THREE REASONS EVERY COACH NEEDS A MENTOR
Most coaches enter the profession with a vision on building a career. Simply stated, anyone who is building a career will need help along the way. One need not look far to find a mentor. Experienced coaches, current and former, can serve effectively as mentors. But a mentor needn’t be an ex-coach. Sometimes the ex-coach as mentor can undermine growth and development by spending too much time on “this is how I handled it.” All coaches can benefit from the wisdom and insight of others. The energy and growth from relevant learning interactions can be a career game-changer. Here are three important contributions that mentor relationships can provide:
Learning from others further down the career road can be intimidating at first. Yet, what feels like a big deal initially, may not be a big deal in the larger scheme of things. It’s important to know what to sweat and what to forget–when it’s okay to let something roll off your back and when you should stop and reflect more deeply. Great mentors have a better view of the broad landscape. Effective mentors excel at asking questions, specifically the types of questions that lead you to reflect on your performance, behavior, and goals as well has how to learn from your mistakes and successes.
Mentors can help you make sense of your current situation; the small things as well as developing expertise from your experiences. They don’t tell you what to do. Instead they use questions to teach you how to think constructively on your own. In the process, they help you realign your perspective with the reality of the situation, to provide you the smoothest, most natural path forward in a way that is authentic to who you are.
There is an old saying that “nothing succeeds like success.” This means success bread success, that you have a better chance of being successful if you’re successful. This is only partly true. We may gain confidence from our successes, but it’s our failures that develop our leadership muscle and offer the most powerful insights. When you are expected to learn from your mistakes, it’s important to be able to view that process in a positive light–to see how valuable and rich hard-won lessons can be. Every coach needs positive energy to move forward in their career. An effective mentor will help you build self-confidence step-by-step, through victory and defeat, success and failure, and all the challenges that emerge along your coaching journey.