Monday, September 20, 2010

Find a Mentor; Be a Mentor; Why we all can use a Coach

An article from Vanessa at

When I was a young kid I had a couple of folks very special in my life besides my parents and grandparents. One was my cousin and one was my uncle. Both spent a lot of time with me, doing whatever we did, even if it was just hanging out. It was the giving of time that made a difference. It was years before I realized that they were big mentors for me as I always just considered them family. I came to realize that whether it was teaching me about determination, standing up for yourself or having a strong work ethic their influence stays with me today.

As a late twentysomething, I discovered my passion for giving back to my community and spent a number of years involved with a program for at-risk youth; a few of those years as a personal mentor to two kids. The years were challenging, sometimes overwhelmingly emotional but most of all I find it to be one of the most rewarding times of my life. To help make a positive difference in the life of another, we’ll, it’s hard to beat that for me.

These experiences helped shaped me into who I am today. Almost a decade ago when I started to pursue my Coaching Certification I had to first work with a coach on my own topics/issues, learning more and more about myself. I’ve worked through my limiting beliefs about myself and I have learned how to deal when them when their ugly heads arise. I also discovered my passion and purpose in life.

I progressed through the training process and was able to work with other people as a requirement to complete Certification. Since then I have coached a variety of people around life issues, business issues, or sometimes both.

The Dictonary describes a Mentor as: 1) a wise and trusted counselor or teacher 2) an influential senior sponsor or supporter

The Dictionary decribes a Coach (among other things like a car) as:
1) A person who trains an athelete or team.

This topic came to my mind yesterday during a 4 hour drive to and from a meeting. I was thinking about some of the reasons I have been successful in life and in my career, how and why I made it through ups and downs, and why 99% of the time I have an optimistic positive attitude. I was also thinking about what drives me to be so passionate about helping others. It came back to my mentors/coaches in life. I still have people I call upon when I need to work through a situation; sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes 20-30. Those minutes make the difference and help me be successful.

A mentor or coach will ask the tough questions when you don’t want to see them, or will guide you to get to the core of the matter that’s hitting you in the gut – you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you can’t get rid of and may not be sure why it is there.

I’d like you, dear reader, to think about finding yourself a mentor. As entrepreneurs, we lead isolated and lonely lifes at times as we pour our hearts into our businesses. A mentor may be someone you know already or it may be someone new to your life. It may be a trusted friend or someone you hire.

This person can help you move your business and your life to new levels if you ask them to and then let them help you. When you set up a true mentor/coach relationship, you set the expecation of the relationship. Don’t just pick a friend to call and say, “Can you help me work through this issue?”. That is always nice but I am talking about a formal relationship with the expectation of mentoring and support and calling it like it is.

What you do is find the person who may have a little more knowledge/experience in an area you’re seeking guidance or be a little more succesful and say, “I am looking for a mentor/coach, would you be willing to meet with me periodically to talk about XYZ?” Then you set up a formal schedule, like once a week for coffee.

After a substantial period of time, whether it is 6 months or more, you may get to the point where you don’t have formal weekly meetings anymore.

I know I can pick up the phone or send an email at anytime and the cavalry will be there to help me through a situation.

Is it time for you to develop your cavalry?

original article:
Find a Mentor; Be a Mentor; Why we all can use a Coach