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The Tao of Mentoring

Support on your journey.

The ability to learn from failure and setbacks, nature's wonderful teachers.

A sense of loyalty and appreciation of others'journeys.

The ability to create safe, nonjudgmental learning environments where all points of view are truly heard.

The ability to enable others to realize and develop their full potential, by confronting and overcoming self-doubt and fear.

The ability to nurture harmony, cooperation, and unirv of purpose among ourselves and glob all y.

Ways to ignite the flame of enthusiasm and passion for living that flickers in all of us.

A sense of acceptance, flexibility, and balance in your own life.

A spiritual rather than mechanistic view of relationships in all Of life.

A strong sense of heightened self-esteem, confidence, direction, discipline, responsibility, and motivation on vour chosen path.

A humanistic style of leadership, guidance, and teachine that benefits all within your circle of influence.

A clear, strong understanding of the interdependent nature of your relationships and of the interconnectedness of all life.

Let us now introduce you to Jing Hwa : The Golden Flower of Tao Mentoring.

A note on "mentoring"

I highly recommend the book Mentoring, The Tao of Giving and Receiving Wisdom by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995). It has greatly influenced my views and approach. Here are some quotes from the first few pages and sideleaf:

"The word courage is taken from the French word coeur, which means heart. The Tao mentoring process instills courage, giving you permission to follow your heart, your passion in all that you do ... Mentors can encourage mentoreees not to give up just when the oasis barely appears on the horizon. Encouraging others to continue the journey of heart at this point is the work of good mentoring."

Tau Fa: Mentoring Along the Watercourse Way

Those who seek mentoring, will rule the great expanse under heaven.

Those who boast that they are greater than others, will f all short.

Those who are willing to learn from others, become greater.

Those who are ego-involved, will be humbled and made sm all, --Shu Ching

"Although these insightful and prophetic words were spoken more than twenty-five centuries ago, the Chinese thoughts of wisdom from the ancient Book of History, Shu Ching, are perhaps even more relevant in our modem world with its deep and enthusiasatic desire for self-expansion and personal growth...

"The term mentor originated in classic Greek Mythology when Mentor , a wise teacher, was asked by his friend Odysseus to watch over his precious son, Telemachus, as he embarked on a lengthy voyage. As a surrogate parent, Mentor gave support, love, guidance, protection, and blessing to the young child until the return of his father. Thus, we have come to know mentors asa those who gently guide and nurture the growth of others during various stages of their development. However, the earliest model of the mentoring process was demonstrated in the succession procedures of the three Chinese sage kings Yao , Shun, and Yu, between 2333 and 2177 B.C. The passing of the throne by the sovereign to a virtuous and competent successor was known in early democratic Chinese history as Shan Jang. Liter all y, it means: "The enlightened stepping aside to create room in the center for the next deserving person to step in and take charge." Yao stepped out of the way for Shun, who in turn moved out of the enter for Yu.

"Over the years, however, mentoring as a means of sharing wisdom and learning seems to have become lost. Perhaps we fear appearing unknowledgeable to others; it is simply too uncomfortable or even humiliating to handle. For example, your boss asks if you have read a certain book, one usu all y familiar to people in your field and up-and-coming employees. Rather than look foolish or ignorant, you immediately respond, "Of course," and in the process you cut off an opportunity to learn, The Tao mentoring process makes such situations comfortable and safe enough to be open to "not knowing ......

"Tao mentoring is a two-way circular dance that provides opportunities for us to experience both giving and receiving without limitations and fears .... Every relationship is invited to enter this exciting journey of mentoring with the Tao along the Watercourse Way (Tao Fa, in Chinese), water being the ever present Chinese image of flowing transformation. According to the Tao, the best relationships are like water; they benefit all things and do not compete with them. Water is a natural element that ultimately changes the shape of whatever it touches; Tao mentoring changes the lives of the people it touches in a satisfying, positive way."

The Tao of Mentoring, p xi-xiii


Generously offering, oneself

in service to others

inspires loyalty and a freedom to ask

for advice and guidance,

The Tao mentor knows that to mentor truly is to serve. When leading, teaching, or governing, the leader is least important, the people are the most important. The teacher who offers herself in the service of her students becomes richer. Giving is receiving and when we serve with honor, our partner gives back one hundredfold. In sports, such as tennis, to "serve" a b all has deep metaphoric meanings-it is an offer to begin the game (the mentoring dance) and a readiness to receive the return of the "serve, " When we instill in others their own greatness, we, in turn, will be great. When we truly serve others, we experience loyalty in an environment of mutual benefit.

A Chinese parable describes the settings of Heaven and Hell exactly alike: Each is an enormous banquet with delectable dishes on huge round tables. All are given chopsticks five feet long. In the banquet in Hell, people struggle to manipulate these awkward utensils, give up out of frustration, and starve. In Heaven, everyone serves the person across the table and each becomes abundantly full. Those who follow the Tao, attain great fulfillment through loving service,

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