Wednesday, 1 December 2010
What is the relationship between mentoring and authenticity?
One of the things about mentoring is that you get back as much if not more than you put in. I have been mentoring an amazing woman who also has a passion for diversity. Earlier in the year, when we were both doing some training for the NBP, we got talking and that is how it all began. As it happens she is also a coach and an experienced one at that, which means that because we both take an informal approach to our sessions, I generally receive a free coaching session too. A wonderful extra I never expected when we entered the process, nor is it part of the official process.
The irony is that my mentee is mid-way through the recruitment process for an organisation that I have known for over half my working life. We had a session by phone today which had the primary purpose of preparing her for her interview next week. That was accomplished and so much more was as well.
It all started with an innocuous question about how I was. I started to relate something that I have been processing for a while that has been very painful. Before I knew it I was being coached. It was fascinating because through the conversation I was able to meet one of my saboteurs or as Wendy Palmer refers to them "grinches" (a much more colourful description). Rebel girl is someone I know well who wants to protect and will come out all guns blazing with the attitude of I don't give a f**k whenever she feels I have been attacked. Today I realised that to move on I need to be able to acknowledge her and the part she plays for me. I tend to wrestle with her or repress her which means that she pins me down by stealth - an amusing sight for those on the outside which can be mortifying for me.
What I was able to do by having the coaching conversation was first to get a longer term perspective on the matter; second to dialogue with myself and in so doing be more of my whole self and refind my centre. If you are into conscious embodiment, you will recognise the next phrase which is what I came up with: I am committed to the process, I don't know what the outcome will be but I trust whatever it is. Holding the space of unknowing rather than trying to control it, seek external approval or back a way due to a lack of safety is something I am really starting to get.
The beauty of experiencing such moments of wholeness is that I can share them with my clients and thereby give them practical tools to get more out of their lives as well as enable my own authentic self to grow. It's a great win-win. It is also a good example of what can be gained in a mentoring relationship.