Teaching personal development skills can be quite rewarding, but it can also pose challenges. Whether it be in a work relationship, acting as a coach to a friend or helping out a member of your own family, teaching someone valuable life skills and helping them to implement them provides both personal satisfaction and enhanced opportunities for the other person. Taking this step can even lead to personal growth for you as the coach.
When teaching personal development skills, you must first define your role as a mentor or coach. Being a coach or mentor does not mean taking action for the other person, rather it means helping them to gain their own skill set and begin to implement those skills. If you simply take action for the other person or tell that person what to do, you will not teach them the skills they need in order to be successful. Your role should involve a lot of listening and feedback, but the person being taught should do most of the work.
When helping another person to grow, there are many different strategies that can be used. Some individuals learn best through simple conversation. This helps to spark their imagination and gets their creative juices flowing. Other individuals learn through action, and they might benefit from a planned activity, such as completing a wilderness obstacle course or joining a team for sports or other recreation. At times, suggesting reading material and later discussing that material is best. While there is no one course of action that works best, it is always good to have a plan in place and follow that plan to the best of your ability.
After your plan is in place, remember to check in with the person regularly. Have honest conversations about how things are going and what has been gained from the activity, reading or other conversation, but always strive to remain neutral. You do not want your words to influence the other person’s actions. Being an influence can actually stifle the learning process and inhibit personal growth. Rather, be an open ear and allow the other person to do most of the talking. Encourage the thought process with open ended questions and further activity or reading suggestions. The goal is to empower the individual, and you can do that best by remaining as impartial as possible through the process.
Finally, do not be afraid to refer the person to others for additional help. Sometimes it is difficult to get someone past a particular stumbling block, and this is especially true if you have a close relationship with that person. Referring them to a professional therapist, personal development class or other such resource is sometimes the best way to get the person to move forward. Use these resources when necessary, and do not be afraid to use them for yourself as well if you feel there is benefit.
A personal development mentor is an important person who can significantly impact a person’s life. If you are asked to take on this role, take the challenge seriously and work to empower the individual you are coaching.