Recently I add a chance to reflect on some work interactions I was having and realised how closely this same interaction materialised in both my sport interactions, and my role as a Father. The techniques I read about to help grow someone and get the best out of them doesn’t just relate to the work place. Those same techniques relate to Life and everything we do. Whether it’s learning new ways to deal with children, or help our child get through that problem they were working out (lets face it we are all just big children 🙂 ). Or dealing with a sports mate or team, we seek the same thing. To allow them to grow, get better and so be able to bring the best to the environment they are in.
Coaching, mentoring and enabling others to be the best they can be. It’s in everything we do, and in every interaction we have. Because of this I think it’s so beneficial to be involved in as many things as possible in life. Be it from coaching (or playing) a young sports team, volunteering in a club, joining your local community committee, or just putting yourself out there. In all these situations you will develop and grow your own ability to help develop and grow those around you. Being put in different contexts in order to allow us to work with others and grow or get the best out of them, we can utilise different aspects of coaching and mentoring that we might otherwise not have the chance to in just one avenue for example if we were to limit our own learning to just our work place. Imagine all the different scenarios you come up with in a sports team that all need us to be coach/mentor and friend, that we don’t see in the workplace.
In saying this. I read a-lot of articles on this area. A-lot of them saying just use this technique or just use that. Let them fail, let them come up with the solution etc.
But reading and doing is such a different beast. It’s so hard to see someone fail. How much do you let them fail before you reach out the hand and guide them or give them the keys to success. If too early, are you just delaying their learning? Too late and are they forming negative thoughts on those they trust for help when the going gets tough. How do I apply this at work or in my team. I don’t want them to lose, or to produce something that will cost the company $$ do I? Which do I use?
I say this as I have been in the situation where I would seek help, but the responses I always got where just directed back to me a questions. In these situations I wasn’t wanting to come up with an answer.
Perhaps I already knew it? I’m not sure. What I was wanting was affirmation and guidance from my colleague or mentor on the solution. I was happy and seeking that answer and really needed it at the time. But always it was directed back at me.
In my view and what I have taken from that lesson of life coaching is that you need to approach it all in balance. At times a person might really need strong leadership and direction and answers to give them confidence in continuing on. At others, gentle nudging or questioning might be the best method. Or just staying out and letting them fail and then being there when they need to help re-build and come out stronger later. It’s never easy in any case. One could argue that my mentor at the time allowed me to fail, or struggle only for me to come to this realisation now. That is true, but I find that hard to swallow and think sure there would have been better ways to allow this learning to occur.
So when do I do one vs the other, or how can I maintain a balance between everything? I don’t have answers and to be honest I don’t think anyone does. If we did would we not then be at the end of our own learning and growth journey? If life is a continual journey then surely this could not be the case?
I’m trying to be the best coach, mentor and enabler of others I can. To do this I try to involve myself where I can not and so putting myself in situations constantly where this might be applied. And yes I may fail more than I succeed. I get grumpy, I get upset, I get confrontational and I can get too passive. We are human and it’s natural and healthy to have these feelings. It’s how often and what strategies and techniques you use to ensure they don’t become a negative and have a bad impact on those around you and yourself. And these are things that we can learn and realise as you grow. Just be open to admitting mistakes and growth opportunities!
I believe all we can do is try our best, be honest to ourselves and keep in mind our ultimate goal and journey we are on.