Doug Lawrence went from being a Canadian Mounted Police to a mentor which led him to writing a book on mentoring. He has spent his time with various groups being a mentor and teaching others about mentoring.
Ken Blanchard is Doug’s favorite author:
He buys most of his books digitally, but does like Indigo:
Links may be affiliate links.
Stephen: welcome to another episode of Discovered Wordsmiths. It’s great to have you along. We’re approaching episode 50 and I’ve got some special things planned for that. But before we get there, today’s author is Doug Lawrence. He has a non-fiction book about mentoring Doug. Comes from being a mounted Canadian police and in his retirement he has been doing mentoring for various groups and teaching people how to mentor.
So this book is a great book to read if you’re dealing with others, if you’re working with others, trying to help them in some way. Like a scout group, which I talk about. It’s a. Great book, great talk. Check Doug out if that’s something that you need in your life. And come back each week, find more authors, more books, find new things to read.
Here’s Doug. Welcome to the podcast discovered Wordsmiths. And today I’ve got Doug Lawrence. Welcome to the podcast, Doug. Yes,
Doug: good morning. Thank you very much for having me.
Stephen: I always like to get to know the authors a little bit. And I know we’re having some tough times right now. But tell us a little bit about yourself outside of your writing life.
Doug: So Saskatchewan Farm Boy retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer. Started my own company, talente, focused on mentoring in the fall of 2009 and have been, Working full-time as a mentor since that time period and and decided to write a book at one stage in my life.
Stephen: Nice. What’s it like being a mentor like that?
Doug: It, I work with people of from all different walks of life I work with A lot of my stuff lately has been mentoring in the mental health space. So I work with I’m part of the American Corporate Partners Program in the United States, helping service people transition from service life to civilian life.
And a lot of them are dealing with with post-traumatic stress. And so I’m doing that. I’m doing lots of stuff in the leadership space, helping leaders enhance their skill sets. In order to become stronger and better leaders in their organization. Work with entrepreneurs. I’m part of the Sir Richard Branson entrepreneur program in the Caribbean, where we mentor young entrepreneurs who are starting their business out under, under the Branson banner, I guess is the best way to describe it.
Stephen: That’s pretty cool. So you get to go down to the Caribbean a little bit.
Doug: No. Such like everything, everything is virtual.
Stephen: Okay. So you mentioned a couple hobbies. Is do you consider writing a hobby or is, do you consider yourself a full-time writer?
Doug: No. It would definitely be a hobby.
Yeah, it would definitely, it would not. I’m not full-time by any stretch. In fact, that’s probably one of my challenges is to find the time to, to actually, to be able to. Focus on my writing. It’s what I find is challenging at times is when I’m in, in the zone and I’m, things are going well, the words just come to me and they go right on the paper.
When I’m not in the zone, I’m fighting it every single step of the
Stephen: way. Yeah. Un understand that. I think a lot of authors have that issue. And it’s getting into that flow state. Everyone aspires to. Yeah. Okay. So when you finally decided to write what made you go I’m writing now.
You, you were thinking about it. What made you say, I wanna write now?
Doug: I actually had three of my mentors that sorta gave me the kick in the backside to say, you, you need to get out there and you need to write this book. And, they they were the ones that pushed and I ended up I actually, I used the services of a ghost writer to help me get started and we were able to, I’d written a ton of blog articles and had them on my website and we actually scraped some of those off the website and used them as content.
And then I built stuff around it. It was actually the three people who, like I said, who were mentors for me, that actually were the push I needed to write the
Stephen: book. Nice. Okay. So tell us about that book. Tell us what it’s called and what it’s about.
Doug: The Gift of mentoring is a book that, so when I was being g we’ll call it guided to write my book a large.
Part of of what we found when we were starting to gather the content and doing some research and stuff, and what things do we need to cover and what things do we not need to cover. What I found was that there were lots of mentoring books from an academic perspective, but none from the practical application.
So none that spoke to, if this happens in a mentoring conversation. Then you may wanna consider doing this, or this. And what it basically was for me was my taking my lived experience as a mentor and providing that as, here’s how you can practically apply mentoring process and concepts and do it in a fashion that wasn’t out there.
There were very there were mostly books that were all academically focused. These are the processes, these are the concepts. This is why mentoring, why you do mentoring and stuff like that, but none about the how to actually do
Stephen: it. So what’s some advice or what’s a good tip or something you have in
Doug: your book?
There’s obviously there’s a number of tips that are in the book, but one that sort of stands out is that we as mentors need to focus on the, our ability to be able to develop trust. So you need to have a trusted relationship. And so as a mentor, you want to be able to, to be able to develop that in a relatively short period of time so that you can bring value to the mentoring relationship.
Now, here’s the challenge that a lot of people face, is that in order to build that trusted relationship, it may mean that I sometimes have to share something very personal about who I am as a person. So it could be something as my growing up I had to deal with alcoholism in my family.
And as a result of that, I have some lived experience in that particular area that I can share with somebody else and help them to be able to move forward. So the big thing is you need to build trust, but you also need to, be humble and have some degree of humility that you can actually share something personal.
Stephen: And that’s very important, building that trust. I haven’t been a mentor per se. I’ve been a scout leader and you’ve got the same thing working with the boys cuz when you’re, middle aged and you’ve got 15 year old boys, you’ve gotta get some of that trust up there. So it’s a skill that Could be very useful in many different situations.
And do you include some of these stories of yourself personally in the book a as examples for people to help build that
Doug: trust? Yeah. I believe there’s five or six case studies slash stories that are in there that are in the book. And the feedback I’ve had from anyone who’s read the book is that, in some cases they could actually see themselves in that story.
So that’s part of what, what I was hoping to accomplish was for people to pick the book up and go, yeah, this is me. I’ve actually had people tell me that have gone and read the book, that it was like they were sitting on a park bench with me and I was reading the story to them cuz they could actually Yes, that’s something Doug would say.
And this would be his tone of voice. And so for me that was the, that was the, if you needed a pat on the back, that was the one I was looking for.
Stephen: Nice. And I know your voice is something all authors work on, so having that camaraderie f. That, very friendly feeling voice in the book in know, especially a non-fiction book like this can be important, but I think a lot of non-fiction authors find it difficult.
It gets very dry in and I would guess in a book like this with mentoring, it really needs that friendlier tone rather than the dry business. Here’s the facts.
Doug: Exactly. Yeah. You want to be able to. I if there’s one thing that, that I take away from all the stuff I do, and that is the aspect of I love to tell stories and, to tell stories.
You you need to inject your passion. You need to inject, your, the fact that you actually care about people, those that you’re mentoring and working with. And so you need to be able to do all of those things and have that come out. And when they pick the book up it just needs to, you need to feel that when you’re reading the book.
And that’s what I’m being told is that’s the experience. Anyone who goes through and reads the book, that’s the experience that they get from going
Stephen: through it. Nice. And then I figure that’s exactly what you need for that book. It probably would do less well being more dry.
Doug: Yeah, I would agree that and it would be very difficult cuz part of the reason for writing the book was to get the word out.
So we talk about the gift of mentoring. And so I wanted to be able to, my philosophy is if even one person reads the book, that’s one more than Reddit yesterday, and that’s one more person who will understand the mentoring processes and that they too will then be able to provide a deeper, richer mentoring experience.
For the people that they’re mentoring. And would
Stephen: you consider, like teachers as mentors also that this book could benefit or even a manager with employees? Would you consider, who all would you consider fits into that category? I, when
Doug: I wrote the book, I wrote it so that it was it wasn’t taking into account that this is going to appeal to this type of industry.
I. Or this type of person. It was, I wanted everybody to, to obviously to be able to get their hands on the book and to be able to go through and read it. Cuz it’s written as though it’s written like it was me and it is me, but, it’s, it was written in that context was that the book is there for everybody, somebody, everybody will take away something from the book, no matter.
What organization they work in, no matter what position they hold in the organization, no matter what they, their family, upbringing and all of that, you will take something home from this book no matter what.
Stephen: Nice. And you talked about people giving you some feedback. Are there any stories people have shared with you?
What, what’s some of the other things people are telling you after reading the book?
Doug: The, the biggest story that I get from the majority of the people is the park bench story is, it’s like having you sitting there right beside us reading the book to us, cuz we can hear your voice, we can, we can hear the passion that you have for mentoring and for helping others be the best that they can be.
We can hear all of that as we’re going through and reading the book. And that’s probably the, the. The biggest story. I think I’ve had a couple that have said that, reading the book changed my life. I was, I went out and found myself a mentor cuz I, now I understood what mentoring was about and why it actually is a gift.
And so I went out and found myself a mentor and, was able to, go through a life-changing process which mentoring can actually do. And it’s even. It’s even more important today where, we have the silent pandemic, as I choose to call it, which is the whole mental health story is here’s a place where mentoring can play a part as well
Stephen: I agree.
The whole mental health issue, that’s been something personal for me because of some past experiences and I think there’s a big issue, especially in our country with mental health and definitely having a mentor that you can rely on, talk to, and someone that’ll. Point you into the mirror and say, Hey, take a look at yourself.
I think that’s isn’t that kinda what alcoholics Anonymous is really based on people mentoring each other, knowing what you’re going through?
Doug: Yeah. Cuz you actually, I, I can’t remember the exact term, but it’s like you have a buddy that you can call, at any given time for, help because you may feel that you have, something’s changed, a trigger has taken place in.
You’re going to reach to grab the bottle and have a drink, and so you call your buddy who, talks you off the ledge and gets you back to, to some sort of normalcy of some sort. But yeah it’s much the same sort of thing.
Stephen: It sounds like this book isn’t just targeted to people who want to be a mentor, but maybe also people that could use mentoring or to understand what mentoring can do.
It’s a little bit of both of those. Is that correct?
Doug: Yeah, that’s correct. And the idea was when we wrote the Gift of mentoring, or when I wrote the gift of mentoring it, it was not to pigeonhole the book into one particular area. I wanted to make sure that it, it was a lot broader in scope and that it addressed a number of different aspects.
What I’ve been saying is that the book was intended not to be industry specific, not to be person specific, but. And not to be, your upbringing was this, and mentoring’s not gonna help you. It was dis, it was written with the intent that the book was for everybody and that everybody would take something away from it no matter where they were in their life and no matter what they were doing.
Stephen: Nice. And did you independently publish this or did you get a publisher?
Doug: No, it was self-published. Yeah, it was self-published. Okay. That by itself is a journey as well. When you self-publish, there’s so many little things you need to learn and, ideally it would be better time-wise, I think my time would be better invested to hand off to a publisher and say, okay, just tell me when to show up, so to speak and be able to deal with it that
Got it. So I gotta ask, going through the self-publishing process, the writing process the first time, did you have a mentor to help you with all of that?
Doug: I had mentors that helped with the editing process who were good enough to step to the plate and help with that. I actually, yeah, when, now that I think of it, I actually, I had one of my mentors who had just gone through the process themself, and so they had, all the stumbling blocks that I may encounter.
They actually had captured those already and said you need to think about this. You need. They were the ones that suggested a ghost writer. And I went, what the heck’s that? And we ended up, I used the services of a ghost writer to just more so to help package things up a little bit better.
And the ghost writer knew the process, how to go through self-publishing, so they knew all the steps. And how you had to design a cover for the book and, There was a whole bunch of things that I would never have known anything about. Yeah, short answer would be I did have a mentor that helped guide me through that process, for
So y you basically put your own process to work use your own sayings to do what you needed to do. That’s great. Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Okay. So do you have any plans for a follow-up book? Something to go with it or maybe something completely different?
Doug: It is. Yes. The answer to that is yes. I’m actually probably about 60% through the research and content development.
So the next book is going to be just haven’t really settled on the title and stuff yet, and it’s probably a little early for that, but the book will be based on mentoring and mental health. So I’m what? I’m,
Stephen: what I’m going, I see that
Doug: one. Yeah it is very timely. There’s so much stuff going on in the world today that, mental health is playing a piece to that.
It’s, I’ve been asked once again to, you need to write this book, Doug. You gotta get it out. So I need to, to be able to pull all that stuff together and it’s gonna be follow much the same style or format where I’ll be sharing lots of lived experiences. I’ve actually interviewed some people that I’m going to include that interview in the book as a way of them telling their story and then I’ll link back into that to be able to say, now, if you were the mental health mentor, how would you deal with this particular situation?
And let me share some of my lived experience with you on how. I might think is the best way to deal with that.
Stephen: I’d look forward to talking to you after that one too. That’d be great. So let me ask you, Doug do you have any favorite authors or any favorite books?
Doug: I do actually one of ’em, one of my favorite, most favorite authors, and there’s lots of them, but it’s Ken Blanchard and he writes a series of books.
Yep. It’s. Whale done. Gungho raving fans and servant leadership are the ones that actually come to mind. And here’s the thing. He is so much he’s a lot better at writing than I am. But what he does is he tells a story in every one of his books, and that’s what I absolutely love to do, is take my story or take my book and turn it into a storybook where I’m sharing lived experiences and all sorts of things.
Because I know when it, when I pick up a Blanchard book, I don’t put it down. I have to read it, cover to cover and sometimes twice.
Stephen: Nice. I’ll put a link to that also, along with your book, do you have any, where you live and I know lockdown changed all this, but do you have a favorite bookstore that you like to go to in your area?
Doug: I’ve been, most of the stuff I get, I do online, like a lot of people do. We have a I believe it’s Indigo, is the bookstore the biggest, the big one here in the city. And I’ve gone browsing in there a few times pre covid. Don’t do a lot of browsing nowadays, but the big thing is I usually know what I’m looking for.
So sometimes it’s just as easy to shop online and get it and, other than waiting for it to be delivered, but Yeah, that would be indigo here in the city would be the only place I think that I could probably that I would go shopping for a book. Okay.
Stephen: All right. Doug, tell us one more time the name of your book and where we can get it.
Doug: Okay. The book is The Gift of Mentoring and the book is available through Amazon, so you can go to the Amazon site and if you type in the gift of mentoring and do a search. You’ll, the book will be, you’ll find the book there. So I believe it’s amazon.ca and I believe it’s on, still on the amazon.com site.
There is a Kindle version that you can also, you can get the Kindle version and that, I’m trying to think, but it might even be
Stephen: free. Okay. It’s been great talking to you about your book. I look forward to going to reading it. It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful thing in the world.