I often find myself pondering why coaching and mentoring are so powerful. When I am being coached the fact that someone is listening so intently, and asking questions that in turn ... even though I know they are part of a coach's tool box ... help me dig deeper than when I ask myself the same questions. I am not the most extroverted person around, but still have a deep appreciation of the 'gift' of someone else's time and care.
Well, that's my perspective, and I know there are many others!
A while back, Rick Whalley and I decided to find out a bit more about what people felt the benefits of being coached and/or mentored are. So, we surveyed, as part of coaching professional development sessions we were facilitating, some of the people with whom we were working to see what:
1) They thought the benefits of working with a coach or mentor were;
2) Why they might be motivated to coach or mentor someone; and
3) What they thought the key attributes of an effective coach or mentor were.
Below are some of the responses, mainly in the original words of the respondents. (NB Where responses were similar they have not been included). I hope you will agree, they are pretty interesting.
The 24 key benefits are pretty wide ranging, and illustrate the fact that people see mentoring and/or coaching as achieving different things. Some of the key themes that jumped out for Rick and I are, within a 'safe' partnership, being able to share (issues, ideas, aspirations, and work in progress) and in the process developing as a person and a professional. Wrapped into this, for some people, is accountability, which helps motivate them to stay on track.
While there is nothing new in the 24 benefits, it is a useful snapshot of where the thinking is around coaching and mentoring, and maybe - if you don't already have a coach - be the catalyst for you to seek one out.
The other part of the partnership is 'doing' the coaching and/or mentoring, and these are some of the responses.
The stand-out themes that came through for Rick and I were the enjoyment of the reciprocal nature of a coaching and/or mentoring partnership, as well as the fundamental 'feel good' aspect of supporting someone to grow personally and professionally.
If anything resonates for you, maybe it's time for you to look into opportunities to do some coaching and mentoring :)
The final responses were to do with the attributes people felt were essential in a mentor and / or coach, and, by implication, what they would look for in their own mentor/coach and within themselves.
There are a wide range of perceptions of what coaching and mentoring is and can provide, and the results from this informal survey align with some of the formal research that is out there.
The responses have prompted Rick and I to ask ourselves, as well as some of our clients:
Light on white. CC ( BY NC ND ) licensed Flickr image by Hazelowendmc: https://flic.kr/p/FncgJd
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