“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”Steven Spielberg
I love the quote by Steven Spielberg. Mentoring is so meaningful and is so rewarding for those involved. As mentoring begins, it is a foundation built on trust, honesty, authenticity, and raw, real stuff.
The best mentors listen carefully and hear what is not said to shine the light on what is not seen. Hope, talent, strength, and courage are hidden in the layers of doubt, uncertainty, and fear.
Mentors create opportunities to tell, explain, and demonstrate, but most importantly, inspire those they work with to see what they can be. It is about guidance and facilitation of development.
Coaching is a broad term today and is found in many areas and professions. We are coaching in sports, as coaches work with teams to capture titles in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, golf, tennis, and so much more. We see coaching in our personal lives as we may have life coaches to help us with emotional, nutrition or physical needs. In addition, we have coaching for child delivery in finding the best ways to bring our child into the world.
Today coaching is part of what we do to help everyone grow and to be better than they are today.
“A coach is someone who (1) sees what others may not see through the high quality of his or her attention or listening, (2) is in the position to step back (or invite participants to step back) from the situation so that they have enough distance from it to get some perspective, (3) helps people see the difference between their intentions and their thinking or actions, and (4) helps people cut through patterns of illusion and self-deception caused by defensive thinking and behavior.”~Robert Hargrove, author of Masterful Coaching
Mentoring or Coaching adults need a different approach to learning. Building a relationship is the first step, and the next step in the relationship is built on trust. In addition, trust is essential in the relationship, but also having permission.
A coach brings continuing support to the individual. It is a safe and confidential relationship of trust to nurture significant growth in the areas of personal and professional. In addition, the building of a strong foundation of skills to support the organization to meet the needs set to achieve success.
In our life journey, we receive many messages from others on ways to improve, set goals, and just about any other advice you can think of as you reflect. I did some reflecting as well and thought about all of the things I have been told. What are the key factors to take away? What can you share about the advice you have been given?
One glove does not fit all was a post last week. Professional learning is an important part of growth for each of us, but are we utilizing all the resources and tools available to maximize the time and cost?
What is the best way to receive professional learning? Do you conduct book studies? Attend Podcasts? Zoom meetings? Share your thoughts. How are you changing the way professional learning is happening in your corner of the world?
If you are in a large group setting, do you ask questions? I am asking this question because my next question is this: When you were in school, did your teacher encourage you to ask questions? Can you reflect on your experience with questions? Now think about how you approach questions if you are a teacher, a leader, a parent, a friend, or a spouse. How different are your approaches or reactions?
Motivation and Inspiration are essential parts of every organization. Often you will find an individual within an organization who is the key to propelling others into these positive feelings and transforming cultures. Individuals like this spread and awaken others to the possibilities. It is exciting to watch others join in on ideas, celebrations, and opportunities to lift all.
When you see those individuals who are always doing for others and keeping everyone up, pause to ask who is helping to motivate and inspire them.
One, two, and three different ways of working with others in reaching goals and achieving them—Mentoring looks at the future and potential; coaching looks at the present and how to improve to a future state and is skill-focused, and supporting encourages the growth process.
Have you been involved with mentoring or coaching? Share your experiences.
Two books were given away this week! Jon Gordon and Alex Demczak are the authors of The Sale. If you have not had a chance, please pick up your copy today. The book has four lessons on integrity—a great book for individuals, managers, leaders and teams. I shared with two great school leaders! They can read, grow and share!
Ms. Lindsey Prunkard is the current principal at South View Upper Elementary, Danville, Illinois. She has served education in many roles over the past years and will continue to grow in her leadership. I was blessed to be part of watching her grow, and I am happy to continue to support her. Her love for what she does is shown in her smile and her why is always on display.
Ms. Angelique Simon is the current principal of Liberty Elementary, Danville, Illinois. She has served in education for many years with a passion for always wanting to know more. I first met her as she was assigned to be my intern as I had just been transferred to the middle school principal position. We learned together about the staff, students, families, and community. She helped lead the changes in culture, diversity, and our approaches. Ms. Simon learned about the Two Rule philosophy and how it is applied.
It is important to me to continue to support leaders who continue to serve others. The actions we take speak louder than the words we speak, helping others develop the tools they need to continue to influence and guide others. Integrity and trust are the focus of the lessons in the new book. These are critical foundational skills for every team, organization, and individual.
Jon Gordon's books never disappoint, and I encourage everyone to read them when they have an opportunity. More books to give away this week! Do you want to receive one?
The need for coaching support today is more extensive than it has ever been before. Help at each level in the organizational chain needs to be strengthened after being pushed to the limits over the past few years.
Every individual, if asked in a survey, will tell you they have been impacted over the last three years by the events happening in our world. We have experienced illness, death, lockdowns, trauma, soaring gas prices, and supply shortages, and the list can be expanded to many other issues. The critical point is trauma and the stress it has provided.
Building a support system within our organization or bringing in outside coaching will help individuals get back to their center to regain a balance. Stability is the thread we need to sew our environment back to the strength, resilience, and flexible fabric it needs to be as we work to achieve.
Effective coaches treat individuals as professionals. Building a professional relationship knowing and recognizing individuals are capable of making decisions for themselves. People will engage in conversations when they understand coaches are not imposing practices, thoughts, or ideas on them. Coaches are partnering with them to determine the best course of action. When we try to do something different, it is a dehumanizing act, and it minimizes the effect of the potential for professional growth. Coaches need to examine who they are and how their actions affect others. Most importantly, always look at the coaching process as we help make it the best for each individual.
Important questions for coaches to ask themselves:
Coaching is unique! Selecting the right coaches for the right team or individual is an essential part of the process. Matching the needs of those being coached with the individual who can provide for them is critical, but matching the personality is also an essential piece!
One of my favorite TedTalks is Rita Pierson! Her best line is, "Kids don't learn from people they don't like.” Adults are the same way! The first step in every relationship is building trust and finding common ground. Establishing a partnership in working together to achieve growth over time is the primary goal. Establishing a clear understanding of what coaching is will help build the foundation for a positive working relationship.
Coaches will bring a toolbox of strategies and resources to support the individual or group they are working to help grow. The method will be selected, implemented, monitored, and then analyzed. They will work on this together to evaluate the next steps. The coach's impact will result in the efforts of all those involved. Clear communication and record keeping will help them make adjustments as they proceed. This should never be an evaluation piece but an improvement, growth, and innovative approach for individuals to take ownership of their development.
If you are asking if you need a coach, the answer is yes. I have had a coach, I am a coach, and I have supervised coaches. Coaches are like your own personal trainer, cheerleader, and go-to person. They can help bring you ideas and tell you if you need to think about something from a different lens or if you did a great job communicating that idea. Coaches are so important. My area of expertise is in education, but I am available to help any leader. Please leave me a comment or send me an Email. I am willing to help you at no cost via Zoom, email, and phone. Leadership is significant, and I want you to be successful. My solution is to provide as much support as possible to those who are leading and serving others.
Do you ever have someone ask you so what do you think? Everyone is looking 👀 at you; the pressure is on, you are the new person in the group, you look around, and you say......
There are many ways to respond to someone asking you what you think. In asking you this question, they want your opinion. If you do not feel safe or comfortable in the group, often people respond with a no answer. Then the group is still left with not knowing your opinion and will move on if you have crafted your response well. An example might be: “I have enjoyed this conversation with all of the thoughts being shared; I wanted to hear more about your thoughts on this topic before sharing.”
If the topic is something you are passionate about why not share your thoughts if you are confident. If some disagree, are you able to debate professionally? It isn't easy when you are brand new to the job, but always remember who you are and your purpose (why). People like to know what you stand for or if you stand with who every you are with at the moment.
I like to ask more questions! The more you ask, the more everyone can learn from the shared information. However, there are times when the issues touch your core values, beliefs, and passion. It is always important to share your thoughts respectfully or remove yourself from the conversation. We will talk more about conversations, sharing ideas, and the importance of thinking before clicking on social media. I find myself stepping away at times and other times standing up. Give it some thought and share some ideas in this space if you like.
When do you become a leader? Is it when you finally get that top spot or the title you have been dreaming of? Think about the leaders you know; what titles do they have? What characteristics do they have? The best questions are:
In our world today, we need great leadership. I have always said, “ Leadership is not a title, a position, or a picture of a person you can describe. It is a heart, purpose, calling, and desire to serve others as you model leadership.”
Where are you today?
Where do you want to be in five years?
What are you doing to help yourself move in the direction you plan to go?
I recommend the book Simple Truths of Leadership, 52 Ways to be a Servant Leader and Build Trust by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. This book will provide you with the best way to continue to grow, build capacity within your team, help engage as a coach or mentor. The book's setup offers a weekly Simple Truth to follow. The big topics are identified, discussion guide at the back of the book to correlate with the #number you select. You can start anywhere you want! I love this book! I am biased a little because I have followed Ken Blanchard throughout my career! I continue to learn from his leadership.
I bought an extra copy to share with someone else! Who has the best story to share of why they need to have my extra copy? Please pick up a copy or two, share, start a book study! I will be happy to help you through Zoom! We need you! I am happy to serve in helping you grow! We are the solution daily as we work together in a world that needs all of you!
One of the needs every individual has is to feel validated. As educators, we set it as a priority to establish positive relationships with co-workers, students, and families. However, we do not spend enough time helping each other learn how to accomplish them. One way is mentoring!
Why not start a mentoring program at your school? Teachers mentor other teachers, staff members mentor students, students mentor students, parents help to mentor other mentors. When mentoring becomes the norm, you can begin to see a more helpful and welcoming environment. The wonderful thing about mentoring is the benefit both receive!
In that list of mentors, I left out the most crucial role that needs a mentor the most, the principal. Often we forget to feed our leaders with rich development and dedicated support to help the schools the most. Is there a fear of having a mentor or coach? Is this a signal the leadership is not strong? I sure hope not.
Mentors are “trusted” wise individuals who offer advice, suggestions, ideas, teach, and model. Sooner or later in our lives, we all need inspiration, direction, and instruction as we face many different things. Even mentors and coaches need to have someone to help them too. We can prepare, be informed, and try to keep up with everything, but if we try that approach, burnout is what we will have.
Modeling for others is the best way to get mentoring started. Provide information about your mentoring experience and see if anyone is interested in participating. Mentors are the best cheerleaders for those they are mentoring. They are also the ones that will provide a reality check—in addition, stretching you to reach beyond your comfort zone to achieve goals.
Every mentoring relationship is different. How you set up your work together is how the outcomes will be developed. At the first meeting together, you can establish the goals you want from the mentoring process.