From Mentor to Mindguide

Both profitable experts and talented upstarts claim to see unlimited potential in shared wisdom. Yet in most current mentoring programs, seasoned gurus advise clever cronies to operate much like themselves, in spite of rapidly changing workplace horizons.

From Mentor to Mindguide

Few would disagree that it’s time to shift tutoring approaches to reflect more balanced and reciprocal coaching.  Guidance based more on brainpower potential, and experience from differences than merely on age or seniority.

Newly coined term, Mindguiding, best defines that innovative process. In 10 brainpowered tools mindguides set a mutual stage for clever results for their teams.

New neuro-discoveries change the roles of mentors from sage-on-the-stage mentality into more of a mindguide to the side, who comes to teams in learning or discovery roles. Just as mindguides see their role less as lecturer or talker, they also listen with their brain for new opportunities for those they support.

1. Focus on the person’s learning preferences and interests:  According to researcher Dr. Michael Phillips, a neuroradiologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, brain scans showed that men listen to language which is located in the left brain, for instance, while women use both sides, including the right brain’s more creative capabilities. Dr. Robyn McMaster points out that women or men are both better listeners – when they focus in novel ways, on others’ interests.

#1Brainpowered tool: Vary communications – seek out people who differ from youso that novelty becomes part of what you hear. New research about novelty’s power in the brain shows how original ideas offer positive experiences to those who take advantage by hearing more.

2. Technology changes how people learn: Digital sound bites shift topics frequently,  and allow for specific searches on multiple topics. These new learning practices also rewire brains to catch brief bits of significant information, rather than remain focused for long periods on any one detail.

#2 Brainpowered tool: Sketch diagrams to link abstract or boring ideas onto something already known or experienced. New ideas make more sense to you when mindguides hook complex concepts onto familiar or concrete experiences. Links and bridges let folks advance from even difficult or boring information in ways that make more sense.

3. New digital imaging devices prove that listening changes the brain when acted upon. Imaging such as PET, fMRI, and magnetoencephalography (MEG) generate interactive images to show the anatomy of the brain. They also show brain operations involved in listening. Listening operates from three regions of the brain that support how we listen and how we learn to listen better by acting on what we hear.

#3 Brainpowered tool: Apply one insight learned and brainpower increases and multiple intelligences expand in the process.

4. Identifies familiar features to gain big picture: By observing cortical activity when people hear words researchers are beginning to see how people categorize words they hear. The back half of the brain’s cortex is devoted to recognizing familiar patterns, such as a cat’s meow, a baby’s cry or a familiar business brand.

#4 Brainpowered tool: Ask, ask, ask! Question with two feet to draw out unique contributions, that become big picture solutions for stubborn real life problems.

5. To apply what’s learned, takes focus: while mere hearing is automatic. Modern brain images show that when you really focus on listening, you engage areas in the prefrontal cortex.  This area of your brain organizes and prioritizes what you hear, and stokes actions that as Fuster (2003) points out, allows you to use what you hear to interact with the world. Focus helps you to create meaning by holding what you hear in your working memory, match it up with what you already know, and predict what to do with what you hear.

#5 Brainpowered tool: Embrace differences, such as gaps between genders, or differences between an ethical and non-ethical worker, or between different rhythms in background music at work. Let differences help you discover innovative directions for your day.

6. Music or speech impacts emotions, impact moods in ways that motivate people, and can add to focus for mindguiding. Great music, such as baroque  stimulates the brain to listen more effectively. To ensure good attention, it’s important to offer multiple ways for people to recognize parts of what is communicated. When print dominates a culture, for instance, learning skills can begin to  fade. With new social media, variety however, has escalated.  New media and technologies such as ipods or even the web – have increased people’s listening capabilities, and raised its importance.

#6 Brainpowered tool: Seek advice from diverse leaders you admire, and act on advice received. In so doing you are also engaging the plasticity that reshapes your brain to help you advance in multiple ways.

7. What connects to emotions, sticks. Other advantages are given when interactivity is possible, so that mindguiding experiences link to people’s unique preferences. Learning depends on levels of commitment and also on developing expertise and talent to communicate with tone often seen in innovative mindguides.

#7 Brainpowered tool: Step back from heated situations until you can tame your amygdala enough to hear heated situations through another person’s perspective.

8. Awesome rewards come from mixing in different communication approaches. Researchers found that some music genres offer the same kind of pleasurable learning experiences as food, drugs or sex, for instance. The enjoyable act engaging music – releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter connected to pleasurable rewards. The key is to create a pleasant setting for every mindguiding session.

#8 Brainpowered tool: Laugh at yourself – yet run from cynicism, that brings cortisol – so that you focus more on spreading serotonin chemicals. Serotonin and other neurotransmitters for well being also aid learning skills.

9. Social media offers more integrated views on most topics, and that fact has altered what people come to crave in the kind of opposing views presented by radio stations such as NPR in the US or CBC in Canada.

#9 Brainpowered tool: Invite personal stories to respectfully create curiosity for multiple sides of issues. People often tend to hear only what they already believe, until they apply altered dynamic neuro discoveries for improved learning.

10. Mindguiding improves the brain’s hardwiring. Each time a person interacts with others and with new insights that interest, they strengthen their capabilities to interact with additional new ideas and with different approaches.

#10 Brainpowered tool: Repeat or do one key nugget learned. Lack of doing or applying, creates passivity habits operated from the brain’s basal ganglia. Each time people act on what they learn, they rewire brain cell connectors and reshape mental ability.  Ready to reshape learning abilities stored in your brain?

You’ve likely noticed that – in each brainpowered tool above, diversity and rawboned talent become mental assets for more than what mentoring views as minions’ benefit. In mindguiding approaches – both sides learn in all sessions, and both sides also lead at times.

How could typical mentoring practices in former teams – morph into mutually beneficial learning opportunities from mindguiding where you work?

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