Center for Mentoring Excellence

Mentoring Matters

November 2014
Volume 5 | Issue 10
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A hands on guide to making the first 90 days of your mentoring relationship a success.

Never underestimate the importance of a well-launched mentoring relationship!


To learn how to improve your mentoring relationship, order your copy of Starting Strong today and get 20% off and free shipping.

"There are high spots in all of our lives and most of them come about through encouragement from someone else."


George Adams

A Note to Our Readers:

We believe that leaders cannot be effective without a strong and ongoing commitment to mentoring excellence. This belief, our passion for mentoring excellence, and our extensive experience in the field with organizations led us to create the Center for Mentoring Excellence. 


At our virtual center,, you will find mentoring tools and resources, expert advice and a forum for sharing best mentoring practices. We hope that you will visit us there and let us know how we can continue to help you raise the bar on mentoring in your organization.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching this month, it is important to think about those people who have guided, strengthened and supported us during this past year. Voice your gratitude and let those special folks in your life know how much you appreciate them.  


In this issue we offer several quotes you might want to share with your mentor or mentee. Also, in this month of reflection, we would like to express our gratitude to you, our readers. Thank you for following us this past year.
All we can ask in our lives is that perhaps we can make a little difference in someone else's.

Lillian Davis

Interview with 
Professor M.S. Rao  

In this issue, we interviewed
international leadership expert, author and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India, Professor M.S.Rao.

MM: What is the philosophical basis of your work in leadership?


MSR: I am a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. I am passionate about leadership, and my lifetime vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. So far, I have trained, coached, and mentored over 20,000 people.

Leadership is basically about making a difference in the lives of others. To provide meaning to life, I believe it is important to serve others. Keeping this view in mind, I have coined a new term for this leadership perspective, "Soft Leadership." Soft leadership blends multiple skills and abilities. It incorporates what I call the 11C's: character, charisma, conscience, conviction, courage, communication, compassion, commitment, consistency, consideration, and contribution.


With the end of the 20th century, the need for emotional intelligence emerged. Leaders must demonstrate pleasing and polite behavior, attitude and personality to get tasks executed by their partners. The need for leaders to demonstrate soft skills and abilities continues to grow given changing times and technologies and global dynamic environment. Now, the emphasis needs to shift to soft leadership, which builds on emotional intelligence and replaces traditional leadership a focus on followership.


MM: Tell us a little about your background and what influenced your development as an international expert.


MSR: I joined the Indian Air Force when I was 18 years old and served in the lowest rank of Corporal. I did not have the privilege of having regular college education. So, I am mostly self-taught, having acquired my qualifications through self-study and correspondence courses. I am a voracious reader and I acquired knowledge by going to libraries in distant places when I served in Indian Air Force. In one sense, books have been my mentors and especially those by Peter Drucker, Frances Hesselbein and Marshall Goldsmith.


MM: In your opinion, why should leaders be mentors?


MSR:Leaders must share their knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences with others. We all know that if water remains stagnant and in one place it begins to smell after a while. Similarly, if knowledge remains within people, it does no good for organizations and society. Hence, leaders must mentor others to add value to existing knowledge to ensure the smooth flow of knowledge in the knowledge pipeline to build better organizations and better world. Additionally, mentoring facilitates smooth leadership succession to ensure organizational excellence and effectiveness.

MM: What advice do you have for future leaders?


MSR: Here is my advice to future leaders. Lead by example. Be transparent and build trust. The days of leadership and followership are gone. Be prepared for challenges. Partner with your employees. Value your employees as people, not as workers. If you keep your employees happy, they will keep your customers happy. Happy customers improve your organizational bottom lines. Hence, value your employees to add value to your company, and to grow as a great leader.


MM: You've written so many books on leadership, which is your favorite and why?


MSR: I have authored 30 leadership books so far. The book titled  21 Success Sutras for Leaders published by Pearson is my personal favorite and it has been selected as one of ten finalists for the Department of Leadership Studies Outstanding Leadership Book Award - 2013 at the University of San Diego. This book outlines leadership lessons for leaders and CEOs to excel as great leaders. It implores leaders to profit from the experiences of others. It equips leaders with 21 valuable leadership lessons that help them minimize their mistakes and maximize their leadership effectiveness.


MM: What are you working on now?


MSR: I am authoring a book tentatively titled "21 Success Sutras for CEOs." It outlines leadership challenges encountered by CEOs globally and includes case studies, examples and illustrations of leaders like Jack Welch (GE), Alan Mulally (Ford), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Herb Kelleher (Southwest), Lakshmi Niwas Mittal (ArcelorMittal) and others.

MM: As a professional book reviewer, you are familiar many of the books on coaching, executive coaching and leadership to review. What books would you recommend to our readers?


MSR: James M. Strock is a friend of mine and I recently read his award-winning book, Serve to Lead: Your Transformational 21st Century Leadership System. It is about servant leadership and 21st century leadership.. If Robert Greenleaf is the father of servant leadership, then James Strock is the SAGE on servant leadership. Also, I enjoyed reading The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships by Lois Zachary.