A Coaching and Mentoring Mindset

Whenever you are about to coach or mentor it is important to prepare yourself for the session ahead, just as you would encourage the learner to do the same.

Prepping rooms, collating notes booking the meeting are a given, but it is the more psychological part of preparation that needs to be considered.

Running from a meeting to a coaching session will leave you on the ‘back foot’ and not present for the session, the learner may well subconsciously lead on the conversation whilst you gather your thoughts. Verbal and visual cues might be missed because you haven’t had time to ‘tune in’ to the conversation. It is also unfair on the learner if they are present, but the coach doesn’t show the same courtesy.

To mentally prepare the coach and mentor can:

  • Take time to read though last sessions notes and actions
  • If a topic has already been identified for the session then giving thought to potential questions and areas of discussion
  • Prepare how you are going to share feedback if there is feedback to be given
  • Leave any work folder at your desk just working with your coaching note pad
  • Arrive at the venue early and composing thoughts and letting the last business discussion dissipate for your mind
  • Leave your mobile at your desk to avoid distraction – also creates good habits with the learner
  • Be aware of and manage any personal ‘quirks’ that you know will distract you from the coaching.

Any habits that the coach demonstrates will be picked up by the learner and interpret as a signal that they can do the same. Coaching is mostly behaviourally based, and the coach has a responsibility to lead on the demonstration of the behaviours they seek in the learner. A well know quote states ‘be the change you want to see’, very applicable to coaching.

As mentoring can be more fluid, conversational and evolving therefore there may be less mental preparation to be done, however, the stopping of other work, turning off phone and giving attention are fundamentals to the relationship and mutual respect.

Developing your coach and mentoring mindset

  • Before going into a meeting pay attention to how you are feeling and what you are thinking. What is going on? How prepared are you for the meeting? What could you do to increase your readiness?
  • Compare a meeting you mentally prepared for to one you didn’t, what was the difference?