Listen in for even the briefest time to any reality competition on television and you will hear the mentor skills of that show’s coach as he demonstrates his coaching strategy. Some of the coaches, like the ones on The Biggest Loser, seem abusive to me. Others, like Dr. Phil, can feel punitive or judgmental. And then there is Tim Gunn, one of my favorite coaches, on Project Runway. Tim isn’t one of the judges. He functions mainly as supervisor and mentor to the competitors, and his mentor skills are first rate.
Great Mentor Skills Encourage A Unique Vision
Project Runway happens to be a clothing designers competition. Like all the reality competitions, every week there is a challenge, and every week someone wins and someone else goes home. One of Tim Gunn’s strongest mentor skills is consistent encouragement for the designers to be clear on and true to their own individual style and vision. And this is a mentoring and coaching approach that we all need. Just as every winning contestant must have a unique personal aesthetic, every coach must develop her own clear vision of her goals in coaching and what her practice or business will look like. You won’t be satisfied with the end point if it isn’t congruent with your unique personal self. If you are confused or uncertain, find a coach with Tim’s mentor skills to help you clarify your goals, and then …..
“Go. Go. Go. Make It Work!”
“Make it work” is Tim’s signature phrase. It’s pretty self explanatory really. Once you know the direction you want to take, get on with it, but don’t get stuck in it. Whether we’re talking about designing a dress, starting a coaching business, or running a session doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have a vision for your end point, that you take action toward it, and that you are willing to modify that action if necessary to make it work. Take advantage of Tim Gunn’s awesome mentor skills and adopt his catch phrase as your mantra. Then watch your own skill and vision grow and take shape.
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Dorine G Kramer
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach