If you’re starting a business in 3D printing or any other field, it helps to have someone from the outside to give you a fresh perspective on things and help your business grow. You might want to work with a coach or a mentor (or both) to do this, but what is the difference between the two? Which one would you want to work with depending on your particular goals? Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard answer this frequently-asked question in this segment. Join in and learn how to distinguish between the two and how to access their services.
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What Is The Difference Between A Mentor And A Coach?
This is the Ask Us Anything segment. One of the things that we did is we ran a 3D Print Business Mentorship Competition. If you’re a regular reader of WTFFF?! you know that Kelechi from Nigeria was our winner of that competition. We have been having mentorship sessions with him, usually weekly over Skype.
He has great questions and we’ve included one of them. He’s got some great questions going on. One of them we’re going to turn into a video because it was a great question about how to accomplish something.
We’re going to have a couple of Ask Us segments maybe once a week from his mentorship that would be valuable and interesting to our readers. What’s come up is a question that’s related to our experience with mentoring Kelechi.
The question is, “What’s the difference between a mentor and a coach?” It’s a great question. I asked myself before we decided to call it a mentorship contest.
One thing we should say to our readers is no matter where you are in business, whether it’s your first business, you’re starting up, your tenth, you’re big in business, or you’re little and small, everybody should have business mentors and coaches that they’re working with.
It’s two different things and we’ll talk about that. You should have one and we have some, but it’s not just a hot trendy thing. It’s critical, especially when you’re a solopreneur or an entrepreneur who’s like us. We’re a husband and wife team, so we’re spending all our time together. It’s not great because you don’t get out of your head. You have to get out and get a different perspective and viewpoint or your business can’t grow. It does stagnate.
It is great being a husband and wife team, but you’re right. We need some outside perspective to make sure we get unstuck from whatever’s holding us back.
We have our favorite unsticker. Our unsticker is David Corbin. We love him. He’s one of our favorite unstickers and he has a great book called Illuminate. He’s the Mentor to Mentors. That’s what he calls himself, which is funny because when we met him, we had a website called Mentors 2 Inventors. He thought that it was such a great interesting fit. Here we are, Mentors 2 Inventors and he’s Mentor to Mentors, and he’s our mentor. He unsticks us and he seriously unstuck us. We needed it and it was important. I don’t know where we would be if that hadn’t happened. Let’s talk about the difference between a mentor and coach and we’ll get the difference.
Think about it like this, a coach is on the sidelines. It doesn’t matter what team you follow or whatever. Your coach on that sideline has to be aligned with the goals of the team and with your business goals. They need to help you call plays. They need to give you a training protocol so that you get the maximum optimum performance you can possibly get. Their opportunity is to be more participative in the process. Typically, a coach is also a product category expert. They’ll be an expert in whatever industry or whatever problem that you’re having coached because you might take a segment and coach a segment.
Also, a process that you go through. Wouldn’t you say, Tracy, that a coach is more tactical?
Exactly. Think about these things as they have an active role in making sure that your output will win. The coach wants you to win, but they don’t do the work for you. They don’t go and lift weights and run the track. They tell you how many times to run around the track and they tell you how fast you better run it, but they don’t do it for you.
I love you trying to make sports analogies. The coach is not on the field performing. The coach is on the sidelines helping give a little guidance and direction.You have to get an outside perspective on things. Otherwise, your business will not grow. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t mean you don’t call your place. It doesn’t mean you’re not the quarterback and you don’t call the particular place on the field, too. You are participative in the process of that, so don’t think that it’s passive once you hire a coach. You must participate in the process. You’re in your business every day. They’re just there on the sidelines. You have to think about it that way. Anyone who hires a coach and thinks it’s going to be miraculous and everything’s going to get done. It’s like a fairy came into your business and fixed it. It’s not how it works. You must collaborate and you must work hard to do it yourself. The mentorship side of that though is more general. You need somebody who maybe has an outside perspective and has a more global business perspective than you do. You need someone who is going to give you a little kick in the ass. You need it and you need someone to help you do that. You needed to happen at a higher and more strategic level.
Is it a little more visionary and long-term goal, where do you want to be next year or several years from now? Let’s make sure we structure your business and put the right long-term plan in place to get from here to there.
A mentor’s role is to ask you the right questions as much as it is for them to give you answers. They’re not going to give you answers because they’re going to throw out from their experience, background, where they’ve come from, and the companies they’ve worked with. Your job is to take that, apply it, think about it, strategically use it, and then ask them the right questions back. “Do you know someone who can help me do this? Do you know of a way for me to do that?” After that, they can provide you with more strict guidance in a particular area.
That’s a good way to segue into one organization we want to talk about because part of what mentors should be doing, and coaches to a certain degree, is helping you get connected and network with the right kinds of strategic partners or alliance partners that you need to grow your business significantly. You need to find those kinds of organizations and networks. There’s one that’s been started by a colleague of ours.
This is out of a mentorship network that we know and what we work through with Betsy Westhafer. It’s ActionMastersNetwork.com. It’s more of facilitation for coaches, so a coach sets up a team to accomplish a certain goal. Let’s say we wanted to set up a podcast team. If anyone out there wants to make a podcast, you want to take steps to do that, and you want someone who’s done it before. What we’re going to do and how the process works is you set up your goal of the week. We’ve done it and we’re starting one with Betsy. You want to make progress, take steps, and action on it. Part of the coach’s job is to keep pushing you and giving you a little kick to make sure you’re doing what you say you’re going to do. This is a way to do that. It’s a great way to give out tasks, give a little bit more passive coaching in this way, and be able to be responsive to questions as they come up in the process of launching something or doing something. It’s a great little tool and a way to make sure that you take action and your coaching is turning into something.
The Action Masters Network has different groups in all different areas of business.
There’s a bunch of groups that you can apply to that, in general, and then there are closed groups that are for organizations or that you have to apply into because you have a particular need, probably a contract with that coach. That’s what would happen in that particular case. It’s a great tool for you to be able to push yourself and make yourself accountable.
Also, make sure that you’re growing in your knowledge, abilities, and capabilities, and make sure you’re focusing on the right kinds of things. It’s hard to do that when you’re all by yourself or even with a partner.
To be honest with you, this is the first time that I’ve contracted a personal coach. I’m excited about it because we’ve been in our business for long and we’ve been doing this ourselves for long. The business started growing fast with this show and with our 3D printing business. It started growing quickly. We had a baby and everything happened. The coach that I’m hiring does personal and business together. It is going to help me find a better balance because I’m feeling overwhelmed and that’s not good for business as a whole and it’s not good for our personal life either. You have your reasons for going out there and seeking them.
Make sure you’re seeking the right type for you because if you expect to have actionable items and tactical plans, and you want to make progress, set a goal, and take steps to make that outcome, a coach is probably the best solution for you. If you need to reframe, rethink, and give yourself a whole new strategic outlook, then a mentor might be the best solution for that as well. There’s also a lot of ways to access mentors. There’s a lot of mentorship events going on across the country. There are lots of ways for you to get a little taste of mentors to help you open up your mind if you’re not in a position to hire one.
We’re big believers in the business of cooperative networking and that’s something that was a foreign concept to us for most of the first half of probably our careers. It was all about competition, staying secretive and closed off, and not reaching out to others for help. I wish I had thought of and understood about all the cooperative networking that goes on. We have different people in different businesses wanting to network and help each other. By giving and helping others, you’re going to get that back ten times at least and we believe in that.
We hope that answers your question about coaching and mentoring. If you have any questions about that, which is a little 3D printing off-topic, but it’s related because as we’re going into this new 3D print world in this 3D print economy, we’re all reinventing things.
A lot of us are starting brand new businesses, so there’s a lot of things that you’ve got to make sure you have in order, for that business to succeed that has nothing to do with 3D printing.
To think that as an entrepreneur that you could handle all of that yourself and learn how to do it yourself from a bunch of books and a bunch of podcasts, it’s too much. I can tell you that. I’m an expert in many things and it’s still too much, so get some help. They’re out there. There are some great coaches and mentors out there. Also, keep reading because we’re doing as much as we can for those of you who can’t afford coaches and mentors. We’re trying to do as much for free as we can. For those that are interested in more of the business side of things, we have a website called Mentors2Inventors.com. There’s a bunch of coaching tools and there’s a bunch of topics and things that we talk about. We go to events and we’re looking at starting another show related to that as well. We haven’t started that up yet, but there’s a bunch of blog posts there that are useful.
There are a bunch of relevant blogs and feel free when you’re reading those to ask some questions. The site is new and it’s building, and we will be doing the show. Inventors in 3D printing tend to cross paths a whole lot, so there may be some relevance to a lot of you reading WTFFF?! Keep an eye out for that one.
Thanks for reading and we will catch you next time.
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