What Is A Mentor?
And, what to expect from a mentor: In my life I have been very fortunate in having some great mentors. Mentors are not to be confused with coaches or heroes. It is a misnomer to say that ”good coaches are good mentors” or “good mentors are good coaches.” Both of these statements can be true. It all depends on the circumstances. Mentorship implies wisdom or experience that a mentee is lacking. Mentors use experience and functional expertise to lead. Think of it this way, if you were trying to blaze a path through the jungle, what would the mentor be doing? S/he would be swinging a machete demonstrating proper technique. Or perhaps they would directing the route the party was taking, and giving other directions. A coach would enter the picture when the mentee wanted to maximize these behaviors. However, you should expect more from a mentor who is also a professional coach. Here is an example of coaching and mentoring working together.
What is Coaching
According to the International Coach Federation, “ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole.”
Coaches help clients develop a skill, understand how their past is affecting their present, strengthen performance, develop vision and create plans for the future. For example, can discover a great deal about ourself when we take a hard look at the people we most admire. This is one of the techniques I use in my coaching practice is to identify core values and passions. We can also discover the similarities and differences between coaching and mentorship. For MORE on coaching.
Why Use A Mentor
According to this Inc article these are the 10 reasons to use a mentor:
1. Mentors provide information and knowledge.
2. Mentors can see where we need to improve where we often cannot.
3. Mentors find ways to stimulate our personal and professional growth.
4. Mentors offer encouragement and help keep us going.
5. Mentors are disciplinarians that create necessary boundaries that we cannot set for ourselves.
6. Mentors are sounding boards so we can bounce ideas off them for an unfiltered opinion.
7. Mentors are trusted advisers.
8. Mentors can be connectors.
9. Mentors have the experiences you can learn from to prevent making the same mistakes beginners make.
10. Mentors are free, which makes them priceless in more ways than one.
Mentors have blazed a path that you are seeking to travel. They know the difficulties of the path and the rewards. Think of a mentor as someone who can help you define if you really want to take this journey and someone who can guide you through to completion.