Coaching has been a norm in the sports arena for many years now and most if not all of the greatest sporting achievements of all time, have been the result of hard work and perseverance on the part of the athlete and the great input and support of their coach. It was not until the early 1990’s that people began to realise the huge benefit, which could flow to them and their businesses, if they engaged the services of a coach, to guide, assist and counsel them. Yes people did engage the services of people who did ostensibly, fill the role of a coach or mentor before then, but up until then they were not referred to as coaches.

A coach’s role, to business professionals, is mainly one of support, guidance and consistent reminders about self-belief, which keep the flame of inspiration burning in the belly of their coachees. The support they offer helps the business professionals that they coach, to remain motivated and inspired and keeps them taking the consistent daily action, necessary to allow them to realise their vision, follow their mission and give life to their goals and dreams.

It is not necessary to spend a fortune hiring a great coach, although there are some really great coaches available out there, who will offer far more value in terms of improved results, than they charge in fees. Look around your environment, there are incredible people available all around you, who can coach or mentor you. The most suitable coaches very often come from within your organisation or industry. The secret to make any coach or mentor relationship work is to ensure that there is always fair exchange between the coach, mentor and the person being coached or mentored. If the person acting as a coach or mentor feels like it is a one way street and you just keep taking and they just keep giving, they will very quickly loose interest.

I have a number of people, who mentor and coach me. Some of whom I hire professionally and pay them for their services. It is really easy to find a way to ensure there is fair exchange with these people. They render a suitable level of service, for which I compensate them for their experience, time and expertise, by paying them a fee. The challenge is to find a way for there to be a flow of fair exchange with a mentor or coach, who does not do coaching or mentoring professionally.

One of the best ways to continue enjoying the support of a mentor or coach, who does not charge for their services, is to form a mastermind group in which you can support each other. This forum gives you the opportunity to support each other at your monthly or by-monthly meetings. As long as everyone within the mastermind group feels they are getting something from the group, this incredibly supportive process will continue. As soon as anyone feels the time they invest into the mastermind exceeds the utility they get from the group, the mastermind will dissolve.

The other way that I have found to enjoy the on-going support of a mentor or coach, is to constantly look for ways to offer equivalent value to them, in return for their continued support. Look at the value any mentor or coach brings into your experience and constantly look for ways to add value to them, which exceeds the value they add to your experience. I have the most incredible mentor, who adds incredible value to my life in the form of consistent input and support for me as a professional speaker. To date I have found almost $ 35 000 worth of training work for my mentor, I constantly look for ways to keep adding value to his experience, by listening to what he may need and then providing it to him.

Adding equivalent value to anyone, who mentors you, is not easy. It requires listening, observing and creative thought. The improvement, which comes from having someone in your life to mentor or coach you, is well worth the effort.

Action Idea: When you are trying to identify the right coach or mentor. It is crucial to know the exact outcome you want to achieve and to ensure that you have a very clear, articulated and written down vision. The next step is to create a crystal clear picture in your mind of exactly what your expectations are regarding a coach or mentor. Record your exact requirements or expectations, which you have envisioned and then decide how much time you would need from them. Finally build a very precise and concise written introduction, which you can use to enlist the help of the coach or mentor.

Armed with your vision and your expectations about what you need and expect from a coach or mentor, search around your environment and try to discover someone, who meets most of your needs as a coach or mentor and then build a plan to approach them. If there is no one suitable within your immediate sphere of influence, expand your search into your industry and beyond by using Google, LinkedIn and even Facebook, to research for prospective mentors or coaches.

Once you have identified the most suitable person or people to coach or mentor you. Approach them with a very clear description of your expectations and the amount of time you would need from them each week, month etc. I have found it advisable to tell them at the outset, how you plan to ensure that there is some sort of fair exchange. Tell them how you plan to add value to their lives, in return for their time. In most cases, when you are really concise, people can see you are not just expecting a hand-out and you show that you know exactly what you are looking for, most people will be willing to assist.

When you learn the art of identifying and effectively utilising all the people around you, who can support you and your vision, as either a coach or mentor, you will have discovered one of the key ingredients to becoming a top performer. There are not very many super successful hermits out there. It is extremely difficult to do things alone. Have the courage and foresight to explore your environment and discover people, who can support you. The massive improvements in the results you will be able to enjoy, will be worth the effort.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas.