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Personal Mentoring is an invaluable tool which supports our development as a coach. Mentoring isn’t about telling the coach what or how to do something but tends to be more aligned to helping the coach make their own choice by suggesting options; more importantly, mentoring is about developing a relationship and may cover a wide range of issues and challenges a coach may face.
Coaches today require practical, targeted and sometimes bespoke support in the development of their coaching craft; I have a few questions if I may.
Are you currently mentoring anyone?
Looking at this forum specifically I am really keen to understand the answers to these questions as Mentoring is a passion of mine and looking into my crystal ball I suspect there will be a greater requirement for this type of coaching support in the future…my email is email@example.com
I've had 3 fantastic mentor's over the past 8 years who have given me excellent advice and support throughout my coaching career.
My first mentor helped me back into athletics and taught me that sports isn't just about grinding yourself or your athletes into the ground it's about making it fun for all. She also helped me to overcome many other obstacles, thanks to her I have been able to pass information on like she has given. Sadly she passed away 3 years ago so all that she taught me stays close to my heart someone I will never forget.
For the past 22 months I have built a great relationship with head throws coach coaching Paralympic Athletes, something that I never thought I would be doing, he has supported me with new techniques, terminologies and working with different disabilities. Thanks you him I'm a more confident coach.
I would love to have the chance to become a mentor to others and pass on the information I too have been given.
Unsure about payment, I don't get paid for the coaching bare to think the amount of mentoring I have had how much this would have cost me.
A very interesting subject, and I hope we get the thoughts of many of our members.
Like Emma, I would also not have the knowledge I have today, without at least four mentors when I first started. Their knowledge has helped to form the very basics of all my day to day coaching. When I first started, you never heard the words coach, performance, and science, you were a shooting instructor, working at one of the few schools on a full, part-time or voluntary basis, being mentored by the Chief Instructor. The process was always the same, if you worked full or part time you started off trapping, then became an assistant coach and so on. Working on a voluntary basis meant you carried the cartridges and clients gun, until the day the mentor (head coach) let you take the lesson. Things have changed, back then the mentor would criticise you during the lesson, today this would probably be seen as not good practice, but I consider my learning experience benefited from the old ways.
Would I like to continue with this mentoring form of learning? yes I would. In a way my tutor at ISSF level has become a mentor. On the odd occasion that I am not 100% sure of a cure for a specific problem, I will email or phone him for his advice, or confirmation that I was on the right track.
Would I pay to be mentored? again yes I would. In my opinion, the very best shooting sport coaches today are based in Russia, Italy, and perhaps the other ex Soviet Union countries. I would love the chance to spend a week watching and learning from the best in the world.
Do I mentor someone? yes, I work with someone who started coaching about two years ago. We run several coaching sessions together, including our Ladies Club. The system works well mainly because he will ask questions all the time, and is also not afraid to stop, and say to his pupil that he wants some input from me on a problem.
We can study all the sports science and other coaching matter, but having someone who is one of the best in the world in their field mentoring us, even if for just short sessions, or a week must be a positive. Anyone fancy sponsoring me for a week in Russia?
Emma - thanks for replying, appreciated
Your initial Mentor sounds as though she was a real inspiration - that's outstanding, she helped you realise your love for your sport - what an amazing gift and legacy.
Moving onto the other coach you appear to have struck up a great relationship with him and he is inspiring you to move in an area you previously haven't operated - you say thanks to him you are a 'more confident coach' - would you mind sharing 'how' this has happened, perhaps it's his methodologies, his rapport building skills, coaching empathy or even, his devotion to the sport...
I know the desire to achieve is important in all stages of life. Within sport we tend to try and achieve everything younger and earlier, (although this can be seen as 'too much too soon' or 'they haven't even learnt how to walk yet'), and sports also depends on training and or instruction given by more experienced people, Coaches? Mentors? Both? (can you be both?)
This could be challenging when we consider our athletes build up a dependence as they often perceive their coach gives them the 'power' to achieve - perhaps the role of the independent Mentor could be of value?
Questions to consider.....
How do I prepare myself for a mentoring role - what is my motivation?
David - thanks for your post - an interesting read.
would you like to share further your mentoring relationship you refer to - of particular interest is the transfer of information between mentor and 'mentee' - there are many differing types of mentoring
Not an exhaustive list but the qualities required to mentor are essential
and maybe the possibility to open doors to relevant experiences of your 'mentee'
Followed your link from Twitter - interesting website on first viewing! thanks! Apologies for my poor and un detailed response, its late - but i liked the subject and wanted to respond.
I would say i have a mentor without actually asking them to be or them offering themselves up as a mentor. We met a few year ago through coaching the same age group in Rugby. We shared very similar views about local rugby coaching and the need for it to vastly improve (mainly by attitude) He is now also involved in the Professional Rugby Coaching Environment.
Would i pay? No because i believe a mentor is someone who cares enough to not want to receive payment for mentoring. Its hard to put into words but id have to question whether they are right to be a mentor if they expect payment?
My 'Mentor' has made me believe in myself more as a rugby coach and to have more confidence throughout my progression. He has given me opportunity to gain confidence through coaching by putting me with good coaches. There are many reasons why my mentor has helped me massively but there are 2 main ones - (1) Given practical opportunity for me to gain confidence (2) made me realise through discussions and his own experience that i can be a good coach and not to be intimated.
I wouldn't say i am mentoring anyone in particular at the moment but through my role at my local rugby club i have started to work with coaches that want to improve. This role i really enjoy! its going round in a circle really isn't it? ..... through me working with other coaches - not only gives me confidence i also learn from them.
Jon - great to hear from you and welcome to this site - it's fantastic.
Confidence is a theme which is becoming a golden thread through the responses seen so far - what is it about the mentor that gives you the confidence - what are the 'how' skills they employ?
What type of Mentor was that Chief Instructor many years ago? Mentor, A person who advises and helps an inexperienced person. So in my case, this allowed me to watch and learn from someone who was able to pass on his knowledge, skills,and experience to me. Someone (me) who was determined and passionate to learn from one of the best, in an environment that at that time had very little openings. So was he a professional mentor?
I agree with Jon (Ford) that I also probably had mentors that did not realise they were mentoring me. Thinking back some of those must have thought I was a pain in the backside, with constant questions, and quests for information. My Chief Instructor (main mentor) could probably see that I was willing to learn those skills no matter what obstacles were put in my way, and this helped develop a fantastic mentor/ mentee relationship.
This has now helped me mentor my trainee instructor / coach. It's easy to put him in my shoes many years ago, a role reversal. For him, he has a interest in learning and will also continually ask questions. He understands the process of what we are doing and how this will help his development. He is not afraid to admit when something or someone is beyond his current capabilities, and that there is a long process of learning in front of him.
My mentoring, that's easy pay back time for all those that mentored me, knowingly or unknowingly.
wow! I've been around this one many times since you asked and I can't come up with a straight answer.
I think that being at a high level i their career is key but then being able to speak with humility and understanding that they have been in a similar place to you?
Dusty. it's funny how sometimes things just work out in a positive manner. I was talking to a High Performance Coach (outside GB) about my CPD, and mentoring came into the conversation. I now have the offer of being mentored and getting involved with HP / Elite athletes in Europe. To say I am happy would be an understatement! I was also advised to get in touch with other sports HP Coaches in the UK and ask if I could spend a few days shadowing them, to see how HP coaching works in different sports. Emails have been sent to see if anyone can help.
This is a really interesting subject I think.
I have had a few "unofficial" mentors from whom I have taken and awful lot of advice and direction from. Mainly people I have met through coaching or watching who have taken an interest in what I am doing or trying to do and offered assistance.
often the issues faced at the levels I am coaching are rarely the issues an elite coach would face. They are more about the issues of managing personalities and people problems. How to deal with disruptive athletes and the like.
very often the role the mentor has taken different roles. Sometimes they have been technically helpful. Other times they have direct me towards a route to deal with certain problems I am facing and other times it or has simply been a sounding board for my rants.
I think the best thing a mentor can provide is the ability to self reflect out loud. Also to help you come to the realisiation that actually you play a large part in these problems yourself if you are too stubborn to look at your own actions.
I don't think I would pay but I am lucky enough to have good people around me I can seek advice from who are experienced coaches and athletes.
The benefits have been huge to me I have developed confidence in my coaching and confidence in the ability to identify my own failings. The latter part of that is the most important I think as thats the area we can create improvements from.
Hi Karl - great to hear from you and thanks for your thoughts
Hope you're well my friend?
I have just joined and find this really interesting!
I have just started my UKCC Level 4 and on our application we already had to put the names of two mentors that would help throughout the two year programme. I soon realised that although I admired the achievements of my two mentors, they weren't the best equipped to be mentors as they couldn't relate how they achieved this success! I have had to put great thought to what I really needed from a mentor; someone who would challenge me, give feedback but not over criticise, be approachable and available, and interested in learning with me!
It would have be helpful to have had this information before starting the Level 4!
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