see, I've got a personal growth program, I'm going to take maybe, number one “A”, number one “C”, number one “T” and I'm going to practice that for a couple of weeks. And, and so now which brings me to the third word, action. You see, there's no transformation. There's no change without action. So, there you go. Those are the four questions. You got them! Now what you'll do with them is you'll increase them and make them better than I gave them to you. But I want you to go out and find somebody to mentor during this crisis or go sit at the feet of somebody that needs to mentor you, and think of these four questions and start maximizing your time with people. Why? Because you're important, and the more you maximize what you learn, the more you maximize how you can help other people. My name is John and I'm your friend. Love and blessings!

Traci Morrow:      Hey, everybody! It's Traci Morrow and back with Mark Cole. And what a message from John! First of all, I'm just so happy to be back with you, Mark.

Mark Cole:           Likewise, likewise!

Traci Morrow:      I love this! And it's crazy because the last time we were together well we're not really together we're across the country on Zoom, but when we were together last we were in Israel at a dinner and we both boarded planes and we came home to a life forever different.

Mark Cole:           It is, it is. You know, you think about so the last two times, let's even go back one more, boy, are our last chance on the podcast to be together, Traci, was exceptional. I get now to co-host with several different people. And just what the value you bring to the table, your competence, your understanding of leadership, period, but your understanding of John's level of leadership. Then we go to Israel because John gets some of his key partners to equip and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation which you're a board member of, and then we were in Israel and, boy, did we not wake up to a surprises we came back to the states?

Traci Morrow:      Wow! No kidding, no kidding. We came home and life was changed, and you know, I self-quarantine because we had been in Israel and by the Thursday, I came home on a Saturday and by Thursday, everything, we were on lockdown in California. And so, our kids, the teachers had a little foresight and they put them right into home school that first Monday. So boy, I was like, we were scrambling, as I'm sure everybody was scrambling, and life is different. And this message is so good because, I want to jump in because I just think so much of you! Been praying for you, thinking about your leadership and how that has changed. And we'll get into it in a little bit. But, you know, we came home, and our schedules were changed our travel was canceled, our events were canceled, our kids came home, our spouse or significant other if we have one, came home or a roommate came home and suddenly everything looked completely different, and we had a plan. You know? We had stuff that we were on track to do, and we were way off track. And so, what was that? I know what it was like in our family, it was a little bit of craziness. But what was that like for you as somebody who you're on the road all the time with John and you came home thinking you were heading off somewhere else with big events coming up! What did your family life look like as it kind of collided with the new norm?

Mark Cole:           Well, and I love how you set that up because isn't it true that when we go through something like this, it impacts every area of our life. I think about as you were talking about that when John was asked, “Hey, write a book on business ethics.” And he said, “I can't do that. There's no such thing as business ethics. There's only ethics, you either have them or you don't.” Well, you know what? In our world, especially the relational, holistic leaders that we want to be when one side of our world is impacted, we don't compartmentalize that and say, “Hey, that's business. Now, let me go home and let me be normal.” No, every area of our life, perhaps more so in this crisis than any others has been shaped. I mean, we all have been impacted. I know for a while you were separated from some of your kids. Now they're back and they're with you. And you got everybody around, but it's been different.

Traci Morrow:      Yeah, and especially we're sort of a sandwich generation, aren't we? I mean, when John was speaking, he said that you had talked to him and saying that mentoring is changing, and you're right. Everything is changing, but for the sandwich generation, meaning we have kids in the home, you have kids and grandkids in the home, and we have elderly parents, my parents are 80 they live up in, you know, in another state from me, and so we've had to really make sure that we can be together apart. And first and foremost, what I felt like is, as we are kind of navigating this new norm, we can't go to our parents and say, “What did you guys do, mom and dad, when the whole world shut down?” We're really navigating a brand-new norm and we're wanting to protect those who we love. And it's really hard, especially if you have a love language, if you know about that if you know the different love languages, but if it's physical touch, needing a hug and someone to touch you on the shoulder or hold your hand, it can be hard for people, we've had to get creative.

Mark Cole:           Yeah, you know, I love this lesson today on maximizing mentoring. One is John has mentored you and I both, but what I love about this, Traci, you always bring this out of me anytime that we talk and I love this about you, I love this, I love you because of this, but how have I maximized mentoring at home? I mean, this concept of okay, John's really given us some good stuff in this lesson today, it was powerful. How do I translate that at home? Because I've had more consecutive dinners with my family in this 15th year of mine and Stephanie's marriage than I've had, total in months, in a month at a time because we’re in it together. And so, every evening at dinner, I try to bring some kind of a component to pour into my family, to pour into my kids. I have a 13-year-old. Yes, I've got one of those, a 13-year-old, literally, she's—oh, let me tell you this! She's never been in a crisis, but she has all the answers. Let me tell you something!

Traci Morrow:      I love that girl!

Mark Cole:           Yes! I was telling Macy, my daughter, I said, “Macy, what are you taking down as notes from what you're learning from this crisis?” And then I told her about when the schoolteacher, Christa McAuliffe, was killed in the space shuttle explosion, or when I went through 9/11 exactly where I was. And I said, “Life's impact moments will forever mark you if you will pay attention to what you're learning right now. You will reference a time you lived through and that you led through for the rest of your life, if you'll take note here. So, what are you learning? What are you experiencing?” And it was just really cool, Traci, and you would appreciate this. We may to do a podcast on this total conversation that I had with Macy, but she really is articulating and even putting down the things that she's learning in this time that's going to carry her for the rest of her life.

Traci Morrow:      That is so good, and that's a lesson all in itself. I feel like as a mom of six kids with all of varying ages, our youngest is 14 and my oldest just turned 27, and we're really learning to navigate that as well, because thankfully, all my kids, my adult kids have been able to work from home still, and so learning to navigate that, and then the conversations—we've had so many more dinner conversations where we gather around and play games, or they, you know, singing karaoke or whatever, but they're also looking at this is historical. Your kids, I tell them your kids and their kids will learn about this in history books this time, and you're living in this time and so make sure that you're recording and taking it in and again, extracting those lessons and so these questions that John has about maximizing mentoring, this is a perfect time to talk about it. Honestly, you were the first person that I thought of even with all the world leaders who are making decisions because I'm close with you, and because I'm so involved in your world and Maxwell Enterprises, and what you're doing and how your leadership has continued to explode and expand and get creative. I would really love to dive in! The first one he talked about is who mentors me? Which who, you know, the auto automatic assumption will be John's your mentor, but who is mentoring you? Is it somebody besides John? Or, how, kind of, moves right into questions two and three, so let's kind of move them sort of fluidly. But who is mentoring you right now?

Mark Cole:           Yeah, you know, what's fun, Traci, is you and I, which again, there's a mutual respect. Thanks for everything you just said, but there's a true mutual respect because you're leading a massive amount of people during this very difficult time. There's tons of people that look to you for your leadership. So, I love this question on who you and I were talking before we even went into recording and by the way, we're Zooming, so, we're social distancing, like 3,000 miles between us, so, Traci, you're safe today. But we talked about before we started recording about this question, and you know, Traci, who's mentoring me today is the same people who's been mentoring me for a year, two years, five years, and let me tell you why that's important to me. I feel like that I have some people in my life and John would be the primary example here. John is absolutely the key mentor in my life. John has known me and has invested in me and has poured into me as a mentor for many years, as has Chris Hodges, several other people that I could list here on this podcast that some of you would know. I have found it very important in times of crisis, to keep my mentors consistent. And let me tell you why, they know me pre-crisis, they know me pre-whatever little bit of success I'm experiencing today. I want the mentors that saw potential in me before potential needed to be demonstrated to be mentoring me right now. I want them to remind me of who they saw me to be so I can live up to that, especially, in crisis. When John was doing this lesson, and let me pause right here for a minute, Traci, because those of you listening to the podcast, we decided to make the current podcast, an application of a talk John's been doing every week. So, every Monday he comes on with a program a series called Leadership When It Matters Most, and he does it Facebook Live on his on his Facebook page, he does it live stream on his, he does it, we do it on YouTube, and it's all there in archive, by the way, so those of you that would love to hear the talk John just did on the podcast and visually see him doing it from his home office, go to Now, Traci, what you and I are bringing to this podcast is we're now giving applications. So back to your question, who is mentoring me is the same person that was mentoring me pre-crisis, because what I want to see is how they will mentor me through the crisis to be the person they saw me to be at the very beginning. And I'm excited because John, just in fact, one more quick little story, sorry! We've got a time set, I've got busy people, Jake's on this phone, our producer, Jason, Jason Brooks is on this phone who does all of our content, he's over our content. Traci, you're a busy individual, and I make you guys wait 10 minutes for me. So, I get on the phone all apologetic and finally, I do what I always do and say, “Hey, it's not my fault. It's John Maxwell's fault.” That's always the get out of jail free card, right? It's John Maxwell's fault. And really it was because he called me literally an hour before our podcast recording time, and he began to mentor me, and it took him 70 minutes to get the point across. Because he really was going deep with me on some things, because when he's mentoring me, is more of when I need it, not on his schedule. Can I break that down for just a moment, Traci?

Traci Morrow:      Yeah, please do!

Mark Cole:           So, John talked about in this lesson, when do they mentor me? These people that mentored me and I'm going to use a lot of John in this conversation today. John has been mentoring me, really, intentionally for 10 years ever since I've become the CEO of his companies, and it's always been on his schedule. When I was on the plane with him, I would be ready [INAUDIBLE]. When he had time on his schedule, I would insert myself for some mentoring. I tell you, not only with me, but I'm watching John Maxwell with several world class leaders. He doesn't mentor me based on his schedule anymore, he mentors me based on my need right now. He's adapted, and I don't understand how he does it, he's busier than any of us, perhaps combined. But he does it from a sense of availability, not a place of dependability. I can depend on a certain time a week to have with John. No, no, no, when I need John, he drops everything and makes himself available to me.

Traci Morrow:      So, did you set that up right away? So, I'm thinking, you know, the world changes and you are adjusting everything in life, home life, work life, mentorship. Was that something that you put into place right away? And how have you noticed the changes? Does it translate the same? It's different from when you're on a plane with John, in a hotel room, you know, meeting room with John, or behind the scenes of a big thing that's happening. I've seen John mentor you, the little pockets, where it fit in around life with you bent over and John kind of talking into your ear. It's a really beautiful picture of mentorship, actually. So, did you set that up right away? And then how has that been as far as relating to not being right there with him? Has that been a process for you of getting used to it? Or, was it just like you just had to?

Mark Cole:           We just had to, it's very difficult. I am as, you know, I am a words of affirmation, speaking of the love language, and then touch. I love hugging. I love letting people know with a handshake. I don't know what we're going to do post all of this. I really don't. I’m as perplexed about that as I am mentoring, to be honest with you. What do I do the next time I see you, Traci? Do I elbow bump you? Do I wave from afar? I don't know, I'm so confused, the perplexities of life, the perplexities of life! But it's tough, it's tough being mentored by a guy that I, literally, have traveled with him for 10 years, 80% of the time he's on the road, and I just haven't seen him, and this is the longest I've ever gone without seeing John in the last 10 years. So how do we do that? And to answer that question, it is very difficult. To go to your first question, how did we set that up? It really happened organically. In fact, when John was teaching today, he was very kind to me about how we work through some of the business decisions we've been working through over the last six weeks. It really started in Israel on the trip right before you came, and I started wrestling through some massive business decisions that nobody in our ecosystem had ever made. Again, remember, all of us that are leading, here's the exciting thing, I can give you a bunch of unexciting things, but let me give you an exciting thing. We're leading where no woman, no man has ever led before. Does that fire you up?

Traci Morrow:      Yes, it does!

Mark Cole:           It's exhilarating! Leading in territory that nobody has built a playbook for.

Traci Morrow:      And there's no competition. There's no comparison. It's you just like chopping through unchartered territory. I think that is just so exciting!

Mark Cole:           John was mentoring—okay, so we're off point a minute, but it's a good one. I'll come back your question, I promise you, because it's a great question. John was just telling me pre us recording this…so, John did the lesson on Monday, You and I are debriefing it on Tuesday, this morning, Tuesday, John's on a phone with a world class leader. If I called his name you would all know. And he told this leader, he was just telling me this just a few minutes ago. He said he's given 10 characteristics of leading beyond crisis. Now. He's going to do that in about two weeks, and you guys will get the content. I'm not giving it today because John will never call me and give me content early again. But here was one of them, I'll let you in on an insight when he teaches this you can say, “That Mark Cole's taught John Maxwell something.” But he says that at no other time that he has ever been experiencing, that this is a time of testing. Now he says we say that all the time, “You need to test, test, test, fail, re-enter.” He said, “I've been teaching testing forever.” He said, “But I was telling this leader…” He said, “Test everything because here's the great thing, now is the best time to test because you can get away with everything. You can get away with trying new things that will unsettle all of the regulars. You can try new things that totally disrupt your entire stream of influence. And by the way, you can fail like crazy and blame it on the Coronavirus.” He said, “Test everything, test everything!” And so back to your point, it really is this thing, this exciting time that we're living in, we get to test, we get to lead where no person has been before. Now, going back to how did John and I get to this place to where he's not a dependable mentor anymore. Now he is dependable, but that's not the key characteristic. Available is the key characteristic of his mentoring to me. And that started organically morphing in Israel, the first trip, right before you came, I was making these big decisions, it was extremely difficult, and John began to take a step back and say, “Mark, this is your decision. I will support you in whatever decision.” And he would finish every conversation and I was, as he said in his lesson today, teaching, I was checking in with him every day. At the end of every time, he'd say, “You know what? I'm available if you need me. I'm available if you need me.” And there was something, Traci, very securing about that for me. I'm making big decisions. I'm making decisions that have never been made by anyone else before in the history. But I have a mentor with the wisdom, the stature, and the influence of John Maxwell saying, “Mark, I'm available to you.”

Traci Morrow:      You know, as you're saying that, first of all, that's something a gift we can give to the people that we mentor is saying, “I'm available.” Because they're making new decisions, as well. But I was thinking when John listed those seven, you know, does my mentor do these seven things? And then the one word that encapsulated all experience, and relevance, and wisdom, passion, perspective, commitment, and spirit. I feel like this is the time, this is the proving ground for those seven. Because no matter what you've done in the past as a leader, no matter what I've done in the past, how I behave and lead in these times, how you behave and lead, how all of our podcast listeners behave and lead on these seven issues will be defined in this Coronavirus season. So even if you were like, “You know what, I haven't really been tested. And to know if I pass to know about the wisdom…” Well, we are in the middle of the biggest test of our lives in our leadership, and how we behave is whether or not we pass and how we lead. And so, I love that because in line with, you know, feel the freedom to test and fail, it's sometimes hard as a leader to spark action. In the regular flow of life, people don't like change, people like status quo, even if it's not serving them to the best it can be. And you stepped into leading all these companies for the Maxwell Enterprises at such a time where suddenly, you were maybe going to make some things your own. Maybe? Were you? I mean, I'd love to hear from you about this, but it's sometimes, while it might have been hard pre-Coronavirus, and I don't mean to play lightly, it is serious and we know that we have loved ones who have been sick with it. You know, I’ve got customers who have been sick with it, people who have passed away, I know in the John Maxwell group, but it's hard to spark action when it's regularly just going with the flow and like, “Oh, I'm stepping into something and now we're going to do something different.” But this was almost like a line. Did you feel that? A line where this crisis lights up creativity, and people are more open to new. Are you sensing that as you're kind of grabbing those reins and getting up on the horse like you talked about last week with Jason. Do you feel that?

Mark Cole:           I do, and for those of you that are new podcasts today, January the sixth, we changed organizational structures because John gave us a mandate 18 months ago, we want to be one company to really position ourselves to go to the next level of influence in the world. We felt like we need to be one company and so that put a lot of expectation on me, organizational structures, ownership, stock, all that kind of stuff in the for-profit space. So anyway, that was January 6th! I mean, six weeks later…the cliff, we fell off a cliff. Now, going back to the passion that I had in the last question, yeah, it really has been—I can't remember a time I have been more invigorated. Now, John challenged, and you'll hear him talk about this because this is current mentoring that he did with me less than an hour ago. John challenged that leaders need to quit trying to pretend they know what the future is going to look like, because let's all be honest, we don't. So now that we got that out of the way and quit kidding yourself that you're going to get a jump on that. Now, why don't you start trying to be the future rather than build the future? Come on. I mean, I'm serious. John, that is exactly right! So back to your question, you know, Traci? We will win. And that, you said, “How do we, as leaders, know when do we don't?” I'll tell you how, if we stay true to our values. I told John and I'll let him tell, again, some of these stories, or some of these examples, but I told John, the influence that he's had in the last four weeks is 25% greater than the entire influence he had last year total. Why? Because of creativity. Why? Because we lead with our values, and when you lead with your values, business, opportunity will always follow. When you lead with business and opportunity, your values don't always follow, sometimes you leave them at the door to seize and sense the opportunity. But if you'll lead with your value, business will always follow you if you're true to yourself. So, here's the answer, you want to win in your leadership to lead beyond crisis not just through crisis. Stay true to yourself; stay true to your values, because you'll win.

Traci Morrow:      That's exactly right. I can remember, who was it? I can't remember who said it, it was one of the Live 2 Leads, and they said, I think it was Dan Cathy from chick fil a, he said, “Marry the mission, date the method.” And the mission of what we do as leaders is the same, stays the same, but our methods change. And so, I want to say one thing, you said, no matter what people are saying, nobody knows where we're going. But truthfully, we never did know! Even when it was status quo, when it was normal, and when it was pre-Corona, we didn't know the future. But I feel like the complacency we tend to as people, as a people group, want things comfortable, like things the same, we settle in and it's sometimes hard to inspire change and growth and movement, when it's the same and the beauty, if you can call it that, the beauty that has come out of this is that crisis stirs the pot for creativity. And so, I'm curious what your plans looked like before we left Israel, before Corona hit. And have your methods changed? Or you know, your mission is all—you're married to that, it's for life, your mission. We know your heart. We know your leadership. But your methods, how have they changed since you've since Corona?

Mark Cole:           Yeah, so the answer is yes, they have changed. And I love, boy, I don't want anybody of our listeners to miss what you just said. We thought we knew the future, or we thought we had vision before. We really didn't. I think for us, our methods have changed. Let me let me say this. This is absolutely fresh, Traci, you wouldn't have heard this. Jason would, Jason Brooks who's on the Zoom call with us, I just challenged our leadership team to get a 75-day business plan, 75-day. There was no magic in it. It was April 15th, on my leadership call, and I wanted to give them through June 30th to get a business plan. By the way, here was the only alternative, get a business plan, you know you can succeed at. That's all I want. The government tried to help us here in the U.S., some of you are from other countries, and my heart goes out to you, not only for the health crisis, but the financial crisis. But we've been really fortunate as small businesses, for our government to try to help us keep people employed. So, I've got a little bit of a runway, and I said, “Guys, just give me a plan, you know you will hit.” Now, here's why I did that, Traci, 75 days, two of our values, I'm showing you on Zoom, if you were all podcast video, you would see a little card I'm holding up showing Traci on Zoom. It has our purpose, our vision, and our values. That's what this is of the John Maxwell Enterprise. Two of our values, I could give you all seven of them, but two of them are pertinent to this conversation. One of our values is growth, growth increases capacity, and one of our values is performance, exceeding expectations sets us apart from others. Now, there's no magic in those two values, but they mean everything to us. They mean everything. They’re our values, they’re John Maxwell's values, therefore, they’re our company’s values, and therefore, they’re our leadership team’s values. And guess what? Our current business plan, going back to your question, it has everything changed. Our current business plan is comparative business plans compared to last month, last year, the last five years, guess what? We're failing when we do comparative analysis to six months ago. There is no growth. There is no exceeding expectations when we're monitoring our current business performance based on budget for this year or based on how we did last year. Therefore, every time we meet, guess what? We're in violation of two of our values. And I said, “Stop it. From now on, stop it. Don't tell me how we did compared to last month, last year. I don't want to hear it anymore.” Because that's not where we are anymore. It's not a good metric. So for us to establish a new normal, I want to hear what you know that you know, you can do over the next 75 days, we will establish a new normal, and we will start growing and exceeding expectations from that. That was extremely important to me and it was kind of like our leadership team went, “Ah! Thank you!” Because yes, everything has changed, Traci.

Traci Morrow:      Boy has it! And so I guess going to the “how”, you know, John talked about bringing people alongside and let them sit next to you, and while we can't physically sit next to you, you do lead and mentor us on this podcast, and so maybe, you know, give a little bit of the insight of Mark Cole and what you're experiencing through this. What area, you know, John talked about it's good to realize that I'm not in control. That's a hard one to swallow for a lot of us in leadership. Crisis does humble us as John said but, Mark, what do you feel, maybe, personally and professionally? Because it's easy to go to the professionally but let's dig into you as the man because I love your heart and I, every time I hear it, I just even more so when you let it all down and you just talk freely. I love that. So, if you could just pull the curtain back a little bit and share with us professionally and personally, most importantly, perhaps, what do you feel is being most tested in your leadership right now?

Mark Cole:           Traci, I love this question because even today I'm trying to reconcile. And John made a point in this teaching two days ago, that people that are mentoring, they share out of their personal life, and that's what you're asking. And by the way, it's your fault if I get too candid right here, okay? Everybody gets blamed, Traci, because she made me with a candid question, and here I go.

Traci Morrow:      Also, you're welcome friends because it’s—

Mark Cole:           —Yes, yes, yes. So just this morning, Traci, I realized an idiosyncrasy and an inconsistency in the way I led with some neighbors, and the way I was leading my family. I was making significant cuts that would impact my family, my kids, my grandkids, and yet, I was pretending to be abundant with my neighbors, and that was from a good place. I'm going to give myself a hall pass, right? I'm going to confess and then say I'm okay, right? But I gave myself a hall pass that I was doing the good for some other people and my family was sacrificing for others. But yet, my family who is in this and sacrificing with me so that we can be effective and be leaders that are above reproach, I found myself convicted on my drive to the office this morning going, “Mark, you can't be inconsistent by being so thoughtful of others to the world professionally, and being so inconsiderate with the cuts and changes that are impacting my family.” And I have to tell you, just this morning, I got really convicted that I was treating certain people better than other certain people, and in this particular case, my family was getting the short end of the stick.

Traci Morrow:      Mmm, well, thank you for being real on that. I think most people kind of like what John talked about, it's our values are the things that matter to us or they come into alignment and we got a hold them up, and we got to look at ourselves and see the areas where we can improve in this and what I love about your transparency is number one, like John said, we are our brother's keeper. So, it's not a bad thing to do something kind for your neighbors or for your coworkers or for even a local business. And, your family sacrifices for that that's something beautiful about that. And I think our kids, our grandkids, even we, learn something by sacrificing for ourselves to do something loving and kind for someone else, but it sure is a motive check. That's the internal heart of the leader that we all get to check ourselves that I think is part of the kind of, the jagged edges of the beauty of this crisis.

Mark Cole:           It is, Traci, and here's the tension, I don't have a problem sacrificing for others, my family, I wish they were with me right now where I could celebrate them in this moment because I feel the emotion of it. I don't have a problem with that. We've done it. We've calculated it together. My jagged edge this morning was, I was making decisions for them rather than with them. And I think the mentoring lesson right here is we all want to be in this together, families, business teams, the world. Have you ever seen a time where the globe came together and did things at this magnitude for the health and the welfare of each other? I'm proud of our world! But we want to do it together, Traci, we want to do it together and my jagged edge this morning, the tension that I felt, but I got really emotional on the drive into the office this morning, and I had to call Stephanie and apologize, by the way, which that was probably harder than the other thing. But I was not doing it with my family, I was doing it for my family, I was making the decision for my family rather than with my family. And I think we've got to be really intentional to stay in the boat with each other in times of crisis.

Traci Morrow:      I completely agree. I completely agree because staying all in each other's spaces, we're more apt to have our humaneness rub against one another's humaneness. And while there's awesome time for us to be together, for those of us who live in a place with other people, it's also more opportunity for us to have some real conversations and boy, do we have time to have those real conversations since we're all at home all day. But let's just close out with maximizing mentoring, is there anything you wanted to add on that? John kind of summarized it with the three words preparation, reflection, and action. Do you want to kind of expand on maximizing as we close out?

Mark Cole:           Yeah, and I'll spend all of my time and then, Traci, I would love to—thanks for co-hosting with me today!

Traci Morrow:      Oh, thank you for having me!

Mark Cole:           Yeah, there's a question that came out from one of our listeners in Qatar that I want to close out with today. But just in closing, I will tell you this, that action is the word. I was on the phone earlier today with a group of people and I just said, “Hey, don't let this crisis happen to you and you to remain paralyzed. Find something that the leader in you can do, can act on, so that you come out stronger on the other side, if we wait for things to clear up before we start leading, we're going to be behind everyone else. You've got to be leading now.” And that's where John was talking about when you get a tidbit, when you get something, you need to act and put that into action. And that's my challenge today, Traci, and again, so thanks, Traci, for joining us! Let me give you a couple things. By the way, if you did not get a chance to get the notes for today's podcast, go to, and you'll be able to get the worksheet. One of our friends, I'm not going to call her name, Traci, because when I hear the question, you'll know why I didn't answer because if I give her name, then she might be identified and then I promise, I promise you, Podcast Listener, I'm trying to protect the name and face of the innocent here. Here's her question, “Based on my experience on asking others for opinions, one of our leaders always keeps asking the opinions of others when handling situations. Most of the time, they use the feedback as the solution to the situation. However, he does this so often that the team has begun to believe that he seems to know less about leading than initially thought.” By the way, that's why I protected your name! “So how do we know when asking the opinions of others is too much and too often?” Here's what I would tell you, my dear friend, my podcast listener, when you ask people for advice or input, and you need that to know what to do, you probably are letting others lead. But when you are asking for that opinion to validate what you already feel, or to make sure you're not missing something, you're probably still leading. I love asking the question, “What am I missing?” In fact, John Maxwell asked me that question all the time. “What am I missing?” But I don't want to ever be seen as needing other people's direction before I, as the leader, directs. So, before I give a conclusion or before I cast vision or direction. So, here's what I would challenge you to do, one is we're talking about someone else, I wish they were asking the question because I could help them. But for you, our podcast listener, I would challenge you that give this person a chance to express their opinion before giving yours. Make sure that they really are exercising their leadership position, their leadership responsibility, and then give your input because hopefully, what you're experiencing here is they're wanting to be a collaborative leader, and they're letting the will and the passion of the people lead, rather than it's somebody that doesn't know how to lead. Thanks for asking that question! All of you others that want to submit a question, we love getting your questions, your feedback about what we can do to better serve you. Thanks for listening today. Traci, thank you! What a great day! Yes, and go maximize your mentoring as John has taught us today. Have a great day, everyone.

2 thoughts on “Maximize Your Mentoring”

  1. I have been loving your podcasts and have been listening to them recently. I was wondering if there was a specific podcast you have done (or could do) regarding how to give feedback appropriately and have tough conversations with someone (maybe someone who is under performing and has areas they need to improve, or they are engaging in inappropriate behavior)..I know they say the sandwich method is not appropriate to use…I’m wondering what your take is on this and how to go about giving feedback to someone constructively…and also when you meet with someone if there is a preferred body language or place that you sit..I’ve heard sitting across from people isn’t the best choice as it feels like a power position, but sitting along side of them shows them working together more..also curious what you think about having an open door policy vs. setting specific office hours…I know you talk about making yourself available but how do you balance that with getting your work done? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Lauren! So glad you’re enjoying the podcast! While we don’t have an episode specifically on engaging with inappropriate behavior, we recently released a series called “Don’t Just Communicate, Connect,” which you may find helpful. We also have a series called “Building Relationships: Working Together Means Winning Together” that may be of help to you. We’ll get this question on the podcast so that Mark Cole can give you his thoughts as well. Thanks for the question!

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