I was asked this question during a call a couple of weeks ago…
I had not given it specific definitive thought before…
So many people use these words randomly and they interchange oner with another without much thought or care
So WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
A teacher will give you instructions to help you learn to perform a set task or series of tasks in the right order, at the right time, to get a result.
If you think of a driving instructor as a teacher, he will teach you to walk around the vehicle before you get in it. Make sure everything's legal and safe. Make sure that you know what that vehicle does, how it does it.
In you get, turn the key. These are the gears. These are the controls, and they will teach you to perform the task of driving.
A coach will take you as a driver, and I'm using driving because it is in my DNA, but I think it's a good specific example. A coach will sit with somebody who knows how to “drive”, and gently correct with very small things, ways of improving efficiency, ways of improving comfort for the passenger and the drive, ways of using the vehicle in a way that saves tires, saves fuel. In other words, there's an improvement in performance and we're only looking for small percentages.
A mentor will stand back and say, “Where do you want this vehicle to take you? Why do you want to go there? What are we going to need on the journey? Is this vehicle suitable to get you where you want to go with the equipment that you want to take there?” So in other words, a mentor won't tell you how to turn the ignition on, how to put the fuel in, how to change or check the tires. A mentor will make, and sometimes they will have to double-take because they will assume that you know how to use that vehicle safely and effectively.
And it may be that during the initial conversation, and that initial conversation is all about dealing with the student's anxieties. Because if the student wasn't anxious, the student wouldn't have sought me out.
The Mentee Finds The Mentor
not vice versa.
So the mentee will go, “I don't really know where I'm going with this. I need somebody just… I know I know how to drive, I know I know how to reverse, but this is something that I've… I've never been on the continent. I don't know what I'm going to find. I really don't know what I'm going to expect.” So they're anxious, and there's some hidden anxiety.
Let's Set The Anxieties To One side
The mentor will tease those anxieties out and then show them for what they are and show the mentee the mentor's experience in dealing with those anxieties. And a good mentor will say, “Do you know what? You've got challenges that I've never come across. And actually, I'm not the best person for you right now. But, I know somebody that is.”
Or if they feel that the skill set required to achieve the end result isn't quite there, say, “Hey, look, before we work on this challenge together, you really need to know where the fucking ignition key goes and how to turn the engine on and how to check the oil and how to check the water.”
We're talking about driving to the Sahara, over land and sea, and you can't even turn the ignition on. Mate, you've got skill sets to learn. These are the people that will teach you those skill sets. When you come back, let's review their goal. And they change all the time. And the mentor's job is to maintain the focus on the future. Why are we performing the tasks?
- If anything I've said interests you, by all means,
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