You get fitter faster if you work out with a trainer. Work out regularly with one of the best trainers in the world and you get world-class results. So it is with your career.
This is the final and most important shift that aspiring leaders must make: to invest in yourself through world-class coaching and mentoring.
How many times have you heard that? Lots, I am sure. But how many times have you acted on it? For most readers, the sad answer will be not at all. Many others will have invested and had a poor or average experience. Only a few will be shouting from the rafters about their coaches and mentors. And it is these people who know the secret of success. The secret is finding great coaches and mentors.
So what is the difference between coaching and mentoring, and how can you find a great one? I like to keep things simple on this front:
- A mentor is someone who has the t-shirt: they’ve made it big in the area that you aspire to be great in and they are willing to share the lessons they have learned along the way to fast track your progress. They’ll usually do this for free, but you will get limited access to them as a result
- A coach is someone who will help you wear the t-shirt yourself. They will understand your challenges and help you solve them. They may not be a deep subject matter expert in your particular business, but they should have a range of tools and techniques that can fast track your work to find answers
The common thread between coaching and mentoring is YOU. You have to do the work, you have to apply yourself, you have to adapt if you are going to succeed.
So how do you find world-class coaches and mentors?
Let’s start with mentoring. Ideally you should have more than one of these, and the trick here is that they need not be around in person. Look for people who have played at the top of their game – both past and present – in your business and in others. Who do you admire? Who has succeeded and left clues for you? What books you can read about them? Who can you ask to be your mentor? Find out the big moves they made and how they applied themselves. Study their success and mirror what they did. Success leaves clues, and you can learn from those clues, whether your mentor is able to share time with you in the flesh or not.
Unfortunately, it is actually harder to find a world-class business coaches. The field of coaching has exploded in recent years, and to mix metaphors, it is a jungle out there. Coaches abound who will sell you snake oil and tell you it is what the champions drink. And coaches abound who will say they can solve your problems but don’t have the experience and insight needed to enable you to do the work. So be careful and look for clues about what makes a coach great:
- They will have rave reviews from their clients and will have dealt with any negative feedback openly and honestly. You may have found them through direct recommendation which is the strongest evidence of all
- They will spend time getting to know you and your specific situation rather than dish out cookie cutter advice. They should be willing to do this on a trial basis and should offer an inexpensive exit if, after a few sessions, you decide that particular coach is not for you
- Great coaches will also have an additional offer: they will put you together with other coachees so that you can learn from each other as well as the coach. This accelerates your learning curve and gives you a peer group that will last for life. Everybody wins.
This is the final shift you need to make in order to dominate your career, but all five are important. Here they are again:
- Embrace being uncomfortable and engage your heart
- Get strategic and solve your own problems
- Create momentum by creating focus and taking coherent action
- Unleash the full power of your teams
- Invest in yourself through world-class coaching and mentoring
These are the shifts you need to make to create the life you aspire to. You deserve that life. So go out and start creating it now.
Now you have a choice. You can take these insights and continue to work alone. Or you can reach out to find world-class coaches and mentors to fast track your progress. If you decide on the latter course want help exploring your options, please do contact me at www.brightlingadvantage.com. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction.