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3D Ideas 961: In Good Company

Claire writes: “I’ve just come off a training call with mentors.  Mentoring, I think, is coaching with content – we are facilitating the thinking of someone else – and sometimes it’s useful to put stuff in.  Yet mentoring can become a perfect storm – you have much wisdom to share – and they want everything you can give.  That brings huge pressure and enthusiasm from both of you for you to offer too much too early. When this happens they might be inspired but they might not have anything they can apply because they have too much to handle and although they now know more of your story, they haven’t got something to take away that’s about them.

My top tip for mentors? Offer last not first.  Use the coaching container to work together to clarify their question before you offer anything. 

On that call, we were also talking about conversations that reflect on the past and those that are optimistic and future focussed. In mentoring and coaching, it matters that people feel connected, supported and challenged. Sometimes that makes them feel that they need to tell us a whole lot of stuff. This can enable them to feel heard… but not always to find a way forward, because it’s easy to keep the conversation looking back.

There was a great question from a delegate: What do I do if someone wants to reflect on something that went wrongDo I say what did you learn? It’s a great question – and it faces into the past.  A better question might be

So when it’s important to look at stuff in the past, the most useful way to do that is to look at it together (rather than getting them to tell you about it) and to face forwards as you do that.”

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