When it comes to growing our careers, we often look for mentors, business coaches or training programs to help us. But sometimes we sell ourselves short by thinking we can only have one of these things at a time as in, “I don’t need a mentor and a coach.” Or “If I go to that training program, I’ll skip signing up for the mentoring program.”
There’s no rule that says you can’t have it all. In fact, having it all could be the perfect thing to do.
You can have the benefits of coaches, mentors and training by creating your own personal board of advisors. Think of this as a group of people who work with you to help you achieve your goals. The group has three learning roles:
- Teachers. When we don’t know how to do something — such as a process or activity — we want someone to teach us. This is especially true if we enjoy hands-on learning.
- Mentors. Speaking of learning, mentors can help us learn in a different way. While they might teach us, the process is a little less “hands-on” and more conversational.
- Coaches. The final aspect of learning is coaching. This is when we’re guided through a process to achieve our goals, but the responsibility is on us to figure out the learning component.
There are some benefits to developing a personal board of advisors over having the individual learning relationships:
- The relationships are more flexible. If you have a defined mentoring relationship, your mentor might be reluctant to cross the line over to coach or teacher. In a board of advisors relationship, everyone has the ability to contribute where they feel comfortable.
- The group can learn from each other. This isn’t to say coaches don’t learn from the people they’re coaching. In fact, teachers learn from students all the time. But a board of advisors relationship could take learning to a new level because multiple people are involved.
The key to successfully developing a personal board of advisors is figuring out the goal of the group and brining the right group together.
In any type of training, coaching, or mentoring relationship, there’s a goal. It’s the same with a personal board of advisors. Because the group dynamic is different, goals might be added or evolve over time. But there’s still a goal that keeps the group focused.
The goal also drives who you should ask to participate. There are lots of fantastic people in this world who have mad skills. But your personal board of advisors needs to buy into your success and your goal. Otherwise, there’s a chance you won’t achieve it.
No matter who you are, and where you are in your career, you can use a coach, mentor and trainer. Maybe take the next step and, instead of choosing between the three … choose all three and develop a personal board of advisors. Your career might thank you for it.
If you’re looking for more information on developing your career, check out these posts: