We’ve all heard and used the words “mentor” and “coach.” Historically a coach was associated with sports teams and organizations. They help athletes train and push themselves to their highest potential. Coaches are selected by the team’s or the organization’s management, not by the specific team members.
A mentor on the other hand, is typically someone you admire and respect who has had great success in the area of study or business that you wish to pursue. Mentors are selected by an individual to help guide them to achieve growth in various aspects of life. The person who selects the mentor also sets the agenda. Coaches tend to give directive advice, while a mentor may ask questions that will help the individual discover how they can improve.
Today these terms are frequently used interchangeably. There are coaches and mentors for just about anything you want to achieve. You’ll find life coaches, financial mentors, organizational coaches, health and wellness coaches, weight loss coaches, coaches to help you stop smoking. And, unlike athletic coaches, the individuals who want to achieve a specific goal select their own coaches.
It doesn’t matter what you want to achieve, having the right coach or mentor will give you the tools and resources to ensure you get where you want to go. And since we all have room to grow, everyone can use a coach or mentor, even coaches and mentors.
Here are a three good reasons for selecting a coach or mentor that will be right for you no matter what term you prefer to use.
- You’ll gain clarity because you’re often too close to a situation to see it clearly. Having another person sharing his or her insights about your situation gives you an outside perspective on how to improve. If you are motivated to make improvements, you’ll place a lot of value on that person’s perspective.
- You’ll have accountability. Without accountability we usually end up with a lot of blame or a lot of excuses as to why things don’t get done. Sometimes both. Because it’s difficult to be accountable to yourself (not impossible, but quite difficult), having someone to whom you’re accountable helps you stay on track with those non-urgent but important actions, which lead to personal and professional growth.
- Coaching and mentoring is custom tailored to you. You can attend all the workshops and read all the books you want, but they will forever be delivered to a bell curve of people, not specifically to you. In coaching and mentoring relationships, everything is customized to meet your individual needs. You’ll have to become vulnerable to some degree and acknowledge your human frailty, but a good mentor or coach is looking for ways you can capitalize on your strengths while compensating for your weaknesses.
Want to learn more about coaching and mentoring?
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