I had a difficult day the other day. I called up my Executive Coach (Yes, us coaches have coaches too!) and we had a sit down and worked through my issue. Being able to have a confidant able to help me through my challenges in a confidential and non-judgmental manner was amazing.
In addition to Executive Coaches I also have several mentors. I have been asked, on occasion, how do you find a mentor? Finding an Executive Coach is relatively simple by comparison. To find an Executive Coach throw a rock in a field and you will hit ten of us 🙂 but mentors? Where oh where?
To find a mentor find a person you respect and wish to be more like. This person could be more senior at work or a more experience volunteer or even a wayward teenager. You should have a legitimate desire to learn a particular skill not just a desire to suck up or brown nose (people can spot the difference). When you find a person that you respect and feel you can learn from and have a personal relationship with (don’t approach rando’s) ask: “Hey, you are really good with X” or “I admire you ability to do Y” … “would you be interested in mentoring me?”.
If the person is interested they will either say yes or ask what a mentor does. What does a mentor do?
“About once or twice a month a mentor will meet with the protege [you are the protege, the person being mentored] and help me progress towards a goal”
Remember, as the protege it is your job to meet your mentor not your mentors job to meet you. In fact, I usually buy my mentor’s lunch or breakfast.
A note on mentors (and Executive Coaches for that matter) this is not a lifetime relationship. Certainly you will develop a bond that will last a lifetime but coaching and mentoring has a finite period. Once the objective of the mentorship or the coaching has been achieved it is time to move on to different mentors and coaches. Relationships usually last between 6 and 18 months.
Always be on the lookout for people to be your mentor or coach. Furthermore, if anyone ever asks you to mentor them … SAY YES! Be the person that share success with others!
What does an Executive Coach Do?
Coaches are similar to mentors except coaches have specific training in coaching and focus on magnifying and reflecting your person goals where mentors may have a subject matter expertise and are paying it forward. There is often a blurry line when you engage in a Professional Coach that also has expert level skills in areas you are interested. Professional Coaches are paid for their services as this is their profession. Mentors usually provide mentorship as a service to their profession.