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Mentoring, Coaching and finding the right path

20 Aug

Lost in the forest with no sign of a path, reassuring a child who is exhausted, and I’m having flashbacks of cancer trials – yes, we are returning to the Forest after our little diversion for the Olympics, and I’m still completely lost. This situation called for a leap of faith. If you’ve been following along our resilience series, you’ve seen that in a crisis situation, I called on my tools of empowerment to remain present in the situation: using my fight response, future pacing, following my internal GPS, and giving away the load . . . except that I was still lost, despite all this, and the sun was beginning to spread into a big red sky. In less than an hour, we’d be lost in the darkness.

It was time for that ultimate tool of empowerment: The Mentor/Coach.

Mentoring and coaching have played a huge role in my life. During my battle with cancer, I had the guidance of my health care professionals to show the way forward. And afterwards, as I re-examined my life, I had the support from my NLP community in targeting what was working, and what needed to be changed.

Here in the forest, my nephew and I had slim pickings for mentors or coaches. But having asked the universe for help, ‘help’ most certainly did arrive; it arrived in the form of a bushy tail and dark beady eyes. Wandering along a cliff edge, I spotted a squirrel. At this point we’d only spotted birds (and one giant snake!). A squirrel felt promising. When it began to run away, I called to my nephew and we began to chase it. After a few false turns and more cliff edges, it finally led us down into a grassy field – and lo and behold: there was a path!

Not everyone receives guidance from a squirrel, but here are a few tips so you can find the right coach or mentor for your needs.

– Take that risk. It’s an intimidating prospect to ask for help, or even just to send an email inquiry. But if you never take a chance on the idea, then you’ll never have explored an avenue of possible change.

– Listen to people. We can all look for coaching in various directories, but for mentors it isn’t always obvious how to connect. Lucky for you, with Sister Leadership and our connection to amazing programs like the Women’s Executive Network, there are assisted paths you can follow when searching for a coach or mentor. However, if you’d like to do this on your own, then put your friendly face on and get ready to converse and listen your way into a mentor/mentee relationship. No one enjoys to have problems dumped on them by other people (it’s not the mentor’s role to provide counselling.) When you approach a person you’d like as a mentor, remember that you want to learn from their story. So ask them about themselves before you spill your life’s history.

-Match your styles. When looking for a coach or mentor, find someone who makes you feel comfortable. If they are too mellow or too intense for you, then that’s not a relationship which is going to work. However, if you find yourself enjoying their company as you meet for an initial session or mentor tea – that’s a great sign you’ll be open to the experiences they can offer.

Have you ever found guidance when it was most needed? What role did your mentor or coach take in your life?

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. She aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Welcome to the Sister Leadership community!



Giving up the load: allow yourself to release the problem

30 Jul

There are times when we are utterly incapable of managing our circumstances. I’m referring to life’s curve balls such as a cancer diagnosis, death in the family, job loss, car accidents  – those biggies that everyone hopes to avoid. (This may be why when they finally hit, we’re left completely overwhelmed and unprepared – obviously.) But here’s how to conquer that helplessness and hook into your resilience.

While lost in the forest, after hours of aimless walking and no progress, a sense of déjà vu came over me and took me back to the days when I was in treatment for cancer. I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the therapy included chemotherapy, radiation, brachytherapy and immune therapy. If you’ve ever known someone going through their own health battle, than you know how crushing the process can be both on the body and the spirit.  In my journey to health, I lost control of my body and in turn was totally overwhelmed.

Following a suggestion from my mother, I gave up the burden: “Cam, send it to a higher, bigger power,” she suggested. And that is what I did . . . I sent away the obligation, the helplessness, the need to control the situation.

This is what you do when the hugeness becomes too huge:

  • Send it away. Whether you believe in your community, your friends, your family, your God, or the universe undefined . . . chances are you have felt that sense of awe and greatness. Send your confusion over there, let it be absorbed by that higher sense of being.
  • Connect with what feeds your soul. It’s too easy to let the good things be forgotten during hardships, yet it’s in these times that the good things are most important.
  • Ask for help. This is so essential, I cannot emphasize it enough. ASK FOR HELP. So often we brush aside the offers, or our pride prevents us from reaching out. Ask for help, and you will be helped. There is no shame in this gesture; in fact, it takes great courage to let yourself be vulnerable.

Your take away:

  • You cannot control every situation. Follow the tips above and feel your burden lift. I’m not saying the problem will disappear, but it will lighten that weight on your shoulders.

Lost in the forest I asked for help and let the universe take over. I would keep walking, and it would sort out this enormous problem. Never mind that the sun was sinking, I had the big powers sorting out the situation.  And that’s when a squirrel-inspired miracle happened. . . but we’ll save that till the next post. (coming up soon, the most essential tool of empowered success in your professional and person lives. Keep an eye!)

What overwhelming situations have you encountered?

Where do you send the burden when it becomes too much?

Would you share a story about asking for help?

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