“Behind every successful person, there is one elementary truth: somewhere, somehow, someone cared about their growth and development. This person was their mentor.”
- Dr Beverley Kaye, Up is Not the Only Way, 1997
Coach Education Models often deal with the delivery of information, the tend to deal with the what to deliver rather than the how to deliver. Courses have improved a lot in the last few years (especially at the top end) but often tend to be content heavy with less checks and balances as to the actual change of behaviour of the coaches. In many cases assessment still takes the form of an artificial training session being assessed. The big issue is resources, both time and money. Proper monitoring costs in both ways and with associations struggling to balance the cost of courses v’s the need for qualified coaches its a tough job.
Perhaps more organisations should look at establishing a mentoring system. In fact I think this should be the primary aim of awarding bodies such as ISPAS. Instead of getting hung up on the minutiae of what level you are accredited on, NGB’s and awarding bodies should be looking to actually improve the standard of their practitioners.
Mentoring is nothing new — particularly in sport. We have all turned to an experienced friend or colleague for advice, especially when we are learning something new or are facing a new challenge. Most sports people and many coaches and officials would freely admit that they have sought the advice of an experienced player, coach or official at some point in their career.
What is new, however, is the concept of using a mentor in a more structured way to help guide you through a challenging learning process.
What does it mean to be a mentor; As a mentor your goal is to not only provide direction and advice, but to get your mentee to act upon them. And while conversations can be motivating, few things are more impactful than to lead by example. A mentor’s mantra must be: ‘Do as I do, not just as I say.’
The Meaning Of Mentoring
M aking a new friend
E njoying a fresh perspective
N urturing self esteem
T raining for life
O pening doors of opportunity
R ewarding efforts
I nstilling pride
N aming and achieving goals
G rowing together
All Grades and Disciplines
The great thing about mentoring is that it is not forever, although I’m sure life-long relationships are formed. I meet so many people through this site who want to take the next level in their development but there are so few formal options and for anybody in work they need a more flexible learning option. You can get caught up with the possible issues but at it’s simplest an organisation needs a number of experienced analysts/coaches who are willing to give up a small amount of time to offer advice and support.
The thing is most people are happy to help. I certainly am. I attended a recent Performance Analysis event with over 50 analysts and all in the room said they were willing to be a mentor. The problem is that nobody has stepped up to the mark to create an easy place for mentees to find suitable mentors. This needs not be a complicated or costly experience for anybody involved, but it does require a willingness to create the right environment.
Want to be a Mentor? or Be Mentored?
Perhaps this post can be a call to action or proof of concept. Let’s test it and see. Below is a very rough draft of what a Mentor programme could look like. If you have any suggestions, improvements or general comments please leave them below. It would be great to get a discussion started. Regardless of your experience being with video, data, management, presentation skills or even as a coach you will add value to a mentee.
What’s expected of a Mentor?
The guidelines for this programme are outlined below, should a Mentor and Mentee want to extend their arrangement they are welcome to do so.
Length: 6 Months
Meetings: 2 Face-to-Face
Contacts: Receive a Weekly progress email from Mentee and a monthly phone call or face-to-face.
Not a Job: You are not expected to provide any employment to your Mentee, rather to support them in their current situation.
As a mentor you will help fill the mentee’s knowledge gaps and seek opportunities to help them grow and excel. A mentor should foster an environment that the mentee feels they can let down their guard, share their insecurities, and ask the ‘stupid’ questions we all have sometimes.”
Mentors need to make themselves available to their mentee for progress meetings, working sessions, and follow-up activities. It is important that you value this process and grow in a positive direction. Please provide your Mentee with a daytime phone and schedule on your time availability to take calls or meet.
How can you help your Mentee?
Your role starts with sharing your professional background and/or experiences with your mentee, so they can appreciate what you have had to encounter and overcome. Sharing yourself is critical in helping others grow closer to their dream and what they are capable of being. Share your observations of positive behaviours and attitudes that are important in the workplace. It is important to keep in mind that through respect and support, your talent, knowledge, and ideas makes a difference in another person’s professional growth and development.
As a mentor, you will find yourself being a guide, a demonstrator of new skills, and a coach reinforcing positive accomplishments. You have the opportunity to encourage and guide a fellow analyst in a direction that will enhance their career. This interaction will allow your mentee to learn.
We recognize that it takes commitment to guide a fellow analyst in aspects of career development. The process of mentoring within a relationship of trust and respect can be mutually beneficial. In the final analysis, you will see your mentee grow and develop.
What is the Mentees Commitment?
As you are a busy professional it is important that the Mentee is willing to fully commit to the process. Before your beginning your coaching process the Mentee must complete the following worksheets
- Expectations Questionnaire
- Personal Evaluation
- Meeting Plan
- Signed Mentoring Agreement (both parties).
If you feel at any stage you are not getting the level of commitment you require it is an important issue to raise and discuss in more detail. Your mentee should stay in regular contact throughout the 6 month programme – but this can often take the form of them telling you about their actions rather than always asking for advice and support. The process of them getting used to regular reports/updates on progress they have made is a great habit to establish with your Mentee.
Tips For Guiding Discussions
- Schedule meetings with your mentee thoughtfully. You will be more effective by meeting in a different area and setting aside special meeting times. Agree on your agenda or topic in advance.
- Maintain realistic expectations of your mentee. Recognize your mentee, as an individual; progress may not come as quickly as you prefer.
- Ask questions to encourage thought and discussion. Encourage your mentee to become an independent thinker.
- Follow your mentee’s train of thought. Be flexible enough to drop your own train of thought when it is not appropriate in the conversation.
- Be an active listener. Clarify your mentee’s feelings. Recognize and honour differences in values, opinions, ideas, cultures, etc.
- Give direct feedback. Be honest in your evaluation of your mentee’s skills and talents necessary for a particular career move.
- Present alternatives for consideration. Provide your mentee with a fresh perspective about concerns and questions.
- Summarize the important points that were made during your meeting. Review your plan of action to make sure it is clear and means the same to each of you.
- Be aware of the tension that is part of the mentor-mentee process. Recognize that change is uncomfortable and be patient.
- Follow up on commitments made to each other.
- End the meeting only after all the important issues have been covered. Agree on goals for the next meeting. Record your commitments and accomplishments.
- Prepare for meeting with your mentor.
- Have a copy of your most current resume and you should have completed the various worksheets and sent these onto your Mentor.
- Make a list of your interests, experiences, and career objectives to discuss. Your career objectives are very important because that is where your focus and resources should be directed.
- Please be willing to accept constructive feedback from your Mentor related to your resume and career goals and objectives.
- Be available to each other for progress meetings, working sessions, and follow-up activities. It is important that you value this process and grow in a positive direction.
Mentors help fill your knowledge gaps and seek opportunities to help their Mentee grow and excel. A mentor is someone with whom you can let down your guard, share your insecurities, and ask the ‘stupid’ questions we all have sometimes.”