Rule of thumb for mentoring: the mentor pays for the IQ test up front

There are a lot of life coaches out there, and they don’t have a great reputation as a group. This idea may fix that.

The most important practical fact about a person is their g, by definition of the term. Therefore, getting as accurate and precise a measure of their IQ as possible is the highest priority task of a mentor, since this sets the boundaries of potential future plans. This step also cuts to the core of the investment problem: both the mentor and the mentee have to be irrationally invested in the mentee for the relationship to be productive. If the mentor is merely acting rationally, the mentee will eventually learn the relationship is low-trust. If the mentee is merely acting rationally, then whether intentional or not they will take advantage of the mentor’s good will.

Mentors are assumed to be the higher-agency actor in the relationship, so that the responsibility falls on their shoulders to set the tone. Therefore, they must be the one to judge whether they should make the first investment. If for whatever reason they don’t want to spend $200 on someone (or can’t), then they have no business mentoring that person and should refuse to enter this type of intimate advisory relationship. The mentor can then use the investment as a very simple argument for compliance to the training plan during the initial probationary period, “Please do your homework to justify my $200 worth of investment in you.” This either leads the mentee to get invested in their own goals in the way the mentor wants (building personal agency through action) or can serve as an excuse to end the relationship before too much time is wasted. I.e. “I told you this was a probationary period up front. If you can’t invest $200 worth of work in yourself after I spent that money on you, then I will not mentor you anymore until you can come back and show me that you’ve done your assignments.”

My experience is that you should never give advice to someone who doesn’t already trust you, as it just embitters them against you, and you should never mentor someone who did not approach you first. Re: the latter, whether someone deserves their extreme low-agency situation is immaterial, since it’s ultimately a sunk cost to invest in someone who’s de facto comatose, which will just depress the mentor. This up front investment will also encourage mentors to have realistic expectations for mentees starting out, since they won’t want to repeatedly drop $200 on people and then break off with them over failure to comply with unreasonably high expectations. Remember, the rule for this is to build confidence through beginner gains and then settle into a slow program of progressive overload, no more than 10% habitual improvement per week. All teaching relationships are a process of continual negotiation between where a person already is and where they could be tomorrow, given a bit of extrinsic motivation and guidance. Assume the sale, etc. Catabolic collapse is a predictable failure mode, so avoid it!

And yes, this means if I’m mentoring you then you should take this as an instruction to look for a venue to get your IQ tested properly.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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2 Responses to Rule of thumb for mentoring: the mentor pays for the IQ test up front

  1. Aeoli Pera says:

    Blog cancelled, sorry everyone.

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