the blog of dan pontefract | The Star Wars Mentoring Program
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The Star Wars Mentoring Program

We could learn a thing or two from Star Wars.starwars

Take for example what happens when you forget to brush your teeth, floss or use mouthwash. No one wants green slime oozing out of their mouth like Jabba the Hutt. I think some of it might have actually fallen on Princess Leia when she was shackled to Jabba’s throne while wearing what was the coolest bikini I had ever seen as a then 11-year old boy.

But I digress.

One aspect of Star Wars that goes relatively unnoticed is the galaxy-class mentoring program that is woven into the story arc.obiwan

No, I’m not kidding.

How do Jedi’s become a Jedi? It’s a masterful example of a mentoring program.

Anakin Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi as his mentor while he was a young Padawan learning the ways of the Force. He then decided to lose his mind and get all evil — killing ‘younglings’ and ‘Sand People’ along the way — but he knew the power of a good mentor and so he cozied up to the evil Emperor (Darth Sidious) who became his go-to mentor as Anakin morphed into Darth Vader. (it’s a long story, you should watch the movies)

That’s a mentoring one-two punch story of excellence.

But the fact of the matter is Anakin had a mentor at all times.

Obi-Wan himself also had a mentor when he too was a Padawan learner. Qui-Gon Jinn provided guidance, counsel and insight as Obi-Wan learned the ways of the Jedi order.yoda

And what about Luke Skywalker?

Not only did he have Obi-Wan as a mentor through his time on the tropical vacation planet of Tatooine, when he ventured off to everyone’s favourite swamp — Dagobah, a place even Shrek might say “no way am I living there” —  Yoda chipped in with a very hands-on mentoring program as Luke fast-tracked his way toward the status of Jedi.

In summary, the manner in which George Lucas (Star Wars creator) instituted a mentoring program for the Jedi learners was masterful.

What does mentoring look like in your organization?

Do you personally have a mentor?

I like having three; a Millennial, a Gen X’er and a Baby Boomer otherwise known as my Padawan, my Jedi and my Yoda.

3Comments

  • Dan Pontefract / 3 May 2013 12:20

    I can’t believe for a minute that nobody has a mentor. C’mon.

  • Tim / 28 September 2013 4:46

    I’m coming late to this party, but I thought I’d chime in. My understanding is that Mr. Lucas created the Jedi drawing heavily from Asian culture, primarily samurai. As a long-time practitioner of martial arts, I can tell you that the process fits. Even after 20+ years of practice, I have a teacher/mentor. As she has a teacher/mentor. And he has a teacher/mentor.

    In the Western Christian spiritual tradition, the same is true. Today, this is most-often found in the Catholic Christian orders (Jesuit, Marianist, etc.). When I practiced in this tradition, I had a spiritual director, who had a spiritual director, who had a spiritual director.

    Sadly, these traditions are seemingly non-existent in Western business. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor for 10 years early in my professional career. Since then, mentors have been scarce. I try to mentor others, but organizational systems frequently impede this process.

    Difficult.

  • Dan Pontefract / 30 September 2013 1:04

    I think mentors are a key ingredient to a career with purpose @Tim. Otherwise we aren’t grounded in the realities of our strengths, weaknesses and wishes.

Want to leave a comment? I'd love to hear from you. Cheers, dp.