3 Ways to Fully Benefit From Mentor Coaching: #1 Build A Strong Foundation
You can be a coach without being a mentor. And you can be a mentor without being a coach. Isn’t this just a case of semantics? Don’t coaches, mentors, consultants, and trainers all do the same thing basically? No, there are subtle but vital differences that form the relationship between the client and the Mentor/Coach/Trainer/Counselor. You need to understand these differences to fully benefit from Mentor Coaching, which is the ultimate way to accelerate personal and professional growth. Mentor Coaching is like coaching on steroids!
Mentoring vs coaching vs consulting vs counseling vs training
Here’s a brief definition for each of these roles, so you can start to get an idea of the differences.
Mentoring: A long-term relationship, wherein an experienced person guides another through career development or personal growth in a holistic manner.
Coaching: Partnering in a thoughtful and creative process to maximize personal and professional potential.
Consulting: Assessing practices and suggesting refinements or improvements.
Counseling: Healing pain, dysfunction, or conflict for an improved emotional state.
Training/Teaching: Working together to achieve a specific skill or learning objective.
All of these deal with one-on-one sessions that help a client to achieve something. Some professionals can approach the sessions very dispassionately, because in many cases, the coach/counselor/teacher may not have experienced the situation personally. So they ask questions and guide the client to find new solutions on their own.
But effective mentors have mindfully experienced and noted how different situations have affected them and what they’ve done to keep moving forward. They become very passionate about helping their clients overcome roadblocks to achieve their goals. They have been trained to do this objectively – be passionately invested, without controlling the outcome. If you want a person who puts their heart into helping you succeed, hire a Mentor Coach!
How is mentor coaching different from mentoring?
Mentor coaching involves an experienced coach giving guidance and feedback to a professional coach who wants to improve their coaching skills, develop their coaching practice, and enhance their overall effectiveness as a coach. The mentor coach observes the coach being mentored in action and provides feedback on their coaching style, techniques, and approach. The Mentor Coaching I offer is specifically designed to help ICF coaches achieve the required credentialing. (If you’re not a member of the International Coaching Federation, my mentoring will still work for you, because I’ve rolled my life experience into a unique and very successful approach for mentoring each client.)
3 Ways to Benefit from Mentor Coaching
If you want to work with a mentor, you can benefit from mentor coaching the most by communicating your needs, managing your expectations, and then doing the work to build skills and change behavior. While drawing on their experience, a skilled mentor never has to “be the expert” who tells the client what to do and how to behave. Here are three important ways to benefit from mentor coaching:
1. Lay a good foundation on which you can build. This starts with communicating well during the 30-minute consultation. This is the basis for your contract:
- agree mutually on respective expectations and responsibilities,
- confirm essentials like the scheduling appointments, the structure of each session (Example: 45-minutes, via Zoom, 2nd & 4th Tues of each month for the next 5 months), and cancellation procedures,
- discuss how you will handle conflict or problems if they arise.
2. Build respect and trust in the relationship. Both parties must be genuinely interested in each other and open to deeply hearing what the other is saying.
3. Feedback or criticism must be viewed as a learning tool, not as an act or statement of judgment. It’s uncomfortable to be challenged and to grow. Welcome this discomfort, avoid defensiveness, and look for what you need to learn.
Tips for the one being mentored
- Be very clear about your objectives and discuss how you’ll know you’ve achieved them.
- Come to each session with an eager, open, flexible mind.
- Respect your mentor’s advice, guidance, experience, and expertise, while confidently questioning things you don’t understand or agree with.
- Be specific — don’t muddle or complicate your questions, stories, etc.
- Ask for feedback and accept it as a challenge you’re eager to take on.
Tips for mentors
- Genuinely care about your client and treat her as an equal.
- Draw out your client with open-ended questions. Never assume you know.
- Give commendation often — always start any feedback with genuine praise.
- Be positive and forward-thinking to get the client through the next steps.
- Share your experience openly and honestly when it’s on point and will help the client make progress. Don’t overshare if it distracts or disheartens.
- Prepare for each session with the client in mind. Illustrate the main point(s) with a personal experience.
- Provide focus. Many people struggle with prioritization and chasing after distractions – be their anchor – hone in on the most meaningful things at this time.
- Replenish yourself constantly so you have new and fresh things to give.
As a mentor, you are using your experience to show others that they, too, can navigate the path to their full potential.
To benefit from mentoring coaching each person must walk the talk. It’s not enough to encourage them to do as you say, but not as you do. We must embody our beliefs and dreams. They should mold our very shape. Our body tells the story. When you practice embodiment, you value, motivate, and bring out the best in yourself and the people around you, which can leave a lasting impact. What kind of impact will you make? If you’d like to explore this further, download my free report, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a coach or a mentor, the principles can be applied to both your life and your business.
And if you’re looking for ICF Mentor Coaching, I’d love to offer you a free 30-minute consultation to see if we’re a good fit for each other.
Thank you for the photo Felipe Correia