Have a question or comment? Connect with me at Julie.shipman@jwsgroupllc.com

Prince was more than a musical genius. He was a mentor.

I’m from Minnesota and I never saw Prince perform live. Not once. While it is hard to reconcile missing out on such an incredible musical talent, we all benefit from his legacy of mentorship. He was a mentor to so many up-and-coming musicians. His music meant something to so many, but what about the words he wrote for others, doors he opened for aspiring musicians and the expertise he shared that gave those musicians something more? That “something extra” that made them successful and enriched the music industry.

It got me thinking about mentorship and why it is such an important gift. There’s a dearth of information written on how mentorship can skyrocket your career |business |social status, etc. And it can do that. But are there other ways to look at it? If you are the mentor, what’s in it for you? Perhaps money, if it’s a professional coaching relationship or maybe an ego boost, if it’s a program for the high potential employees through your company. But what if it’s just pure generosity of time and knowledge? The type of generosity that comes from an emotionally mature manager. Those people don’t mentor just because they can, but because they want to make their craft, and the people in it, better. They are the managers who not only lead their teams, but also develop them. The best manager I worked for, Kirk Friedman, was that kind of manager. I am a better career coach and HR professional because I worked for Kirk. He was a natural at mentoring and did it without ever asking for anything in return. That’s rare. I’d like to believe that’s true of Prince, too (royalties for his written songs notwithstanding).

Are you managing a team that could benefit from your expertise? Do you have the ability to literally alter the course of someone’s professional career, like Kirk did for mine? If you do have the ability to mentor, are you mentoring now? If you’re not, why not?

There is a national organization: The National Mentoring Partnership, that can provide you twith he tools to become that great mentor you know you can be. Here’s the link:


If you are local to the Minneapolis area there is an excellent mentorship company called Menttium. Find them at: https://www.menttium.com/

Think about what you can offer to others (and your profession) and then use those skills to mentor.

Bottom line:

Truly great leaders are knowledgeable because the people that work for them seek them out for advice, feedback, celebrating wins, sharing the details of what’s important to them and striving toward the same goals. Great leaders know that the world is constantly in motion and mentorship keeps them fresh and relevant, but most important it keeps them grounded and (hopefully) fulfilled.