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WHAT IS A COACH/MENTOR LIKE?

WHAT IS A COACH/MENTOR LIKE?

The famous psychologist Carl Rogers found, thanks to his studies and his field experience, that warmth and acceptance are more important than specific techniques and procedures. When people feel safe, valued and when supported, they are more prone to flourish. This concept is especially highlighted in mentoring and also in coaching: good knowledge is nothing without the right attitude. In fact, encouragement and support are among the most important and valued mentoring functions, according to several studies, and that has a lot to do with the personality traits and the style of a mentor, more than with their concrete knowledge. What am I like interpersonally? and What are my primary relational habits? are questions that every mentor o person considering to become a mentor should take into account, as the answers can be determining for their mentoring performance. In the same way, a coach needs to be aware of her personal contribution to her coachee, given her crucial role in the awareness path she will support to develop with her coachee.

Of course, human beings can be very different one from another, and may have a unique style of mentoring or coaching. Nevertheless, there are some personality features and interpersonal skills that are important, if not indispensable, to fulfil all the tasks previously listed. People who have these features will, therefore, easily have or acquire the skills needed to fit the role they are called to provide. These are personality traits and attitudes that are normally intrinsic, but it doesn’t mean that people can’t develop them if they are really willing to and make an effort. These are the essential ones (Johnson & Ridley, 2004):

Warmth and caring. When someone approaches with a friendly and open attitude, it translates into respect. People feel accepted, admired and valued, which increases their self-confidence. When showing it verbally, it is important to use also non-verbal language, as it shows that the caring and warmth are sincere and genuine.

Active listening. If you listen actively, through verbal prompts and non-verbal language, when the mentee/coachee speaks, she will feel that they are being taken seriously, which is essential for the relationship.

Open-mindedness and tolerance.  It’s extremely important to be aware and accept that everyone is a unique individual. Being tolerant towards the different opinions, ideas and approaches that can emerge in the relationship, and accepting them without being judgemental, makes the communication easier and much more effective.

Reliability and commitment.  Commitment and seriousness are really important to create a relation rooted in trust: scheduling time for the mentee/coachee, faithfully keeping the appointments and respecting confidentiality. These are signs that you are trustworthy, which will give the mentee/coachee much confidence in the process of coaching you would like to start.

Communicativeness. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively everything that has to be communicated: from expectations to concerns, from suggestions and advice to concrete instructions, as well as feelings.

Realistic rigorousness. Being exigent is fundamental, if a mentor/coach didn’t have high expectations for the mentee/coachee, their role wouldn’t make any sense and this would result in a lack of motivation. Still, it’s important to be realistic, knowing that expecting perfection will probably lead to disappointment.

Honesty. It is essential to be honest for different reasons. Firstly, integrity and ethics have to be always respected. Secondly, being a WECoach is a role model for the mentee, so if the first is not honest and sincere, it could lead to the mentee not being honest, affecting the relation and making the coaching ineffective.

Sense of initiative. It is important to take the initiative when the mentee is not ready to take some steps. In fact, even if the relationship must be as mutual as possible, the WECoach should always be the one who leads it and understand when it is necessary to make the next move or change something, and work on it.

Humility.  When you appreciate your own limitations, you are seen as real and approachable, which potentiates mutuality. Instead, without humility, the relationship is superficial, and so is the communication.

Keen interpersonal competences. These can be described as emotional intelligence and consist on being empathic, self-aware, non-defensive and open to feedback. It is about understanding of the other and of oneself.

These qualities are really important in the role of coaching: once someone possesses them, it is not difficult to acquire or develop the adaptation, communication, and organisation skills needed to fulfil a WECoach tasks. Furthermore, it is proved that being friendly, open, approachable and encouraging can be crucial to allow others to feel more comfortable with risk-taking, surer about their success and more relaxed asking for help or advice.

What can a mentee expect from a coach/mentor?

  • To help them to work out clearly and specifically what they want or need to achieve and the best way to get there.
  • To ask them questions and challenge them in order to stimulate their critical thinking, and creativity, and to help them refine their ideas and make them clearer.
  • To give feedback to the mentee, helping them to learn from mistakes (Morgan, n.d.).
 
 

Project Coordinator

EUROCIRCLE
Centre d'Information Europe Direct


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https://eurocircle.fr/
+33 4 91 42 94 75

Charlotte Perault, EU Project Manager
charlotte@eurocircle.info

Hélène Seigneur, EU Project Manager
helene@eurocircle.info

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