Coach, Mentor, Trainer
You have read that you need a coach, or that you should find a mentor. Your boss may have told you to get some training. Feeling stuck in your career, or just life. Which one do you choose? What is the best way to find the answers? After all, finding answers is what you are most interested in, isn’t it? If you are trying to learn something new, or learn something fast – it’s all about learning. What is the best way? Let’s look at a simple rule of the three types of information exchange.
Many people get confused as to what they are looking for. If, for example, you are trying to learn how to drive a car, you need to be trained. Although we witness many forms of drivers during rush hour each day, there is “a proper way to drive”. This is something that can be trained. We sit in class, listen how to hold our hands at 10 and 2, or in that general vicinity. We are told the importance of checking our mirrors, and scanning the traffic for potential hazards. At a certain point, we actually apply what we are being trained on, with an instructor beside us telling us all the things we did well and what we need to work on.
Eventually we are all given our license, and forget everything we were ever trained on the first time we were late for work! A quick summary of training, is that it usually comes downhill. The instructor provides details on how you can achieve a certain level of skill. You try to apply it, then you are tested to see if you recall it. I call this a “one and done” approach.
Let’s continue the analogy of learning how to drive. We are now experienced drivers after the initial training, and then on the job use of the skill. But we are not yet experts. We agree (with ourselves, not our spouse) that there could be some added benefit to coaching or further training. At this level, it’s up to you to identify where you feel the weak points are. Do you drive too fast? Are you bad at parking? Maybe you are trying to get in control of your road rage? You know enough about the subject, that you feel you can identify where the problems lie.
In finding a coach, you don’t necessarily look for an expert driver. You look for someone that is an excellent observer. He or she goes out on the road with you, closely observing your actions. Here coaching begins; questions come out from the coach; “why did you get upset when that person cut you off?”, “what were you doing when you took that turn too quickly?” – “how can you avoid those feelings, or ….”
Coaches observe, ask you to think for yourself on how you can avoid certain triggers, and may offer some tips and tricks. The key to coaching though, is that it is collaborative. It’s Q&A, give and take, and the answers lie within you, not the coach. The questions continue until there is that light bulb moment, and the answers become obvious.
Coaching is a longer term approach to improving. Knocking off one thing at a time, with a conscientious observer. You won’t go to one coaching session and be finished!
This is where the rubber meets the road (pun intended). Let’s continue the driving analogy. If you are looking for an edge, to get just a bit better at handling the car, or something on that order, you find the expert. You get time on a regular basis, and it’s not up to the Mentor to ask the questions, their time is valuable. It’s up to you to be prepared with a list of your own. The mentor lends direct advice to direct questions. It’s that simple. When you have mastered that step in the process, you may not need that mentor again.
A mentors responsibility is that he gives you the advice you are asking for. It’s not training, where you are learning a new skill. It’s advice to help you master a task or situation.
This can be a one and done situation, or something that is longer term. Mentors come in and out of your lives all the time. It is up to you to utilize them as needed.
Kole Performance Group
At the Kole Performance Group we consider ourselves trainers when it comes to sales skills, communication, leadership, and management. We are coaches on any subject, because we are trained and certified by the Maxwell and Ziglar organizations to observe and ask questions. As the founder of the group, I consider myself a Mentor when it comes to leading teams, sales, marketing, and business operations. Keep in mind, if someone were to ask me to mentor them on driving, my wife would be the first to say no for me!
If you still aren’t sure what you need, give us a call and contact us for a free 30-minute consultation. If we can’t be any of the three for you, we will help you find the right person or group. After all, as Zig Ziglar said; “You can have everything in life you want, if you just help enough others get what they want”