One of our clients, a senior executive who leads a large team, recently said her boss had told her that she needed to be more gregarious in order to be a truly effective coach and mentor. “Take them out for coffee, drinks, a meal! That's the best way to connect.” he said.
This deeply worried her. She began believing that her introverted ways made her a bad coach and mentor. She worried that those under her charge would be severely disadvantaged.
However, based on her description of her coaching conversations with her team members, we could see she was asking all the right questions and having fruitful discussions. Her staff were excelling and growing in their careers under her mentorship.
Should lively coffee, lunch, dinner or late night drinking dates be a key part of a coaching and mentoring relationship?
First of all, let's be clear about what an effective coaching and mentoring relationship constitutes.
Most would agree that a coach or mentor needs to be, among other things, a good listener and a nurturing person who is able to help people reach their full potential. Naturally, being in rapport with each other during coaching and mentoring conversations is also crucial.
Most people remember such coaches and mentors fondly regardless of whether they had convivial social get-togethers with them.
The point is, meaningful connection can take place even without gregarious gatherings.
Let's also take into account that not all employees are extroverts. Some may actually prefer not to socialise.
In short, before urging introverted managers to change their personalities, think about what's really required to cultivate a great coaching and mentoring relationship.
Are introverts destined to fail as coaches and mentors? Certainly not.
This post was co-written by Communications Strategist, Consultant and Coach, Bharati Jagdish.
A true story…
Sandy recalled her early days as a coach. She placed her NLP workshop manual under her chair as she prepared for her first client. It was just in case she needed it.
Smilingly, she attested to the fact that she had come a long way. As her confidence and sense of security built over her journey, she emerged to become a masterful coach.
Never in Sandy’s wildest dreams did she ever expect to be shown a road beyond corporate coaching. Her skills ventured beyond to working with mental illness. Her NLP training had led her to a profound and unexpected place.
She was thankful for the process-driven technology that led her to superior client results in a short time. Gaining mastery in corporate applications, Sandy then challenged herself further by slicing across vertical channels into the Asia Pacific Region.
Her greatest fulfilment was that her life purpose was being fulfilled. This mindful and heightened awareness she experienced produced so many benefits in accelerating decision making and deepening intuition.
She was far more effective today. She had learnt strategy that cut through noise efficiently. She had a sense of direction and purpose that catapulted her to achieving goals she set. She wished this for everyone.
If only they would take that first step to train their minds…..
Sylvia was Sandy’s NLP trainer. An ex-banker who had reinvented herself, she soul searched for more than five years to find meaning in life.
As she meandered through her journey, her decisions led to having different people around her. Her language was more influential, a far cry from the tactless, straight forward style she had walked away from. Her posture and outlook to life had transformed.
Beginning to realise she was also attracting different types of people like Sandy, John and Sara who were also on that same path. Intuitively they knew she would be able to help as everything she said was like music to their ears. They needed guidance from someone like her who had been there, done that!
And so they signed up for her NLP Practitioner program which was an international certification. Sandy and Sara wanted to start their own business and needed coaching skills. John was a corporate man who managed a team and his desire was to transfer coaching skills to them.
Sylvia began with an opener “it was Norman Vincent Peale who said change your thoughts and you change your world.” There was no shortage of advice on the benefits of this on the internet, in books, seminars, courses and workshops.
Sylvia went on to add that she was going to share the HOW TO make that change. Change had to come from within. Anything otherwise was considered coercion. Thoughts were the result of a constant ebb and flow between the conscious and unconscious minds. They gave rise to emotions which dictated how we felt. They were powerful beyond measure.
Even long after an upsetting event or situation, there were times when these thoughts still took precedence. It was so important to be aware of thoughts that drove us so that they could be changed, if needed.
This was the first step to change yet Sylvia found in her experience, many people allowed their thoughts to control them. This is where she played. Bringing thoughts to awareness, for people who wanted change in their performance. Re-directing the brain to achieve something different to what they were doing.
The best part about all this was that it was easy to make that change. As long as a person identified where their thoughts emanated from. Was it their ego or voices from the past? Voices of parents, authority figures, siblings or friends? Were they stored neatly away in compartments or scattered any which way?
In the course of one of her programs, Sylvia related how she met a lady who was in her forties. She had everything going for her but somehow sabotaged herself at the end. She never achieved her goals.
Through the course Sylvia uncovered her emotional strategy to reveal that she did all the right things but sabotaged herself only at the end. A voice in her head was the blockage.
When asked whose voice it was, she revealed in horror “oh my God it’s my mother’s voice”. Her mother had put her down from childhood and told her she would amount to nothing. As soon as she realized that same voice was playing in her mind she wondered why she had not realised this earlier.
This was often the case in Sylvia’s experience. Like a carpenter who knew where to cut wood and how to piece it together, Sylvia was a master of the mind. She knew where the internal knots were and how to untie them.
Sylvia merely worked with the strategy of what was not working and blew it out to release the person to freedom. Understanding behavior patterns were crucial. The source of thought patterns needed to be eradicated.
Sylvia had observed that most people were on autopilot which did not augur well for introspection. On the other side of the coin those who were unleashing their full potential via changing mindsets, were doing so successfully just from a simple thing like identifying their driver thought patterns.
Best of all these change processes were easy to transfer across to others, so they could replicate talent. Ultimately it was important to take that first step and just do it!
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.