Become the Elder Lemon: How Mentoring Works

It's a Miracle! Older People also get Breakthrough Ideas

It’s a Miracle! Older People also have Breakthrough Ideas

When you have a guitar, even people who don’t like you will ask you to parties; it’s like a Willie Wonka Golden Ticket. On that exact basis, I was recently asked to a ‘do’ in Raheny.  I didn’t know many of the people there, but a lorry load of alcohol soon sorted that out (“Let the minutes of this meeting show that the EU red wine lake has been depleted”).

Finishing School: Mid way through the night, the hostess was trying to distribute food. I was helping out and encouraging her partner to do the same. One of the women at the party observing all this, suggested that I take up a completely new business – training single men – a sort of Finishing School for Bachelors. Not anything to do with sex of course. Linda is contemplating installing a strobe light in our house to make it look like I’m moving! The instructions would be more along the lines of being a perfect husband. Do you think there’s a market for that? Because, on a more serious note, I think there’s definitely a market for this type of instruction in organisations.

Mary Robinson: I’ve just finished reading Mary Robinson’s autobiography Everybody Matters. Most of you will be familiar with the story of her rise to fame from lawyer to Irish President to Human Rights High Commissioner with the United Nations. In more recent times she was appointed as an Elder, a group of former politicians and high profile individuals who play the role of international ambassadors, helping to ease tensions in the world’s trouble spots. In the same way that the woman at the party was suggesting (tongue-in-cheek) that I ‘teach’ the younger males, Mary Robinson and her co-elders are able to pass on their wisdom to emerging leaders. And that’s a deadly serious business.

Organization Level: At the organisation level, mentors play a very similar role. They are older (and hopefully wiser) and know how to navigate structures and politics. They can be an ‘unpaid’ resource helping younger members of the ‘tribe’ learn how to be successful and grow. And avoid some of the obvious traps which young managers are susceptible to (do I really need to spell this out?). While this structure has been used throughout history in almost every society, very few organisations (a) understand the concept of mentoring or (b) deploy this in a practical way. For sure, some organisations use external coaches (about 30% of my own work is in coaching), but mentoring is a different concept, one that is well worth exploring. Nothing comes for ‘free’ and it has to be set up and managed professionally. But where it’s done well, my experience is that it  adds real value and it’s hugely cost effective.

Something in this for your organisation?  Worth exploring.

Paul Mooney

PS Lighter Moment: STUDENT WHO OBTAINED 0% ON AN EXAM. Sean O’Connell, who sent this to me, said he would have given him 100% for his wit!

Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?

His last battle

Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?  

At the bottom of the page

Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?


Q4. What is the main reason for divorce?


Q5. What looks like half an apple?

The other half

Q6. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?


Q7. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ?

No problem, he sleeps at night.

Q8. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?

You’ll never find an elephant that has only one hand.

Q9. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?  

No time at all, the wall is already  built.

Q10. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?

Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

PPS Lighter Moment (continued): Played golf with a guy last week and he had a terrible round. He lost about 6 golf balls and made a ton of mistakes. In the car park, changing his shoes and socks, he was feeling dejected. One of our playing partners said to him:

“Do you mind if I suggest something?”

“No, not at all. Go ahead” (he was happy to get any tips to improve his game)

“Why don’t you go to a pro-shop and get about 2 inches cut off each club”

“That’s a thought. Would shorter clubs help me to play better?”

“No. But it would make it easier to get them into the Wheelie Bin”

Not sure that it helped his mood – but it cheered the rest of us up no end.

Golf for Beginners

2 More Minutes before your week goes Nuts? This is a set up in a USA coffee shop that’s really funny.  Go on, you know you want to watch it!

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About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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