It is increasingly accepted that having someone independent in your corner providing confidential support, guidance and challenge where needed, can benefit you, your career and/or your business.
It could be general, life-orientated concerns... Something has changed dramatically, good or bad - a new job, ill-health, redundancy perhaps; You have been trying to make changes but may feel a little stuck, out of options or somewhat frozen by the thought and implications.
Or it may be more specific... an impending difficult conversation; a desire to develop certain behaviours or strengths; or perhaps to help you through particular challenges, be they personal or in growing your business.
You may want to:
Or you may be looking to focus on aspects of your fledgling business / parallel initiative and would like an experienced, common-sense third party sounding board to help you develop your strategies, approaches, structures and/or tactical plans.
Although people often emphasise the difference, Coaching and Mentoring are in fact quite similar in that both are personalised and predicated on a developing relationship of mutual trust, respect and confidentiality. Coaches and Mentors are ‘confidantes’, people to share and explore challenges and wins with, who always want the best for you and who will help you to develop and achieve. However:
Coaching is a process that supports those being coached in examining issues, thinking differently and then defining their own solutions to challenges, to improve personal performance or to take their next career steps.
A coach is trained in techniques to help you see yourself perhaps from a more objective perspective - they are ideally placed to help you identify and track towards your positive, ideal outcomes or vision, as well as help you identify and unblock limiting “gremlins” holding you back.
Simplistically, a Coach asks questions, helping the coachee to discover and learn for themselves.
Mentoring may be less formal or less regular, relies to a greater extent on the Coach sharing their own opinions and experiences and will likely have a perspective that is broader than just a specific skill to develop or challenge to overcome.
Simplistically, a good Mentor answers questions, passing on their relevant experience & knowledge… but they still do not TELL you what to do!
A Coach is not there to "solve" anything FOR you. The right coach will ask questions, listen, and reflect what they hear. They can bring tools and resources, will challenge you to think in new and more resourceful ways and help you plan and action... but a coach will not “solve” anything for you. You need to commit to doing the majority of work yourself.
A Coach is not a therapist or counsellor. A coach will focus primarily on the future and positives/goals, finding new ways of acting & thinking, rather than dealing too much with your past. Typically, the past is therapist and counsellor territory.
A Coach is not there to be your friend. Friends (and family) have great intentions, but they are not impartial. Being too close to your situation can limit their vision to see areas you may need to improve on. Yes, a coach should have a good rapport and dynamic with their client, but if you’re looking only for affirmation and a "yes man" approach, coaching may not be the right solution.