Mentorship – My journey as a industry ‘influencer’
Elements Head Coach – Martin Smith
Me, and my own struggles in a competitive industry.
The sheer fact that I decided to actually have the self-belief to do something like this is testament to my own self-growth and development. As someone with low self-esteem and self-worth, having never felt ‘good enough’ in anything I’ve ever done, I never really thought I’d be in the position to impart my advice to coaches with less experience. But that was kind of the point. That’s what our mentorship is all about, self development. The relentless pursuit of improvement. For someone with low self-worth, self-belief and self-esteem, that is the thing I know I can preach. I’m never good enough for my own standards – THAT is the fuel for my passion for coaching practice. And THAT, I can certainly impart onto others.
With all the above being said, there are things I believe I do well – not yet as good as I want – but better than most if truth be told. And these things I believe make me better as a coach, justified and vindicated by the feedback gained from those who benefit from it. It’s taken a long, LONG time for me to get to the level of confidence in my own ability, knowledge & more importantly – practical application of this whereby I feel my ethics justify running a program upon which other coaches exchange money for my time and input – to help them cut a lot of that time out.
So EXACTLY WHO is the mentorship program aimed at & why?
In one sentence – it is coaches that share a similar vision as myself. Again, I’ll come onto what that means in detail shortly, but at this point I think it’s important that I don’t think that this is the ONLY approach to coaching and as a result, this mentorship program MAY NOT BE IDEAL for you. But that’s OK, I’m OK with that in my own conscience as I know that all I can do is help in a way that has made me realise some of my long term dreams – one of which being a self-sufficient coach for over a decade. So all I know is my way and if the things I’m saying don’t resonate with you – then there is probably a better mentor out there for you.
In terms of experience/level etc – simply put, if you are a coach having just completed an industry-recognised qualification, or a coach who has completed said certification but as yet you have had the success to transfer it over to actual paying customers, then this 12-week program is aimed squarely at you.
As for the why, again, simply put, because I feel the gap between education and realisation of potential on industry qualifications is a tough one to bridge. I’m sure that if you even wanted to do this as a job in the first place, then you must be passionate about fitness and about helping others improve theirs.
Later in this post I will expand a little detail about what is included within the 12 week program, but there are a couple of absolute necessities for you to be allowed onto the program.
1: Your primary ambition MUST be that you are doing the job because you want to help make a difference day-to-day to your clients
2: You MUST attend EVERY session & complete EVERY task set. This may seem a little authoritarian, but I’m valuing my time and energy input into this so highly that to miss a session, or to not complete a task will be non-negotiable.
My vision for a mentorship plan to benefit hungry & driven coaches
So that being said – let’s get back to lighter tones again?. My intention was to have a platform whereby the objectives of individual development could be achieved within a group setting. Following on from this blog is my diary over the first group session that we ran – our pilot program before going live with the complete version in 2022. However before that, I wanted to share the timeline up to the present which shaped the content included.
The background to the pilot itself featured 2 individual mentorship programs – the final one stretching over the full 12 weeks and therefore providing me with the template of the ‘finished route map’ that would carry over to the group sessions. In my planning of the 1-1’s that were completed, I had a rough outline for what I wanted to cover, whilst allowing room for the student to input what they wanted to cover from each session. What this allowed was comparison between regular topics of discussion and the transferability between coaches with totally different skill sets and directions.
What surprised me about this was that the topics I wanted to cover were largely what the students wanted help with – along with one or two topics not noted – as I was expecting. Going into the individual test subjects I thought that my role would be relatively passive for the main part and reactive where needed, this turned out not to be the case. This actually served as a relief to me, as taking a more active role to cover what I felt would leave them with a better change for progress left it more down to my ability for creating a platform better suited to group scenarios.
A 3-phase approach was taken which had the following umbrella titles
- PHASE 1 : DESIGN (Your career journey) – Long-term goal setting, self-assessment of strengths & weaknesses & the impact these have on realisation of your career targets.
- PHASE 2 : REFINE (Your coaching practices and processes) – Improving clients programming, developing a better business brain and professional critique sessions.
- PHASE 3 : ALIGN (Your focus and target to conversions) – Following gaining the results, trust and confidence in the first 2 phases, the final phase focuses on a transition to more paying customers & different career pathways which suit you and your skillset.
The first 2 phases were delivered via group format – often pairing up the participants with each other or in small groups to complete practical tasks or take part in discussion. Each week they were levied with completing a task based on that weeks topic & often would be required to meet up (or via digital means) to complete the task. As each phase of the program allows for use of the facility – on occasion we could catch up quickly to discuss issues they were having regarding each task, breaking down any stigma of uncertainty over the week regarding what was needed. Of course, I remained on hand should any questions need to be asked via quick call or group message.
The final phase combined group and individual sessions to allow the direction to take a more fluid approach to what was covered and allow more student input to the development they needed at that particular time. We took stock on what had been covered over the 12 weeks and progress made in development of knowledge & application while outlining further support options post-completion. Reflecting back on the 3 months highlighted just how much we had covered and the growth in ability of the students was fantastic to see and with real variation in the application of their existing skills was a real reward.
That summarises the specific period of time leading up to the first mentorship uptake. For more on the diary of the 12 week mentorship program read the next blog in the series HERE!