Dual Footprints, Part 3 – A Commitment to Transparency

This is the third article in a series about becoming a world class mentor. Part 2 addressed the commitment of time and in this article, we will look at the importance of being transparent during the process.

The ability to see through the glass

This past March, I flew from Denver to Sacramento, California. As we began to cross the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, I took the above photo through the transparent glass. If the window had been fogged over, only allowing light to pass through, then it would have been translucent. If someone had painted the window black, then I would have seen nothing, including light because the glass would have been opaque.

Opaque, translucent, and transparent. In a mentoring relationship, if either party is opaque, not allowing any light to pass through, then there will be no personal growth. In a situation like this, frustration quickly takes root, and the mentoring dissolves in short order.


Trust is a necessary component of a successful mentoring relationship. At first, the mentee may hold back and not fully disclose where they are personally and/or professionally, creating a situation that fits the definition of translucent. In circumstances such as this, the mentor should reassure the mentee that their meetings are confidential, and information will not be shared with supervisors. On this note, I’ll add that mentoring works better with someone outside of the organization to alleviate those concerns. It is also important to note that if something arises that falls into the legal or personal safety realm, then that paints a different picture, but that is not the subject of this series.


Therefore, to be successful, the mentor and mentee must be open and transparent with each other. Not attacking, caustic, or spiteful, but open. If you are the type of person who is more worried about being politically correct and fearful of sharing the truth to help the other person grow, then don’t bother being a mentor!

A mentor should focus on helping the other person grow and develop. This is accomplished by asking questions, listening to the other person, and sharing our knowledge and experiences with them, but not in an overbearing manner.

Next week Part 4 will address the commitment to slay the ego.

Are you transparent? Are you willing to share your failures to help someone else learn? If not what holds you back? With coaching, I can help you improve your skills and abilities as a mentor for you to be more effective and impactful in this important role. Contact me at [email protected] and visit my website at www.fireofficerleadershipacademy.com.

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