Kissinger, Mentoring—and You 

Kissinger, Mentoring—and You 

“Good character does not assure worldly success, or triumph in statecraft, but it does provide firm grounding in victory and consolation in failure.”  
Henry Kissinger 

Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy 

Since Henry Kissinger’s passing at the end of 2023, there’s been much debate about his impact on everything from politics to high profile people in the 20th and 21st centuries.  There’s an entire generation who grew up watching him on the evening news.  There is also a generation who read his obit on their electronic newsfeed and wondered, ‘Who’s that old guy?’ 

While we don’t have time to explore this centenarian’s complete resumé, one non-polemic attribute of the former Secretary of State, National Security Advisor and Nobel Prize winner is especially intriguing to the LEADon® team:  his mentorship of others.   Indeed, many U.S. presidents sought his counsel, even well after he “retired”—and he generously shared from his wealth of knowledge and experience (read “Kissinger Had the Ear of Presidents. He Had Their Awe and Ire, Too” at 

The term mentor has interesting origins, dating back to ancient Greece.  According to Homer’s Odyssey, Mentor was a friend who Odysseus trusted to tutor and guide his son while he traveled.  Over the course of time, that individual’s name became the hallmark for anyone who serves as a faithful counselor or offers sage advice.  The depth of wisdom found in the Kissinger quote above reveals why numerous people sought his counsel, and decades of service to his country garnered the respect of countless others (find additional details of his accomplishments at 

At LEADon, we contend that mentoring is vital for the success and significance of leaders and those in their various spheres of influence. But how do you find a qualified mentor? And, as an exceptional leader, how can you become a high-caliber mentor who “supports and advises someone with less experience to help them develop in their work(   

To begin with, we recommend you start by considering the following six characteristics, which explain that a qualified MENTOR should: 

M – model who you want to be or where you would like to grow 

E – exhibit exceptional EQ skills 

N –  have a no-nonsense approach 

T – exemplify trustworthiness 

O – take ownership in his/her own life, and in the mentoring-protégé process 

R – be reliable  

Think about each of these characteristics for identifying a qualified mentor.  Do you have an advisor who meets these requirements? If not, is there someone you could approach who  might be able to assume that role?  And how about you, the leader of your personal and professional teams? How well do you exhibit those six characteristics as you “support and advise” those who have less experience than you? 

Because the LEADon team feels so strongly about the importance of mentoring, we developed an online course, LEADing by Coaching and Mentoring® to help leaders just like you (please visit to find this and over thirty other strategic leadership courses).  You can also discover more about LEADon’s mentoring philosophy in Chapter 8 of Revolutionary Leadership:  Transcendent Lessons from the Life of George Washington (Wilke & Wilke, 2023). 

 As you spend time contemplating this topic, consider how much mentoring might positively impact your life—and the lives of everyone in your personal and professional spheres of influence. And remember, as Dr. Kissinger and his protégés reveal, you are never too elevated in leadership to need a mentor—and you’re never too old to become one. 

If the team at LEADon can answer questions about the mentoring process or any other leadership concerns, please contact us at 858.592.0700, or click here to discover more about what the LEADon experience can offer you and your team.