Interview With Your “Invisible Mentor” Rodger Harding

When you think of a mentor, what comes to your mind? Perhaps you think of a champion with whom you meet with regularly. Or, a  person who guides you. But, does a mentor have to be a live person?  Could a mentor be a book, or even an interview?

I think so!

I call these types of mentors “invisible mentors,” and the best thing is that they are just a point and a click away, and you can access them at your convenience. Read Rodger Harding’s interview with an open mind and see what nuggets of wisdom you can pick up. What aspects of the interview can you use in your work and life?

Describe a business challenge you had and how you resolved it.

Challenge: As a small business operator, immersion in tasks/deliverables is often at the expense of new business development; this results in frequent cash flow challenges.

Resolution: To continue working toward my own priorities in the hands-on fashion I love, the pursuit of like-minded clients has resulted in a constant, albeit erratic, flow of referrals

People who believe in me have helped out …without being asked! This is perhaps one of the most gratifying aspects of my life – I have somehow earned the confidence and respect of people who believe that it is important that I continue my work…..

Lessons Learned

  1. It is OK to graciously receive – I had always thought it was my role to be a giver… Learning to receive, has taught me how better to give!
  2. I have tailored my life style to accommodate my business ethic
  3. I can live happily on considerably less than I was used to – Compared to my upbringing and former diplomatic life, I have no status, fewer assets and no power base, yet am happier and a far more useful member of society than ever before…

How did mentors influence your life?

 Mentors have held up the mirror and shown me potential I did not know I had…Oftentimes I only realized the enormity of their contribution years later…

 What’s one core message you received from your mentors?

  That I am a gifted person who has loads of untapped potential…Using this potential will benefit myself and others.

What’s the most important discovery you’ve made in the past year?

I am definitely on the right track professionally. Some 10 years ago I decided to work only with individuals/companies that are a good fit – Many advised that this was the path to ruin – I now know that, given my personality, methodology and experience this was the right choice.

What do you observe most people in your field doing badly that you think you do well?

I prefer to work on a subjective basis with clients, marrying their circumstance/requirements to objective market/industry/workplace realities; I have a strong aversion to labels, profiling and template driven training.

To reach other people requires a degree of risk … I believe I take those risks recognizing, understanding and acknowledging the individuality of others is the greatest validation I can provide!

Tell me about your big break and who gave you.

There have been many! All involved random relationships that blossomed into good business deals.

Example: Soon after starting my business, I was invited to participate in a live call-in television program. A young woman, Emelia Prempeh, later called my office and asked for advice, which I freely gave. A year later she hired me to provide career guidance sessions for graduating classes at the Information Technology Institute – then a vibrant IT college that specialized in training diverse professionals and academic graduates into IT experts. I almost refused the opportunity as the compensation was way below market worth, yet my relationship with Emelia prompted me to accept – – Interaction with some 1700 people has been a vast business and personal resource that persist to this day. The 4 year experience made conscious my theory of what constitutes human excellence. I can honestly say that confidence in my unique approach to empowering others had its foundation in the intensity of the 1700 validating interactions experienced.

What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?

That being myself will not always be the easiest route. Many see this aspect of me as arrogance/attitude, yet despite my self-consciousness, lack of confidence etc. something deep inside has always refused to go with the flow for the sake of an easier ride….

Do you have problems integrating work and life? Do you waste time thinking about what could have been? How have mentors influenced your life? And, when are you happy, have you ever stopped to think about it? To read Rodger Harding’s responses to these questions and more, download the entire interview at

For more than a decade Rodger Harding’s Toronto based Business Leadership Consultancy has provided high level consulting, training & keynote speaking services to diverse corporate, government and not-for- profit clients. His skill-set has evolved over almost three decades in an international career that spans, Law, Diplomacy and Business Consulting.

Excerpt from January/Febraury 2009 Ambeck Edge


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