My oldest daughter is a soccer player. Or, at least, she’s trying to be. She started playing this fall, and really enjoys the sport, so we’ve encouraged her to play across all seasons. What we learned was the power of a great coach and mentor. Her coach in the fall was spectacular, while her coach in the winter wasn’t the type of coach she needed. When spring practice began again yesterday, she was paired back up with her original coach from the fall, and suddenly, all of the frustration and struggles she had felt in the winter seemed to disappear. Her hustle was back, she was engaged in the play, and her shooting and passing seemed to be back on levels where they were at the end of the fall season.
Watching her play yesterday made me reflect on how truly valuable a great coach or mentor is to our work. I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of tremendous mentors over the course of my career so far. And, I’m a believer that one thing we always need in order to keep getting better is more and more coaches.
What’s great is that everyone has the potential to be a mentor to us. Whether it be professionally or personally, everyone has different life experiences. That means that there is much to gain from heeding the advice of others, and then translating it into what works for each of us.
The value of a mentor isn’t necessarily in the experience that the person has. But rather, it is in what specific information is shared, how it is shared, and, of course, how that person helps each of us continue to grow.
While the future is still cloudy on what my daughter will do soccer-wise, I’m certainly heartened by the fact that she is beginning to see the need for various types of mentors in her life, and (at least as of now) is comfortable heeding their advice, and following their counsel to continue getting better.