Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
– Timothy Gallwey
To understand a day in the life of a mentor, you need to know what mentorship means. According to Wikipedia, mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The website goes on to say that “Mentorship experience and relationship structure affect the ‘amount of psychosocial support, career guidance, role modeling, and communication that occurs in the mentoring relationships in which the protégés and mentors engaged’”.
Plutarch said it well. He said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” For me, being a business coach is about awakening the inner potential and guiding mentees towards success both personally and in their careers.
When you fly in an aircraft, part of the safety instruction is that you should, in the event of a crisis, first secure the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. This is not selfish, but merely a fact of ‘you can’t do something else for someone else if you are dead yourself’. So yes only at 8h00 do I wake up and start the day. I have to look after myself so that I am a fresh, well rested and motivated for the day.
Coffee! You can’t start the day without a good cup of Joe. When I mentor someone this is a vital piece of advice I give. It might be small to you, but coffee or tea helps you settle in and prepare you mentally for a good day. Note to self – think positive thoughts. If this is impossible after a sleepless, stressful night – focus on the things you are grateful for. Think of all the good things in your life.
After spending 5min on this, giving my mood a gym session, it’s now the body’s turn for exercise. You will need both to make sure that each day has your full attention and energy.
Off to my private coaching sessions. A lot of corporates hire me to mentor their strong leaders. Executive sees the potential and wants to groom certain individuals to one day, be a CEO, CFO, COO or the CMO candidate. I felt a calling when I started mentoring my subordinates at my previous executive positions that I had. My favorite thing about mentoring was that I could see the people grow and blossom. If I saw a protégé succeed, it gave me the greatest joy knowing that I had a part in that. I achieve something very simple – I bring out, what was always there.
A friendly face. Each of us lives a life unknown to all. When the doors close behind you, no one really knows the hardships and struggles you deal with. So I start off by showing interest. Interest in the person sitting across from me as if there is no one else I would rather spend my time with than this person. You have to listen, you have to care because when you are a mentor and you don’t do this, mentees see straight through you. Ok, so another coffee will not hurt either. Through a social interaction, you might be surprised at what you can achieve with a person.
“Coaching happens in the experience of being accepted, respected and heard.”
– Coach Julio Olalla
I don’t rush through the social session because I want mentees to remain ‘friends’. Friends trust you, they respect your opinion, they take your advice and they let you lead them. The trick is to not get too friendly. Have empathy with situations and take them through some of your own experiences. Highlight their strengths and talk about how to improve their weaknesses. After our social chat, we get down to work on certain skills.
Breaking for lunch gives me a chance to catch up with what’s going on at my own office. You don’t have to be a mentor the entire day. Good mentoring comes through doing your daily duties. People learn by the example you lead. So I phone the office and follow up how my own team is doing. Are the having a busy successful day that requires praise or do they need some motivation and encouragement to make the day’s sales target?
Wrapping up my coaching session for the day. Most of my mentoring advice are things I had to learn the hard way through various experiences in my life, both personally and professionally. The major challenge is mentoring someone who doesn’t want to be mentored. Who thinks they have nothing to learn. Breaking that wall takes time and can be emotionally draining.
Heading back to the office, I hit the Friday afternoon ‘we are going home early’ traffic. Although traffic is something no one likes, I usually take the time to think about the day still planned and what goals I have to achieve going forward. Yes, I also think back at the mentoring sessions. What should I improve or what notes I could send to add value?
After the final countdown of the normal office hours, I retreat to the person who knows me best. Hubby dearest is like my charger. When I talk to him, he listens and also advises me on aspects of the day. In some way, we are also both mentors to each other.
The rest of the time is not noted further as this is personal time needed by everyone. During my mentoring sessions, I cannot stress the importance of having a balanced personal and professional life, enough. I strongly believe that people can perform in all aspects of the life to their full potential and that your family and friends play an important role in your achievements.