How not to write a blogpost about coaching and mentoring

During March I’m running a series of guest posts on “Diverse Coaching & Mentoring” – you can read more here. My aim is to create a space to explore, challenge, celebrate and raise awareness of diverse perspectives and applications of coaching & mentoring.

I’m delighted that the first guest post in this series comes from Simon Heath. A writer and commentator on Workplace and Facilities Management issues he is also a very talented freelance illustrator, animator and cartoonist. You can see some of his artistic talents here and I recommend following his blog “Work Musing“.  Simon is also one of most genuine & affable people out there on Twitter – you can follow him at @SimonHeath1.

Simon’s guest post is utterly honest and I sincerely hope is just Part 1…

How not to write a blogpost about coaching and mentoring

At David’s invitation, I wrote a guest post for his People Performance Potential blog on the subject of coaching and mentoring. I should probably point out that I consider David to be something of a mentor for my blogging efforts (in fact, I refer to David and Neil Usher (who goes by the Twitter name of @workessence) as my fairy blogmothers). I tend to rein in my natural inclination for irreverence when I’m writing for someone else and this was no exception. It was a fairly conservative piece on how rewarding I’d found it to coach and mentor a number of people throughout my career and a few tips for a successful mentoring relationship.

David took a read through it, slept on it and decided something was not quite right. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly what was wrong but he told me so in a characteristically straight but balanced manner with a small degree of self-effacement. Now, I’m too long in the tooth to be precious about criticism in whatever form it comes, and I’ve always said that to have a good mentoring relationship, the mentee needs to be proactively involved and utterly open to constructive feedback. David’s comments made me go back and take a long hard look at what I’d written and an equally hard think about what I was trying to say.

I had been too formulaic and safe in my original. I realised that in actual fact I did not have anything earth-shatteringly new to say on the subject. The more I considered it, the more I came to realise that the answer was simply to write nothing at all. There are better commentators out there with more compelling tales to tell.

So, there you have it. A blog post about not writing blog post about coaching and mentoring that turns out to be about coaching and mentoring.


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