Mentor vs. Coach

I really feel the need to kick this blog article off with a whole line up of sports jokes that have been in some smelly locker room in the back of my head. I tend to dislike when people speak in sports metaphors to me. The only reasons I began watching football were to not come in last place in a fantasy league I accidentally joined and to try to decipher all the sports jargon from business meetings I had to go to for my day job. One of my earlier blog articles mentioned that I spent some time learning music as a child. I’m going to discuss mentorship and coaching using music examples. It will be less awkward for me as I write and then hopefully for you as the reader as well.

Let’s make up two fictional people. To fully dive into these musical examples, I am going to make them Treble and Bass. Treble and bass are both friends of mine. After a long car ride and enduring my amazing car karaoke skills, both Treble and Bass think that I may have a talent worth developing. However, they approach the situation quite differently.

Okay, here comes Treble….

Treble is very energetic. Treble things that if he and I work together one-two times a week that I could be auditioning for local musical at my community theater in three months. Treble gets me to commit to this schedule. We meet and we rehearse. Treble helps me pick out an audition song. Treble also teaches me some theater lingo and prepares me for what the audition process will entail. Treble is great at keeping me motivated and helping me reach this goal of auditioning for community theater.

Now, let’s crank up the Bass….

Bass is just as energetic as Treble. After hearing me sing in the car Bass asks me questions about when I started singing. He asks if I’ve ever had any goals or dreams that involve music. He asks if I’ve ever had a voice coach or performance lessons of any sort. I tell Bass that I used to be in a large choir in middle school and high school, but I haven’t sag with a group since college. I also confess that I once tried to audition for a solo in my choir and totally choked because I got so nervous I felt like I was choking on frogs. Bass told me some personal stories as well. He was impressed that I could play two musical instruments and owned a third I just hadn’t made time to learn yet. He told me that a local community college teaches beginning instrumentalists and they might have a class I could take. He didn’t push, but he let my interests and goals drive the conversation.

Treble was a great coach. Treble and I identified a short-term goal and we worked diligently to achieve that goal together. Bass was an effective and attentive mentor. He asked me about my goals. He understood my interests and objectives. He even directed me to a coach to help me start a path in achieving a long-term goal.

At Toastmasters, there are coaches. There are people who can help you navigate your clubs meeting role sign-up process. There are people who can help you find training videos and navigate the Pathways learning system. These people are helping you to achieve short-term goals. There are also mentors. These people care about why you joined Toastmasters. They can help you set long term goals for yourself in and out of the club and they can even help you figure out which activities within Toastmasters will help you fulfill your own objectives. At Toastmasters, your mentor might also be your coach, but the help you need may come from multiple people. If you haven’t been given a coach or mentor at your club and you want one, reach out to the Vice President of Education and express interest.

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