As a business coach for more than 25 years, there is a lot to be said for learning how to tap into your network of colleagues to learn new skills and help get past business hurdles. Having a mentor is one of the main ways that some of the best business owners have been able to scale and grow their businesses, and it would likely help you do the same. And for many, the opportunity to return the favor is something that they aspire to do in their career. Whether that is taking on a mentee in your industry or helping a key team member grow in their position, there is a lot to consider. One of the most important things that I always encourage others to think about when you first start out, is the structure in which you will hold your meetings.
So today I wanted to share with you a meeting outline that I use when taking on a new business coaching client or mentee, or when coaching a key team member for growth.
1. Check in on key action areas.
This will vary depending on who you are working with, but the formula will stay the same. Each and every time you meet with each other, you begin the meeting with a check-in on key action items that were left to do at the end of your last session. If they have been unable to take action, delve further into why and address it head-on.
This could look something like: "Casey, last time we talked you said you were going to write up the job description for your new assistant. How did that go?"
2. Troubleshoot and problem solve.
Once you have touched base on the action items, the next thing you want to discuss is any problems that they are currently experiencing and talk through some solutions or next steps. Be careful not to just "solve it" for them. Instead, help them brainstorm solutions and offer ideas when necessary.
If they say, "I'm struggling with X, how can I handle it?" Help them define the problem, clarify what a solution would need to do for them, create options that would meet these success criteria, and then help them think through and pick the best solution to start with. Also, help them clarify in advance how they'll react if their solution is or isn't working, so they can adjust based on what happens.
3. Create action items for the next meeting.
The last thing you want to do during a mentoring session is make sure that you capture progress and notes, and create action items for the next meeting. Try to capture action commitments clearly in your notes so that you will be sure to have them front and center next time you talk.
Recap and numerate these action commitments at the end of each coaching conversation. This will help enable a clean hand off.
"Sophia, let me recap what you've committed to doing before our next call. Two items. First, that you'll ... And second, that you'll ... Did I get that correctly? Great, I'll make sure I circle back with you during our next meeting."
Which then, of course, leads us to number one for our next meeting. Using this formula, you will be able to hold your mentee accountable and start to see real growth and development during your time together. Good luck!