I like to write about Coaching and helping people get through some issues.
At times, mentoring can be the right solution. What is the difference between Coaching and mentoring?
Mentoring is for free, whereas Coaching has a fee. Mentoring occurs often in the workplace when a senior leader has agreed to help a team member take on new responsibilities, assume a new role or a new career aspiration.
This time however I am referring to having a discussion or resolving an issue with your big brother (sister).
My big brother is well, really my big/older brother. I will call him up for advice, an opinion, direction or just to bounce an idea. He is personally not involved in my issue so it’s easy for him to give me an objective assessment of the situation.
In some occasions, he will empathize with me by saying anything ranging from ’that sucks ‘ all the way to ‘ that really is an unfair situation for you ‘ but other times I can expect him to be very direct and slap me around by saying ‘ what you are doing makes no sense’ or ‘ Paul, you’re missing the obvious here and let me tell you why”.
Of course I don’t enjoy being told that I am completely missing the point however from these conversations, I do get the following benefits:
1) I discuss something that has been bothering me to a point where I could not make a decision.
2) I get an opinion from someone that does not have any ‘skin in the game’ in other words, it does not matter to my big brother what decision I make since it does not affect him.
3) I feel better after our discussion.
4) I relax. I calm down.
5) I am more confident in pursuing the path I have selected.
Coaching, mentoring or talking with your big brother has a therapeutic effect.
From the mere fact of opening up and discussing your issues this will make you feel better.
Some of us try to resolve issues with our spouse or partner but sometimes, they could be already dealing with the same issues so hashing and re-hashing these matters is not always productive.
My big brother has helped me with many problems in the past – big and small but I diligently remember to respect one fundamental rule before I call him:
I need to have an open mind. Why?
If you are seeking advice or counsel and you have an open mind this means that you are willing to think differently and perhaps go against your comfort zone or what you felt was the right approach. This is easy to say, but not so easy to do yet vital in seeking advice from your big brother.
You don’t have a big brother? Then find one!
This could be a longtime friend or a close relative. You need to establish some confidentiality rules and ideally your ‘big brother’ should have more experience than you.
Give it a try – you have nothing to lose aside from your issues and problems that have been bogging you down. That in itself is an incentive to find YOUR big brother.