Mentoring According To Some Of The Most Famous Leaders In The World

One of the most important characteristics prosperous entrepreneurs and famous business leaders share in common is the understanding that success is not the product of a one-man show, but instead is the result of multiple efforts coming from many individuals who have a common goal and a shared drive to see those efforts realized.

Someone once said that mentoring relationships are often not mentioned by some entrepreneurs when they talk about their methods and their road to success because they believe this to be a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth, as having a mentor shows that you have a willingness to learn and that you understand that you are not yourself a finished product, but instead an individual who has yet much to learn and is eager to do something about it. That type of mindset shows great strength and a keen sense of responsibility, something that is commendable and that sets the right example for others to follow.

Famous mentoring relationships are common today as many of these names that have become a staple, talk about their mentors with fondness and give much credit to these partnerships by counting them amongst one of the most important building blocks of their own success.

Richard Branson – Virgin

Richard Branson’s appreciation for mentors come from his early age and the lessons learned from his eccentric uncle Jim. Branson talks about how he saw in his uncle this ability to understand things that others simply mocked and weren’t able to fully comprehend.

These teachings are something that has always characterized Virgin’s CEO as a man who takes risks and that looks at the world from a different perspective. It is important to note that some of those risks aren’t always successful, but the ability to look past the preconceived notions of others is a great virtue that one should nurture.

When it comes to business he also gives a lot of credit to Sir Freddie Laker, especially during his times of struggle while trying to get Virgin Atlantic off the ground. Branson knows that having the courage to admit that a mentor can help you is one of the trademarks of a great leader.

Mary Barra – General Motors

Mary Barra is another outstanding leader who has been successful against all odds, especially during a time when the automotive industry was struggling like never before. She believes in the strength of mentorship as a multifaceted strategy that should address several aspects of the individual. Not only worrying about the business side, but also the personal growth of both people involved in the partnership. Barra talks about the importance of building a network of mentors while having in mind your mid-term and long-term goals in order to map out strategies to get there. She also talks about not having to always look up to seek your sources of strength but to also look at your peers and your employees as prospective allies in your path to growth.

Mark Zuckerberg  – Facebook

More than 1 billion people are currently active on Facebook. When you talk about success, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO is one of the people you will most definitely think about. Mark Zuckerberg created a company that definitely changed the world and he attributes a lot of his success to one of the men who inspired him with his mentorship, that man was Steve Jobs. Jobs talked to him about the importance of building a team above anything else, and how it was so crucial to instill in that team a sense of accountability and focus on the mission at hand. It is important to understand that sometimes your mission needs to go beyond what it is that your company creates. He taught him about building something bigger than himself and being able to truly touch people’s lives.

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Bill Gates – Microsoft

One of the most famous mentoring relationships in the world is probably that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Both Buffet and Gates are in the list of the world’s wealthiest men, and they have both built their empires from very humble beginnings. Gates has mentioned in numerous interviews that he great appreciates the way Warren Buffett helped him to learn to think in long-term and how setbacks are simply part of the journey to accomplishing bigger and better things. He also talks about the man’s ability to break down complex situations into simple concepts that can be easily analyzed and explained.

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Bill Gates is not the only one who feels fortunate of having Buffet as his mentor. Warren Buffett himself admires the way Bill Gates handles wealth and how he feels that he has an intrinsic responsibility with the world and with using his position of privilege to change the world for the better.

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* Featured Image courtesy of Red Maxwell at


4 Of The World’s Most Famous Mentoring Relationships.

One of the most beautiful displays of humility shown by a successful person can be seen when they look about and thank those who have contributed to their achievements. Everyone knows that getting far in life, often involves a large number of people that may not receive any of the credit given to those who spearhead efforts and are seen as the public face of the endeavor.

Mentoring creates beautiful meaningful relationships based on commitment and hard work towards a goal. When someone chooses a mentor, they look for traits they want to emulate and also for figures they admire and whose opinion and knowledge on a subject they respect and consider relevant enough to follow.

Throughout history, there have been many mentor-mentee relationships that will always be remembered for the great influence they’ve held on their particular fields. Let it be athletes, lawyers, business professionals and even authors; you will be hard press to find one single influential personality who doesn’t attribute a large part of their success to the mentors that inspired and guided them.

Here we have a list of a few greatly influential mentor-mentee relationships that have made history.

Martin Luther King and Benjamin Mays

Benjamin Mays was at odds with civil right inequality years before Martin Luther King was even born. Back in 1936, the year after he received his doctorate in Chicago, Mays traveled to India and interviewed Gandhi and was touched by his principles of nonviolence. He saw in this doctrine a way to shape the ideas that would eventually become the civil rights movement adopted by Dr. King in the United States. Benjamin Mays and Martin Luther King met in the mid 40’s when Mays was president of Morehouse College and King was becoming the nation’s most famous civil rights leader while only in his 20’s. King always saw a mentor and father figure in Mays and adopted fiercely his ideas about the need to provide a dignified environment to all human beings to thrive and the incompatibility of American democratic ideals with American social practices; making them key tenants in his own ideology. Mays delivered the eulogy at King’s funeral in 1968 and called upon Americans to turn their outrage and sorrow into hope for the future and not to dishonor Dr. King’s name and all that he had fought and given his life for.

Colin Powell and Luther Powell

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Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Army General, Colin Powell considered his father, Luther Powell a powerful mentor. Their belief in the power of mentoring and the importance of passing down knowledge to the next generation motivated their careers and has always been of great importance to them. He believes that us adults it is important to pass down hundreds of years of experience to help guide youth through the right path, he said: “…all of us, as citizens of this great country, have an obligation to not only raise our own children in this manner so that they can be a great new generation; we have an obligation to do this for all of our children, especially those children who don’t have this family structure, or whose family structure needs some help.  And that’s why mentoring is so important.”

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

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The richest and second richest men in America are the closest of friends. Bill Gates has always made public his admiration for Buffet and values his mentorship above all. The pair met at a dinner organized by Gates’ mother, where the two spoke about business and philanthropy and realized together they could make a big difference. They lobby together and hold many of the same ideas about tax rates, investments and using their money and influence to change the life of many people through their charitable foundations.

Bill Gates turned to Buffet for advice when he and his wife started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Warrant Buffet mentored him and showed him his view on attacking poverty and disease the same way one looks at businesses with a cool and clear approach towards your goals. Buffer has donated over 2 billion towards the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are considered two of the most influential and inspiring transcendentalist writers of their time. Both men extensively studied and embraced nature and it was Emerson’s view and interaction with his study of the natural world that inspired Thoreau and guided him on his writing of his master work on living in natural surroundings, Walden. Thoreau was highly influenced by his mentor, who helped shaped his ideas about individualism and the role of men in a society faced with the need we all have to be individual first before becoming subjects in order to create a stronger sense of kinship and connection to our fellow human beings. One of the key teachings Emerson passed down to Thoreau was that of keeping a journal. Emerson’s own journal comes to 16 large volumes, in the definitive Harvard University Press edition published between 1960 and 1982 and is considered by many, his key literary achievement. He believe to be of great importance the practice of keeping one’s experienced recorded for review and to be drawn upon for later examination.