I posed a question to myself at the start of the year, “Am I really a coach, or more like a mentor?”
Describing ourselves and what we do, when asked that inevitable question, “So what do you do?” can be a challenge when you are your business.
I’ve had job titles in my corporate life describing me as a ‘coach’.
I’ve been a Work Coach and an Enterprise Coach.
When my world’s as an author and business advisor collided and spawned my own business in 2015, I gravitated towards describing myself as a ‘Writing Coach’.
The problems is, that wasn’t specific enough.
Calling myself a ‘writer’ got me the wrong work – copywriting jobs.
And calling myself a Writng Coach somehow wasn’t right.
In business, you need to make what you do really clear and simple, otherwise, you won’t attract the right people or the right kind of work.
It’s hard for anyone to refer to you when they ‘don’t get’ what you do.
How we describe what we do is as fluid as our businesses.
Naturally, we’ll change, progress, do it differently, as we adapt our approach to suit the changing demands of the market and of our customers.
One of my Brave mentees said to me last week, “But I feel like I’m just making it up as I go along!” At which point, I reassured her, “We’re all just making it up as we go along. The important thing is to enjoy the ride!”
Am I a Mentor or a Coach?
I realised something recently; the work I do – supporting entrepreneurs writing their blog, or book – is more mentoring than coaching. I’ve taken to calling myself a Writing Mentor, more and more. It seems appropriate.
Why the change? What difference does it make?
When you really refine the work you do, you can build a stronger, more authentic profile.
It’s better to be known as the ‘go-to person for X’ than being wishy-washy.
I want to be the go-to expert for business blogging and creative non-fiction books.
When you’re confident and clear about what you do, who you do it for and why you do it, it’s much easier for others to have confidence in you and be clear on how you can help them.
It may just be a word, but sometimes changing one small word can change the impact of the whole sentence. Do that enough times and you’ll write a whole new story.
Ditch the wishy-washy and become memorable.
What’s The Difference Between A Coach and mentor?
I asked the Googlebot and it spat out this handy article from Forbes: Read More.
It’s not entirely appropriate as it applies to career progression within a business, however, in essence:
A Coach Is…
Someone trained and certified in a coaching practice or tool and has strong process management skills. For example, they may be qualified in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).
A coach works for a fixed time on a defined project or goal.
When I work with my clients, it’s not necessary for me to understand their industry. The tools I’m sharing can be adapted to all sorts of businesses.
According to Wikipedia: “Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance.”
A Mentor Is…
Someone who has been there, done that as is passing on their wisdom. A relationship is long term, or ongoing.
I’m a writer. An author. A blogger. I established my author profile by blogging. Over time, I developed expertise in both blogging and book writing.
I’ve worked with clients on a one-off basis or been there for them over the course of a few years. I have clients I’m working with now, who I worked with in my old life as a Coach at an Enterprise Agency. We’re on the business growth journey together.
I think of a mentor as someone who helps you along your journey. Someone who’s walked a similar path themselves, but we’re both learning along the way.
According to Wikipedia “Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise.” …in my case, blogging and book writing!
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