Flawed AND Enlightened – that’s why we teach, coach, mentor, train… Professional Journey Steps: step #16

Flawed AND Enlightened – that’s why we teach, coach, mentor, train… Professional Journey Steps: step #16

Tough to be a Mentor

This post is dedicated to all my friends, colleagues and fellow trainers, coaches, mentors and teachers (heretofore to be called Guides) out there, admittedly a ‘self love, feel good about our selves’ piece.

Recently I’ve embarked on a new career path and taken up the mantle you all share, and formed a training and development company. Now in this economic climate I have to say I’ve had more than a few people look at me as if I had finally lost my mind – to whom I say, there is no better time or greater need! Obviously we don’t take up this ‘calling’ without a lot of internal dialogue and self-searching. I won’t bore you with that part but wanted to share a few thoughts generally.

Firstly let’s once and for all put to rest the old – and very debatable adage – “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” by George Bernard Shaw. Likely you, like me, take serious umbrage to this – sorry George, love your other work! To be a great ‘Guide’ and mentor is to have mastered topical skills as well as the skills to pass along this wisdom – not a small or whimsical ability. In addition we have to have a few characteristics not common in others – let us know if you agree and please add others – this by no means is a definitive list

Extraordinary Vision and Optimism

Every great trainer I’ve known has had an intensified sense of vision or ‘field of observation’. A view, belief and ability to see how all the elemental parts can and should fit together to obtain something that is greater than the sum of the parts. Those could be the elements of a single person or a whole organisation. This is usually partnered with an insatiable optimism which stems from personal experience when in our own ‘doing’ careers all things aligned – so we know it CAN be done and we also know the euphoric feeling that goes along with it – akin to winning a championship in sports. So mentor the next champions.

High Pain Tolerance

We maintain our convictions in a world where many do not share our ‘field of observation’ (they’re mostly called clients) for how things can work better or our optimism based on having experienced accomplishments or the positive energy associated with the dynamic of a high performance team. We also deal so often with the people who simply won’t or don’t want to benefit. This is mind-boggling for our ‘type’ but understandable. We do have the choice however that when we lead a horse to the water and it doesn’t want to drink – to put our time and energy into another horse.

Flawed AND Enlightened

Yes simultaneously, if we weren’t flawed (past tense note), then we couldn’t have learned so many lessons the old ‘hard way’ which we want to alleviate for others. With all this falling, getting back up, learning, failing and turning it into success experience came the development of compassion and self-awareness, the enlightenment part. No, we are not the second coming or Buddha enlightened but we have turned our trials and tribulations into an almost spiritual outlook and approach. (OK of all these submissions this is likely to get the most attention).

We could go on and on but this is a limited space medium and we’re getting a sugar rush from writing all this mushy stuff (albeit true and deserved) so we’ll leave it to you to expand on our shared ‘virtues’. We have embarked on a professional vocation, which has a very long and eulogised history – perhaps not so much anymore, but we’ll continue this calling to guide as long as you will too! Continue to mentor the next generation of leaders in our organisations. Thanks to you one and all!

Enjoy the journey,