There’s a very big difference between a mentor and a coach. Understanding this difference helps you choose the right advisor for your specific needs.
Coach = Arse-Kicker
A coach holds you accountable to your goals.
A coach will kick your arse (hopefully – if they’re a good one). And there are certainly times when we all need that.
I have a personal trainer who really kicks my butt. Her name is Candice. She looks really sweet (stunning, actually) but she has a rather steely smile that makes me want to run – not towards bench pressing but the other way…
I don’t work out as much as I’m supposed to. I don’t do all the lighthouse runs I say I will and I consume way too much chocolate.
But having her kick my arse is a really big help. Enormous, in fact.
My partner and I started working with her to help our physical training, but it’s actually dealing with my mental resistance that she (probably unknowingly) gives me the biggest help with.
Mentor = Walked the Walk (preferably with the bruises to show for it)
There’s many definitions for a mentor. Some are technical, but for me, it’s really simple. It’s someone who has walked the journey you’re hoping to take before.
A mentor actually knows from lived experience which areas are productive and what pitfalls to avoid.
In my experience, the best mentors also have a few scars on their knees and bruises on their butts from failures that taught them big lessons.
Knowing ‘how to fail’ – and fail fast – is really important. This helps you learn, develop and grow.
A mentor should be able to open their trusty book of strategies and give you quick lessons in priority tasks that need to be done and what to avoid.
What makes a good mentor?
When seeking out a mentor look for someone who has reached a point of maturation. This person has acquired enough wisdom and they actually have something of value to give back to others. And that’s not motivated primarily by money.
Quality experience makes a good mentor. But these three attributes make a great one.
A mentor that listens well has greater perception.
They will identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to make them work to achieve your vision quickly.
And they will do this in a way that is utterly supportive, deeply compassionate, non judgmental…and, hopefully, with a sense of humour.
Great mentors have a ‘Get s*#t done!’ attitude that is contagious.
This is important because it allows you to start seeing what is possible through small wins.
Progress and success begets progress and success.
But they should only advise you to pursue tactics that are sustainable for your business.
By this I mean things that can be achieved without pushing into overwhelm.
For example, yesterday I was talking to a very bright, very passionate woman who wants to start a movement around women and fitness, ultimately women accepting themselves.
However she has very limited funds.
She is working on her new websites.
We constantly push our clients to get the best website possible because it’s their promotional hub. But in working with her, we both agreed to make a Holden not a Mercedes website.
Even though I know this is far from ideal, it is doable.
Importantly, it gets her started. Momentum is everything. The energy of ‘just starting’ is magnetic. A way better option than having no web presence at all.
I know that having built this site this young woman will start to gain traction, build her tribe and know she is beginning to make her mark.
After that – she’ll create her sparkling new site.
So do you need a coach or a mentor?
I always have at least one mentor or coach for my business (and personal life). I have them for specific areas I’m working on. So I know who I need to call for assistance at any given time. But if you’re having trouble deciding try taking a good look at your objectives. What sort of plan are you trying to achieve?
If you have total clarity surrounding your vision and exactly how you will achieve it then perhaps you should sign up for an arse-kicking.
But if you want someone to help pave a smoother pathway and get s*#t done in a way that won’t break you, seek out a mentor.