Both mentoring and coaching are about learning and developing. We can deepen the amount of growth one develops by reflecting on events and what they mean. This is called reflective learning. This is a form of learning that is based upon a process that asks:
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- How did I manage the process or conduct myself throughout this event?
- What did I gain or lose in the process?
- What have I learned as a result?
- What changes will I make to be better the next time?
Often, when engaged in coaching and mentoring, we may address a few of these questions but we often don't go far enough in analyzing. By using this process, both the one being helped and the one helping can begin to see concrete gains and be better able to measure success and goals accomplished.
For mentoring pairs that are long-distance and don't have the benefit of face-to-face contact, reflective learning can be a very effective way of building a trusting relationship because it involves both partners in an active discussion with the helper asking clarifying, open-ended questions to assist the mentoree or coachee to think through what has happened.
So, next time you're engaged with your partner, don't just present an issue and find a solution, but be sure to reflect on the process and you'll gain much deeper insight into how you can grow.Image Credit: © Mitar Gavric | Dreamstime.com