Sentire Mentoring

Learning, teaching, leading, and mentoring are simultaneous activities. If you don't think so, try not to learn something today. Try not to tell someone something they don't already know. Try not to give help when you are asked to help. Try not to be an example. Try to get people not to look at, or notice you. Because we stand in relationship with others, we are either a teacher, mentor, learner, or leader in those relationships. Think of a person in your life (co-worker, direct report, child, student, neighbor, stranger) and notice which primary role you adopt while in that relationship. Notice how roles shift according to circumstances and conversations.

The problem is that teaching, leadership, mentorship and learning are taught in isolation of each other. Each role had a distinct purpose. Leaders communicate vision and mission, mentors take someone under our wing and demonstrate principles and practices one-on-one, teachers instruct and tell, and learners listen and absorb.

Most of the time we don't recognize when we enter and exit each role, but we should. Doing so keeps us focused and lucid. Each role wears a mask. Each role has a personality. Each role presupposes a unique behavior. Each role has a purpose. How important would it be to know the differences?

Today, professionals are being hired to teach college but after interviewing several I have found none have never had a day of training on pedagogy (the art of teaching children) or andragogy (the art of teaching adults). Of course, these skills were not part of their professional lives either. College teachers are supposed to mentor students. But they have never been taught the unique nature of mentoring. Teaching is the essence of leadership, yet they have never been taught the principles of leadership. What difference would it have made if they had been taught the ways of becoming a great leader, mentor, teacher, and learner?       


After what you taught didn't stick, have you ever asked, "why can't you remember!" Or, "I told you a thousand times...!" We all have. Telling is easy, and that's what we do when we thing we are teaching. But telling is not teaching. You know because when a person is "told" what to do and left alone to do it and the result is not what you hoped, you didn't teach effectively. Teaching doesn't stick when you are told. I learned this through a tragic experience I'll share here.

I jumped into a shallow river to help a pregnant woman and her three children whose car was demolished by a train. I was the second person on the site. Luckily for the surviving children an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) was the first person on site. I was amazed by his skill. This trained professional worked with habitual speed and accuracy. He moved without fore-thought. His actions were coming from his bones—from what he had become; from his craft. His first words to me detailed the vital signs of each person in the car; it sounded like a foreign language. He told me to hold the mother's head and help her breath--she was fighting for breath. The 3-year old was screaming in the back seat while blood dripped off her face. The 11-year old in the passenger seat died on impact. Once we heard the sirens from the ambulance he yelled to me, "get 2 C-collars and a pedi-board." I had no idea what he was talking about. I ran to the ambulance and told the EMTs who were running past me toward the accident. As one ran passed me, he pointed behind him toward a door on the side of the ambulance and said, "Look in there!". I opened the door and stared at "stuff." What am I supposed to grab? My mind went blank. But I remembered something. I caught the attention of a firefighter as he was running past and asked in desperation, "he needs a collar and board, I can't remember exactly what. Thankfully the firefighter knew exactly what was needed and pointed at the c-collars and pedi-board. Whew!

The accident ended in tragedy. The mother and one child died that day. The 3-year old, another child sitting behind the mother, and the baby inside the mother survived. I remember driving away feeling numb. Emotions didn't come immediately, but they came soon. I was puzzled at how quickly I forgot something so important. Even not, while writing this, I don't remember what a c-collar or peti-board are. I "Googled" them and can see the c-collar is a cervical collar and the petti board is like a stretcher to carry them on. Now that I know how the brain learns and forgets, I understand. I think I also understand how to hold information and move it from short-term to long-term memory.

I didn’t have the technical skills to be truly useful. The EMT had the technical knowledge; the know-how. He obviously cared about the family. He knew the language of the first-resonders. He communicated with them effectively. He sensed each person's strengths and directed them. The combination of the EMT's technical knowledge (know-how), tacit knowledge (know-how) and tribal knowledge (cultural knowledge) that saved lives. His natural ability to step in and out of leadership (toward other EMTs), mentorship (showing me how to hold the mother), learnership (learning the specific needs of the victims), and teacher (telling me and other civilians to wrap tape around the mother's head) saved lives. These four roles were instantaneous, but his apparent years of experience helped him work with confidence and strength.

Remembering is difficult.

REMEMBER is perhaps our most important word. Teaching and learning without remembering are like filling a glass with a hole in the bottom. How does new information stay inside the learner? How does new information move from short-term to long-term memory? How does new information get into the bones so thinking on your feet becomes natural? How do we inspire others to remember? We must connect the dots from theory to practice—from what is currently known to the knowledge of tomorrow. We've got to do it "yesterday!" But how?

Below you will see a list of them followed by the primary author(s) and thought leaders. These theories primarily teach the phenomenon of learning and teaching. Leadership and mentorship are natural component of each theory.  
Updated August 1, 2016 (this list is updated regularly)

  •     Reflective practitioner (Schön, 1983)
  •     Organizational learning (Senge, 1990; Schön & Argyris, 1978)
  •     Action and Participatory learning (Stringer, Argyris, 1993)
  •     Reflexive learning (Schön)
  •     Actionable knowledge (Argyris, 1993)
  •     Data-driven decision-making learning
  •     Connective learning (digital-age learning) (Siemens, 2004)
  •     Generative learning (Wittrock)
  •     Iterative, recursive, and self-repeating learning (new ideas are generated with each new failure, and each new innovation, etc.)
  •     Translational learning/research (from bench-to-bedside learning; multidirectional and multidisciplinary) (Sung & Crowley, 2003)
  •     Professional learning Community (PLC) (Wenger and Lave)
  •     Collaborative learning (peer-response learning)
  •     Competency-based learning (kinetic learning) (Hall, 1976; Burke, 1989)
  •     Community of Practice (Wenger, 1998)
  •     Laboratory of Practice (LoP) (Storey, Maughan, 2015)
  •     Practitioner Mentor (PM) (Maughan, 2007)
  •     Problems of Practice (PoP) (Storey, Maughan, 2014)
  •     Complexity Learning (Kampis, 1991; Ricca, 2012) (Complexity is about non-linear learning and recursive learning)
  •     Self-determined Learning (heutagogy) (Kenya & Hase, 2003)
  •     e-Learning
  •     Learner-centered learning
  •     Adult and Lifelong learning (andragogy) (Knowles,1950, Informal Adult Education)
  •     Self-reliant learning (Barney & Maughan, 2015, Getting out of the way: Learning, risk, and choice)
  •     Self-directed learning (Knowles, 1950)
  •     Becoming Professional (way of being) (Dall 'Alba, 2009)
  •     Agency and Agentic learning (Bandura, 1997, 2000; Jackson, 2003).
  •     Inter- Intra-related systems learning
  •     Inquiry of Practice (IoP), Inquiry as Practice (IaP) (Maughan, Storey, 2014)
  •     Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider, 2008); Humble Inquiry (Stein, 2013)
  •     Situated learning (Bandura, Lave & Wenger, 1991)
  •     Independent Learning (Gong, 1982)
  •     Spaced learning, spaced retrieval, spaced repetition (Mace, 1932; Fields, 2005)
  •     Positive learning-- Well-being and positive emotion (Seligman, 2013)
  •     Fixed and growth mindset (Dweck, 2006)
  •     Flow—highly focused mental state (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
  •     Managed risk
  •     Intelligent failure/failing forward

The reality is that no educator, practitioner, or student will ever explore all of these theories--they simply don't have time, and it's impractical. So, there must be a space where practitioners can be active learners among learners, teachers among teachers, mentors among mentors, and leaders among leaders. Each drawing upon the experiences, light, and knowledge of others.

I have intentionally left out learning theories that view learners as problems to be solved rather than an opportunity to be embraced. I have left out theories focused on manipulating behavioral change with well-crafted incentives, rewards, or punishments (classical or operant conditioning for those who care). These theories were introduced in the late 40s and have persisted since, but they have been repeatedly proven ineffective in long-term learning. Some of the above theories may be used with behaviorism, but I don't recommend it. There are much better approaches.

The trouble is that recent graduates and/or professional practitioners are often taught one or two of the above theories in college or, unwittingly, during professional training, without knowing their genealogy or deeper implications. The genealogy of a theory shows why it was invented, where and how the theorist got his or her ideas, what problem(s) it was trying to solve, and the intention of the theorist. Often college courses go wide, but not deep enough. Getting at the roots of a theory solidifies its application. It also gives you a complete idea of what you've bought into. For example, I taught Marxism in my philosophy course. Once my students followed the genealogy of the theory and push the evolution of the ideas back a few generations many of them decided it wasn't for them. 

You may ask, "Why bother with all of these theories anyway?" Because business leaders are required to invest large sums of money and resources in training and development in order to bring new employees up to speed, and to continue the education of experienced professionals. After extensive and expensive training, there is no guarantee the trainees won't soon find new opportunities, which leaves the employer with the need to yet train other new employees. Another reason is that we want our new people to hit the ground running and we want our more experienced people to keep an open mind and deepen their skills and capabilities.

Here's my goal: Practitioners from any profession would benefit from an open forum to help them become reflective learners. The speed of knowledge must be acknowledged, then it must be addressed effectively. How we learn has changed. To keep up with learning modalities, we need to change the ways we teach. How well are you preparing your employees, new hires, or experienced practitioners for the year 2030? Are they trained in exponential learning practices? This means, are they willing to adapt to complexity all around them (don't confuse complexity with complicated--they are not the same)?

You can learn! You do learn! Learning is natural. You do it every day (e.g., directions to a location, the name of a new acquaintance, new recipes, current events, political issues, clothing styles and colors, etc.). There's no question, you learn everywhere and always. But forgetting is easier, and that's an enormous problem. It only takes a few days, hours, or minutes to forget something and begin to slap ourselves in the forehead in frustration and mumble, "I forgot!"

There are ways to strengthen your ability to remember. How to move new information from short-term to long-term memory takes some work, I won't lie to you, it requires some effort, but if it's important to you, you can do it.

Learning is a way of being. But I have not found an effective synthesis of this critical information. My intent is to provide overall ideas about how to uptake new information and retain it in long-term memory. Moreover, I'd like to help you get new knowledge (information) locked into the mind so it becomes second nature like driving, riding a bicycle, or tying shoes (this is called tacit knowledge).

While learning is easy, remembering takes effort, sometimes downright hard work. Some things are easy to remember, like where you were when you learned of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Events such as this seem to stick easily. Why? I'm not sure, but I have my theory. I'll share that later. Most things are not so easy to remember unless we work at it. It's not magic, it's a sincere effort. 

But first, it's important to understand the disconnect between how students are taught in K-12 and college, and how they are taught, or should be taught, at work. Methods of teaching from a college professor are going to be vastly different from the practical and pedestrian methods of teaching at work. Professors often position their information under the umbrella of an ideology. An ideology that largely affects how they teach and how the students learn. Social science courses are strongly influenced by this ideology. For lack of space, I won't go into details about the ideology here, but I will summarize: While colleges focus on turning mindsets inward (to focus on themselves, their needs, and how the world impacts them), businesses are more focused on turning mindsets outward (how services or products impact customers). Shifting the mindset from an inward focus to an outward focus is not easy, but it is possible, and it is the first critical step in the process of learning and retaining new information. I defer this process to the Arbinger Institute—the experts in helping people shift from an inward mindset to an outward mindset. 

Our ability to connect with others in meaningful ways is central to developing an outward mindset. You will see how these connections help you retain new information.The reason, I believe, is because relationships are packed with emotion, and emotions activate our intellectual inputs in brain and senses on a number of levels. Brain science demonstrates powerful effects on brain activity when certain emotions are triggered by significant relationships.

To illustrate, think about where you were or what you were doing on 9-11 (or soon thereafter) when you first heard about the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, United States. American's were probably more impacted by this attack than other nations, but each nation has had its own form of life-changing events (e.g., Tiananmen Square in April 1989 in China, Japan's horrible tsunami of 2011, Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010, the celebration of the great Berlin Germany Wall going down November 9, 1989). We remember these for several reasons. Our senses were impacted on a number of levels, particularly on an emotional level. Understanding how emotion impacts learning is the second critical step in knowledge retention.

The next important step is our ability to intentionally learn from anyone at any level in any place. Intentional learning is an act of humility. It says, "you, and your knowledge, matter like I matter." Learning is a great teacher. People are more willing to follow a leader who openly learns. Learning with fascinated curiosity draws people in, makes them interested, and connects you in meaningful ways. 

The next step is teaching. Teaching is intimately connected to learning. They should be interwoven so tightly it becomes difficult to distinguish when one is teaching or learning. An ancient proverb says, "By learning you will teach, and by teaching you will learn." Teaching and learning also connect intimately to leading. Effective teaching and learning are the essence of leadership. Learning makes the teacher who, in turn, makes the leader. When learning, teaching and leading happen simultaneously you are at the pinnacle of your persuasive powers. Once you are better able to connect with others in meaningful ways, your teaching has great impact.

I will break down each of these roles (learner, teacher, and leader) in another section.    

Enter, the new job...

If you're a college graduate, how well do you feel prepared to learn, teach, and lead? An organization should expect you to perform all three interchangeably. You can't blame your professors for not teaching you how to learn, teach, and lead in a business environment, they did the best they knew. It's your responsibility to apply what you can remember from coursework to the job.

If you're a teaching and learning organizations, how well are you prepared to help your new hire become a learner, teacher, and leader? You expect them to learn at breakneck speeds. Your organization depends on the capacity of its people at every level to learn more and quickly. Not only learn it, but remember it.

This leads me to the leap of becoming a fully developed Learning Teaching and Leading organization. The value of being a learning organization is well established as taught by Peter Senge. Learning (learnability) is vital to organizational sustainability. But scholars now emphasize that the value of an organization's trajectory toward positive growth increases in proportion to the excellence of teaching among their people at every level (Taylor, 2009; Altman, 2009; Tichy, 2010, DeSmet, 2010). Learning happens when curiosity is stirred; teaching happens when the vision about possibilities is articulated smoothly and without guile. Thus, effective learning requires effective teaching—teaching that inspires. [end of today's work, June 16, 2016]


 Be the sort of person people want to learn from

A person who learns inspires learning. When vivacity and excitement about anything lights someone up everyone turns their head. We want to know what got them so excited. The world has slowly shifted from an industrial society to a knowledge society. New knowledge is generated so quickly it's difficult to keep up. Who around you is animated about change in technologies? If anyone is, what draws you to them? What skills do they have you want to have? Transferring new knowledge and skills requires effective teaching, but not just any kind of teaching; teaching that inspires curiosity and action.

Effective teaching is the essence of leadership, and leaders who have mastered the art of learning; who are humble and who rejoice in innovation, risk, informative failures, and success are the sort of people who people want to learn from. These folks understand the interchangeable roles of teaching, learning, and leading and how they organize into the single role of mentoring. We want each person at every level to know their role as a mentor. We want them to know how to respond (and when to respond) when a role change from a learner, teacher, or leader is required. When people can distinguish when it's time to teach, lead, or learn, and if they know strategies on how to mentor effectively, there will be improved teamwork, excitement about innovations, and ultimately, each result will be presented as a gift to your company, its future, and to those who receive your products or services. Keep pace with the speed of knowledge by learning, teaching, leading, and becoming a mentoring organization. 

Studies show Millennials surpass GenXers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Millenials think of jobs differently than prior generations. According to Forbes "Job hopping is the new normal."   

There's a gap! Millennials were taught in college using a system that is significantly different from the system they will be expected to follow in most companies and business organizations.  

For decades schools (high schools and colleges) have been using teaching strategies developed from constructivist and behaviorist learning philosophies. We must ask: How well are these philosophies preparing students for the workforce? These philosophies, and the strategies that follow, are not generally known by business educators and organizational leaders. In fact, for the most part, what is being taught in school, and the way it is being taught, is often incompatible with organizational needs. Thus, self-expanding expectations garnered from constructivist teachers and "do this, get that" incentives from behaviorist teachers are not always compatible with immediate learning goals that connect with the real world. 

Neither philosophy is excited about getting people to love learning but to get them acclimated to doing mind-numbing chores. If the work you want people to do requires mind-numbing repetitive chores, stick with behaviorism or constructivism. But if you want employees who are independent thinkers, creative, and know how to manage risk and failure, these philosophies must be abandoned.  

Sentire offers an approach that helps leaders and experienced workers become "lifelong teachers who inspire lifelong learning." We focus on seasoned professionals; excellent artisans. Typically, artisans don't have the tools or skills to teach the magic of their craft--natural behaviors learned through years of sacrifice and hard work. Artisans should be the best teachers. We help transform craft knowledge into technical and teachable knowledge.

New hires, or relocating employees, need to know how to study the business (culture, needs, hopes, duties, and responsibilities) and take responsibility as rapidly as possible. Along with seasoned artisans, managers, job coaches, trainers, and mentors must know how to teach so new hires can learn their duties and uptake the natural know-how of the artisans. It can be taught, but it must be taught in a way that is quickly learned, remembered and applied effectively.

One of the keys is knowing how to teach to long-term memory. New science reveals how the brain learns. Those responsible for employee education should know how the brain learns. Brain science has improved the ways we approach teaching and learning. It's a growing science we incorporate into our adult learning and teaching strategies for your organization. We help you design worthwhile curriculum for learners in your organization; this includes everyone.

Teachers (parents, CEOs, volunteers) are leaders! Leaders (parents, CEOs, volunteers) are teachers. When someone begins a new job, it's assumed they will learn the ins and outs of their job. It doesn't take long before it becomes clear learning didn't happen, at least at some levels. 

In dozens of commencement speeches across the United States, corporate leaders have said to the graduating class they want three key ingredients from them 1) the courage to make independent choices (agency), 2) the ability to take calculated risks, and 3) the fortitude to experience failure intelligently. These principles will be incorporated into your personalized curriculum.  

Teaching and learning are not linear processes. They are iterative processes requiring reciprocal teaching and learning and awareness of the complexity of interchanges surrounding the learning situation. We help you conduct real-time assessments, qualitative and quantitative measurements, to gauge progress. We mentor you as you become a reflective practitioner.   

You will learn how to teach know-how, know-who, know-what, know-when, know-where, and know-why. Your teaching organization will become a true learning organization.   


Our Teaching and Mentoring Solutions:

  • Inspire learning that creates behavior change that brings focused results without the use of costly reward systems or punishments (withholding rewards)
  • Micro-learning: Break down complex ideas into small understandable chunks of information.
  • Discover and articulate tacit knowledge (know-how)
  • Simplify teaching with proven adult learning methods and strategies
  • Enhance communication and knowledge transfer between mentors and protégés using mobile technology
  • Rapidly apply new knowledge
  • Learn how the brain works and design curriculum to move knowledge from short-term memory to working memory to long-term memory where tacit knowledge resides
  • Bridge gap between generations in the workplace
  • Build professional and personal relationships--the core of learning and teaching


We help you diagnose learning needs and embolden your brightest and most experienced people to teach effectively their T3 Knowledge. 



...T1ECHNICAL          The Know-What

Information from textbooks, manuals, and handbooks about operations, systems, structures, skills development, and much more....

|  ...T2RIBAL            The Know-Who

A group of people with a similar vision. Tribes include the culture, social nuances, missions, purposes, traditions, rituals, visions, and languages. They include the unwritten rules and power hierarchy and much more.

...T3ACIT     The Know-Why & How  

Michael Polanyi wrote, "We can know more than we can tell." Tacit knowledge is qualitative and difficult to articulate. It's difficult to teach and learn. It is knowledge of the combined human heart and mind. This knowledge is at the heart of craftsmanship and artisans, those who make the results of their work a gift to others. 

Tacit knowledge comprises 70% of what you know. Tribal knowledge (the culture, climate, traditions) comprises 20% of knowledge, and Technical knowledge equals about 10%.

Combined, T3 knowledge is complex knowledge. In other words, complex knowledge lies at the intersection of T3 knowledge. COMPLEX KNOWLEDGE NEEDS TO BE SIMPLIFIED TO BE LEARNED AND REMEMBERED. We break it into component parts of information that is sticky. 

We customize your curriculum on a solid theoretical foundation that is based on proven science. Adult learning is known as andragogy and means "how adults learn." By incorporating this theory we help you build a curriculum that helps others become increasingly self-directed learners. We teach independent thinking. We help you find not-so-obvious problems. We help you inspire motivation from internal curiosity and focused internal desire rather than external rewards and punishments. We help you help others find problems that may not seem so obvious.

Other theories we draw from and put directly into practice are transformational and transformative learning; Self-determined learning, known as heutagogy, and complexity theory. 


Key training devices:

AGENCY (Keep your personality, make choices, and think independently.)

RISK-TAKING (Try something new, create, innovate, and explore new vistas of knowledge.)

INTELLIGENT FAILURE (It's safe to risk, fail, and try again. It's an iterative and generative learning cycle that creates life and hope.)





|  Make your knowledge a gift

           |  Leave a legacy

                         |  Be transformational


BE A Protégé.....


Pay your mentor the greatest compliment

"The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked what I thought, and attended to my answer" (~Henry David Thoreau).


We can help you connect generations of T3Knowledge in your workplace.

Today an unprecedented 5 generations participate in the workforce. Each brings important perspectives. Each offers their own T3Knowledge 

  • Traditionals (born before 1946)
  • Baby-boomers (born between 1946-1964)
  • Gen-Xers (born between 1965-1980)
  • Gen-Yers (Millennials) (born between 1981-1994)
  • WE generation is almost ready to enter the workforce (born after 1994)

             | The NECESSITY

  If this was true 10 years ago, it's even more critical today, "[The] Demand for knowledge workers is building even as their experiences, skills, and abilities are falling into increasingly short supply. Meanwhile, this shrinking talent pool grows ever more diverse—and their needs are shifting. ...Rather than focus on acquisition and retention, organizations should focus instead on what employees care about most: developing in ways that stretch their capabilities, deploying onto projects and roles that engage their heads and hearts, and connecting to the people and things that will help them achieve their professional goals" (Deloitte Research – Connecting People to What Matters Copyright © 2007 Deloitte Development LLC).


Accelerate and enhance your employee's ABILITIES  

LeadershipABILITY: The mentor -- The ABILITY to become the sort of leader people want to follow.

LearnABILITY: The protege -- The ABILITY to pay the greatest compliment: to ask someone their advice and attend to the answer. It includes sacrifice, humility, gratitude, hard work, discipline, and the elimination of fear and anxiety.

TeachABILITY: The Mentor and Protege -- The ABILITY to teach and inspire learning, NOT merely push information. Teachers much have the same qualities as learners. They must also listen to the learner and learn from them. 

RelationshipABILITY: The Mentor and Protege -- The ABILITY to connect with people in meaningful ways. All learning and teaching rest upon a relationship of trust. 



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