Tag Archives: coaching

Why Mentoring Matters

designMentoring matters because we need help! As individuals, we need help in finding a meaningful place where we can invest our lives. Potential mentors need help because they can’t accomplish everything on their own. The culture needs help to make this world a better place in which to live.

Mentors serve others as coaches, advisors or trainers. We provide ideas and encouragement. We help other people develop their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. Families, organizations and communities benefit from the work of mentors. Many of the greatest leaders on earth enjoyed the advantage of having someone personally train them.

John Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

Not compelling enough?

Consider:

If no one serves as a mentor, everybody starts at ground zero and has to learn everything by him or herself.

If no one serves as a mentor, organizations are left to start from scratch when there is a leadership transition.

If no one serves as a mentor, vision and wisdom dies when the leader dies.

If no one serves as a mentor, emerging leaders miss valuable training and struggle unnecessarily.

If no one serves as a mentor, organizational progress is stymied – we all pay the price.

The world is a better place because of mentors. Among some well-known mentor/mentee relationships are General Colin Powell: mentored by his father, Luther Powell; Dr. Martin Luther King: mentored by Benjamin E. Mays; Henry David Thoreau: mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Quincy Jones: mentored by Ray Charles.

I want to encourage you to be a mentor. Regardless of your age, skill level or experience, you know more than someone else. Regardless of your field of service or expertise, you have something of value to share. You have the responsibility to share your knowledge with others.

Here are few ideas on becoming a mentor:

Identify: How do we find the right person to mentor? If they are open and teachable – there’s your person. Talk with them about your idea and see if they have interest.

Idealism: forget about finding the perfect person to mentor. You’re better served to find someone who is already close to you and who trusts you.

Improvement: those who enjoy the tutoring of a mentor increase their performance. Training pays off!

Investment: like a great stock, infusing others with valuable resources such as knowledge results in great dividends for everyone involved.

Intentionality: You must make a commitment to make mentoring happen. It will not just occur automatically.

Innovate: don’t feel like you must follow a curriculum or be bound to a program developed by others. Be yourself and go with the flow.

Inspire: be sure that your goal is to make the life of the other person better. Motivate them, challenge them and help them to grow. Of course, you will also grow through the process.

Influence: when a friend knows you care enough about them that you are willing to mentor them, you will influence them to be the best they can possibly be. Who knows, perhaps you can alter the direction of someone’s life.

Mentoring matters. It’s worth your effort. Someone is waiting for you.

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If (When) You Fail, Don’t Lose Your Composure

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I played high school basketball and was Captain my Senior Year. I also coached two years of high school basketball (going undefeated one season!). One learns a few things about the sport by spending that much time in smelly gyms. Here is a little insight: when a young player takes a shot and misses, there is an increased chance that within the next 5 seconds, he will commit a foul against the other team. Most inexperienced players who take a shot and miss it run straight to whoever gets the rebound and tries to steal the ball, only to be overaggressive and commit a foul. Why does this occur and more importantly, are there applications outside of sports?

I think it’s a matter of losing composure after failure. The kid is frustrated and wants to make up for the missed shot. He’s out to prove he’s a good ball player, so he overcompensates – and ends up fouling. I also think it is losing control of his emotions. The temper forces overreaction – and invariably the whistle blows.

It happens in life all the time. Somebody messes up, and as if things weren’t bad enough, they lose their composure. Bad becomes worse. Some basic coaching could help prevent these multilevel mistakes. I think the real culprit is a lack of maturity. A more seasoned player has learned that when he/she misses a shot, it’s best to go back and play controlled defense. A good coach will train players that it’s ok to miss shots but it’s not ok to make matters worse by fouling.

In life: Not if, but when you blow it – hold on to your composure. Don’t lose control of your emotions. Don’t overcompensate. Sometimes it’s best to fall back and play defense.

You’ll get another chance to take, and make, a shot.