Christiane Ouimet: The ultimate tor-mentor?

Posted December 16, 2010 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

I love the Globe and Mail’s columnist Christie Blatchford.  She has a way with straight talk and, in yesterday’s column, went after Christiane Ouimet (the former integrity watchdog who’s under the heat lamp for abusing her staff).  Apparently, Ouimet expensed two lunches that were for “mentoring” meetings. As Blatchford asserts, it’s a scary thought that this woman would be “mentoring” anyone!  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, just because you’ve got a big fat title, doesn’t mean you’re actually a great leader or mentor.  But, it did get me thinking about the roles that “tor-mentors” like Christiane Ouimet can play in actually driving your success.

In Richard St. John’s book, 8 to be Great, he identifies the 8 factors that lead people to achieve success.  Check out this great summary video here:

One of the “eights” is to Push. You need to push through fears, procrastination, laziness, etc. etc.  And, if you can’t push yourself, then you need someone who can push you.  In the book he talks about the role of the “tor-mentor”.

Unlike a mentor who offers encouragement and support, a tor-mentor is that fifth grade teacher who told you you’d never amount to anything.  Former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman was a “tor-mentor” for David Miller.  I remember seeing a clip at him shouting in council at Miller “You will never be mayor of this city because you say stupid and dumb things!”  Well, we all know how that turned out.

I like the idea of “wronging” a tor-mentor (it probably appeals to my competitive nature), and success is definitely the best revenge.  However, I also know it’s easy when you’re angry with someone to find yourself consumed by the anger, which won’t get you anywhere.  The key is to leverage the emotion and get moving. Stewing about what a tor-mentor said will just make you bitter but pushing yourself out there to get the work done… now that will get you to where you want to be.

Happy leading!


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  1. Tor-mentors absolutely have a role in your success – I’ve had a few, and they’ve taught me how NOT to be. They’re completely maddening and amazingly instructive. With a dash of bemusement, we can all get through pretty much anything at work; as you say Glain, roll into the momentum and use it to your advantage. There’s nothing like riding the wave unleashed by a Tor-mentor, becoming a linchpin on the team, then sticking it to them by leaving and bringing what you learned to another organization that deserves you more!