3D Ideas 846: Mentoring

Claire writes: “A useful conversation with someone this morning led to them asking me to work with them in a hybrid set of roles.  Although the purist definition is that in coaching you never offer in any advice, we have been learning some interesting stuff in these hybrid conversations.

Aaron Albury says that coaching is holding up a mirror while mentoring is holding up a map. I’d say that mentoring is offering to hold up a map, if that’s useful!

In listening to lots of 1-1 conversations every week, I notice a couple things.

  1. Trying to avoid saying ‘have you thought about’ leads to complex questions which sort of have the answer in them and slow things down
  2. Saying ‘have you thought about?’ with more than a few words risks the thinker feeling flooded with solutions that they may well have thought about already

More and more I am saying ‘would it be useful for me to (briefly!) think out loud?’.  It works because I can scope a breadth of what I am thinking about without going into detail.  It feels less judging. And they can pick up on words or ideas that resonate. Or when I was demonstrating it in a group where someone ran coach training, I said ‘would it be useful for me to say what we do?’  He said yes, so I shared it in a sentence. There was silence. And it gave him a breakthrough – he said ‘Got it! I know what I’ll do. It’s [something totally different from what I said and it came from him usefully processing what he heard]’..

And when we are mentoring someone to support them to grow, it may be useful to give them the inside track on how we make decisions.”

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