Some people are born coaches. I am not one of them.
One does not get mentoring lessons at school. There is not enough time to read books on effective coaching. My only guides have been two specific rules.
First is thinking about how I would have wanted my mentor to coach me. And then coach my mentee the same way.
The second is to observe my current mentors. Notice the techniques that enable my growth. Inculcate these methods in my mental model. Similarly, spot where they are ineffective and learn to avoid them.
Recently, my boss inadvertently showed me a flaw in my first rule.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
- Deiter Rams’ 8th principle of Good Design.
That embodies my personality. I believe that my work should be proper (read, perfect). And, at times, I become rigid about maintaining that standard. Thanks to this, my output is usually of good quality (not bragging 😅). That satisfies me. The gratification keeps me intrinsically motivated. Thus, I continue to work like this.
My rule assumes how I would have wanted my mentor to coach me. That means that I presume my coach to have equally high standards. It is a flaw. Since everyone is different, my way of operating does not work for everyone.
Patience is a Virtue
I also have a patience problem. When I think I can do something faster and the other person takes more time, then that annoys me. I have worked on this quite a lot in the last few years. But there is room for improvement.
What is Next?
My overarching goal is to be a good leader. I believe a good leader is also an effective mentor and coach. So, I am actively going to make myself a good mentor.
The following are the next steps for me:
- Stop judging by the yardstick of “is this how I would have done it?”
- It is okay if things are not how I thought they would be. If it is 80% there, it is good enough.
- If there are areas of refinement, then definitely point them out.
- Stop thinking that I could have done it quickly. Get comfortable with others being slow/fast.
Let’s see how it goes.