Lollygagging and the scary mentor

Scare em . . . they’re kids . . . scare em!

“Crash” Davis from the movie Bull Durham

Bull Durham is one of the most entertaining and enduring films to ever come out of Hollywood in that there are many catch phrases from the movie that have entered the mainstream lexicon of our everyday lives because of their relevancy to our actual experiences.

One such example is the scene above in which after attempting to motivate his players to perform to their fullest potential through benevolent prodding and gentle cajoling without much success, the manager finally turns to the veteran on his team for advice.

Having been around the bases many, many times so to speak, the veteran tells the manger to simply “scare them!”

This got me to thinking about my experiences in coaching people in the business world, and the manner in which a mentor can best motivate those seeking their advice to achieve and be all they can be.

Being an effective mentor can of course take on many forms, ranging from being a supportive champion offering soulful advice, to kicking behinds – or in the case of the Bull Durham scene throwing bats into a shower, where a take no prisoner attitude propels positive action and accomplishment.

What is most important for mentors to remember is that not everyone responds the same way to receiving advice, and that every situation is indeed different.

As a result, adaptability should be the order of the day as opposed to adopting a set pattern or response as either a compassionate and patient guide or a scary “you better pull up your socks and get your act together” approach.  You have to look at each person on an individual basis.  Sometimes, we overlook the most obvious solution which would be to just ask the person which style motivates them into action. Either way, you can’t paint everyone with the same brush!

This being said, to which approach would you be most open and accepting?



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2 responses to “Lollygagging and the scary mentor”

  1. Beth says :

    I can’t help myself — I’m a product of my education — they’re kids — not their kids. Yikes — I realize the point is that different strokes for different folks is important when coaching, managing or mentoring — but I had a hard time getting past the misuse of the wrong their.

    There. I’ve gotten it off my chest. I feel much better. Thanks for tolerating this nitpicking!

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