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Jay Parkhe’s C.A.L.M. Approach to Mentoring and Greased Lightening

One of the Sub-Approaches within his Professional Mentoring Practice Jay Parkhe uses is named by him as CALM – Concentrated, Accelerated, Learning Methods.  There is nothing calm about it.  And the usual Perceptive feedback/ Feedforward he received form his Direct reports 22 years ago and his latest Mentees is no Different.  “Jay, you are too fast paced for us”.  Yes, Jay is a man in a hurry and in the Give mode, he likes to share all that he have – no holds barred to every Coached / Mentee.  Let me take a phrase that comes to my mind. It is called Greased Lightning”  Its  Meaning is :  Simply “Very fast or quick.”and the Concentration has different Learning connotation – Acceleration comes from this word called Greased Lightning and that defines Jay’s style of mentoring.

Jay derives motivation from Serena Williams quote, “At my age, I see the finish line. And, when you see the finish line, you don’t slow down. You Speed up.”

The Concentrated Learning Method is rather simple.  I learnt it from a Volunteer lady who came to teach children some 12 years ago to a school TNT was funding called ‘Parikrma Foundation”.  What I learnt from her ( sorry, I forgot her name – my senior moments 🙂 ) but the learning was precious.

She said she is teaching Kindergarten school children 4 things:  ” READ, WRITE, LISTEN and SPEAK”.

I used this for Adult learning, coaching, mentoring as a Tool/ technique and it is a fiercely KickAss Mentor training, as it was my belief that Adults already are Learned people and they would soon understand.  Only I brought in the Technology perspective here and that changed the Mentee, coached or my Direct reports perceptions totally and invoked the “too fast paced”comment.  Let me explain. How does Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking happen in a MNC Corporate environment?  What are the tools  and techniques and Technology at the command of Senior Executives and C-Level Executives. Tremendous. The back room IT solutions provider team makes more and more user friendly softwares and solutions to help the often IT illiterate C-Level Executive or the aspirant for those positions.  Being a FAST TRACK recruiter I found the MBAs, Freshers from B school more literate and able to adopt the technology that seniors.

So what does this Method entail.  I ask Coachee/ Mentees

Read : Reading habits, Reading times, Any habits of note taking, Best times of undisturbed reading, Type of reading – fiction/ non-fiction, poetry etc. Then I ask about reading SMS, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Facebook Posts, Linkedin Posts and Influencer articles, Kindle e-books etc. I also focus on their email reading habits – the average time spent, the total time taken to read and respond to mails and electronic message.  Millennials are faster, sharper, adopt technology well and use smartphone, ipads, tablets, laptops well.  Then I test them on their Reading skill with Best and worst readability short and long messages and mails. Sometimes flooding them with important and unimportant messages.

What I notice or observe just by observing is : Short or longer attention span, What they like to read and from whom.  The time of the day when they are most or least receptive and also gauge their response time and setting of priorities. Many Crack, Some give feedforward – They Win.  Some Keep quiet but stop responding – They lose.

Sometimes I also ask them to read aloud their emails just to see their own reactions to some of the words they use in their messages/ mails.  It is wonderful and makes people realise where they can get better and still better.  It helps.

Write:  I sometimes provoke and test them on their short and long hand messages.  Their precis writing skills, the use of jargons, the cliche’s and the slang, abbreviations, abusive words marked with S@#4 or F#$% etc. etc. – Feedforward again works when they are requested to Read aloud the SHORT and long messages and email to gauge the impact this will have on the receivers of the messages.  I also introduce here some of the latest technology, tools, browser extensions, abstract writers, phrase generators etc. and some CRM tools like RocketBolt, Boomerang, Mailtrack and Grammarly etc.  These help me to gauge their Diction, vocabulary and refine their language depending upon their stage to prepare for the C-Level positions.  For Entrepreneurs and business people it becomes tortuous but if they are chasing a big dream and ( I do not coach or mentor anyone who does not have a big dream any way)  wish to be a Corporate some day or a Unicorn = they know what they are lacking.  I sometime comfort them by saying that you recruit the best of Executive Assistant with a flair for official writing, business writing, Report writing, Pitch writing, Appraisal feedback writing etc.  All of this is usually taken well and people know their areas where they have to get better. 

Listen:  This works both ways. Sometimes, as Coach / Mentor I monopolise the talk time and make the coachee/ Mentee fret and fume for not getting a chance to speak.  I also tell them that interruptions are bad as they come in the way of a brainwave/ thought process of the speaker.  It irritates them like hell. I then begin to count their number of interruptions and point them to improve. Sometimes, I just go quiet and respond only in monosyllables or do not respond to many messages – but write one curt, short or long mail covering all important points from my perspective ignoring deliberately what is important from Mentee’s point of view.  This is to make them understand that the listener also need Accuracy, Brevity and clarity just as the written communicator needs. Long periods of quiet can hurt both ways and if the Coacheee/ mentee begins to go into quietude/ silence or starts cursing under the breath – these are tell-tale signs that the Coaching may not last longer as they have begun to crack.  Some mentees actually get very angry at these provocative, challenging but SILENT interventions and CRACK ! 

Speak: This one is the most interesting part.  Many people choose Mixed – Khichdi ( use of colloquial, ethnic terms) when the listener has no clue, no context, no perspective and they struggle to find meaning into what is being said.  Some feel most comfortable using local language phrases, idioms, cliche’s which they are not so adept at translating and expect the listener to be the know all.  Some take offence being asked to repeat as they mumble or speak their local language mumbo-jumbo which often sound Greek and Roman to listener.  Some speakers are so philosophical that they HAVE to quote the likes of Plato, Aristotle or bring in some Great Poet like Rumi into their conversations that the listener struggles with the meanings all the time. 

For the Slang users I tell them to search Google for Mentor Lyrics in the most explicit language and practice.  They give up after some time saying it is so GROSS ! 🙂

Some are fluent, some speak at 50 w p m and beat Stephen Hawkins while others beat the Ferrari’s and speak 160+ words per minute.  It takes an effort to discipline them and make them audience focused, audience centric and understand those for whom they are speaking.

In all, it is an enjoyable CALM learning technique.

Next I follow up only with the C-Level is : Tell, Sell, Inform, Consult, Advice or Ask – difference in the communication.

For project managers the RACI or RASCI are better  examples of communication and many a times it is the best technique to use with Startups too.

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