It doesn’t take a lot to form these relationships. It is simply realizing that someone has more knowledge than you in one area of your life, and exercising a bit of intellectual humility.
Intellectual humility is the point when you realize and embrace the fact that you don’t have all the answers. When Morris and I have kids I’ve already picked out Parenting Coaches. But, I wanted to share four things that I look for in a mentor/coach.
1. A Coach/Mentor must be trustworthy – If you are going to entrust this person with your hopes and dreams, you must be certain that they are someone that will keep your dreams safe, be excited, and help you reach them. I once told a colleague at work about my plan to grow out my relaxer and embrace my natural kinky curls, and she proceeded to list all of the reasons why I shouldn’t do it. She was not a dream keeper.
So, I came home and enlisted the help of my neighbor and friend, Jes. And, the support of Jes made all the difference. Jes has beautiful hair and has been natural for several years. Jes was excited for me. She told me everything she learned during her natural hair journey, gave me hair products to get me started, told me where to shop for hair products, and e-mailed me lots of websites with the best information available. In short, Jes armed me with the knowledge needed for a healthy transition and cheered me on toward success.
2. A Coach/Mentor must have the heart of a teacher– I made a new friend in September, her name is Ashley and she is a professional blogger. A professional blogger! I met Ashley at a wedding while waiting in line at the restroom. She asked me about my profession, and I took a deep breath and explained that I’m an energy analyst for the federal government but I really want to be writer. And, she explained that she’s been a professional blogger for 7 years and offered to help me.
Ashley is the primary reason for the improvement in this blog content over the past several weeks. She listens, asks pointed questions about my ideas and goals, and then she gives me homework and tasks to help move me toward those goals.
3. A Coach/Mentor must keep you accountable – I told my friend, Barbara, that I wanted to be leave my job as an analyst and be a writer. Barbara is an editor for a large D.C. publication, and she reviewed my writing samples and helped me submit column ideas to newspapers. The big writing gig hasn’t come along yet, but Barbara always asks about my progress and keeps me accountable when I get discouraged.
4. A Coach/Mentor must be where you want to be – I guess this could be applied to anything, though. If you want to be a millionaire…ask a millionaire for financial advice. But, I apply this to our marriage mentors. Our marriage mentors have been married for forty plus years. And, they still have A LOT of fun with each other. You can’t be around Ron & Cheryl and not laugh. The finish each other’s sentences and are deeply in love. Morris and I want to be where they are in 40 years.
Now, it’s your turn. I would like to know how you are using mentoring/coaching to improve your life and family? If you don’t have a mentor, but would like one…let me know and I’ll help you find one.