6 Tips on Finding a Coach

coaching

This is a Guest Story by Andrew Mason, founder of ProGuide and media director at Bay Shore Community Church.

My name’s Andrew Mason, and I get to spend my time learning from people who have stories to tell.  I hesitate calling myself an “authority” on any subject, but with the 8BIT team as my mentors, for whatever reason, I’ve been able to interview Fortune 500 brands & NY Times Bestselling authors on how they became so successful.

Personal growth happens when we’re willing to listen and stand on the shoulders of people way smarter than we are.  And here are a few concepts we’ve picked up along the journey:

1.  Be Humble

You’re just a person.

You don’t know it all.

Coaches won’t care who you are or what personal skill you’re proud of.  You can always learn and there’s always someone who knows more than you do.

But you have to swallow your pride.

Close your mouth, and be willing to learn.

2.  Choose Wisely

Just because someone’s famous or can attract a crowd doesn’t mean they’d make a great coach. Just as we choose our friends wisely, so we should choose our mentors.  As Andy Stanley says,

What and who you listen to will affect what you do.

We pick someone who is where we want to be one day.

2.  Persistance Pays Dividends

If the first person you ask says “no”, don’t give up.  Ask someone else.

We traditionally get a 1-to-5 yes-to-no ratio for interviews.  The people you want to learn from are already busy.

When getting interviews with thought leaders, we didn’t have any leverage other than creativity.  So we structured our “ask” in a way that creates value for the mentor as well.  Get creative and stand out.  As Fallon says in Juicing the Orange,

Imagination is the last legal means of gaining an unfair advantage over the competition.

 3.  Do Your Homework

If you’re willing to put work into something with literally no guarantee of success…..It shows you’re serious about growing.

If we finally score a sit-down with a mentor or coach, we show them we’ve prepared by thinking of questions in advance.  We learned the hard way that you can’t just park down in front of them, hoping random guru-like wisdom to spew.

Have a reason for meeting. Have a point. Help your mentor along by asking good questions.

4.  Listen in Categories

Listen selectively.  No one’s great at everything.  Interview people only regarding subjects they’re competent in.

Humans are strange.  We drink soft-drinks because our favorite sports star endorses it. We shouldn’t take life advice from someone who’s speaking outside their area of authority.  Keep the good stuff.  Discard the trash.

5. Actually Listen & Apply!

There’s no place in mentorship for laziness or egos.  If your mentor’s respected your time by choosing to meet, respect their time by listening well and applying what you’ve learned.

It’s an insult to your coach to finally meet with them only to do all of the talking.

Nod your head. Listen. Take notes. Then get to work.

6.  Follow-up Only…

…if progress is made or clarity is needed.  If you actually applied what they suggested and now have a new batch of questions, it’s fair game.

Your coach is smart. If you meet with someone for any other reason than to *actually implement* their advice or serve them, you’re wasting their time.  Don’t try to be best friends.  Don’t just hang out.  Keep the meeting professional.

Finally…

It’s worth it!  There are so many quality people out there that have a ton of wisdom.  My leadership and personal growth have skyrocketed since listening to people who’ve already done what I’m doing.

Do you have a personal mentor?  What advice do you have for helping this process along?

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