In order to get the most of your time when it comes to connecting with a coach, accountability partner, mastermind group, or mentor you need to first understand the difference between each one and how they relate to your goals.
Depending on who you ask, the definition of each of these will be slightly different. Let’s agree to the following definition of each for now, and then decide which is the right fit for you.
A great way to think of these is in the context of a college class. You need to pass with a certain grade in order to graduate.
A coach would be the college professor or any professor that has taught that class before. They are going to have specific knowledge of exactly what will be needed to learn the material in order to be able to pass the coursework and exams. This is someone who has not only worked on the material, but has a high level understanding of how it is related in the class. So if you are thinking of a coach ask yourself:
- How much do I really know about this topic?
- Do I know enough to just walk through the steps of what I understand?
- Will that give me the level of success I want….or do I need more?
- Would it benefit me to take a serious look at the difference between what I think I know and what will truly help me succeed in the class?
The next one to take a look at is a mastermind group. Look at this as a study group of people who are in the class with you. It’s people who have a shared interest in succeeding in that class. For the most part the agenda is set by what needs to be reviewed both in the most recent ,and looking forward into the upcoming classes. Questions to ask if a mastermind group is right for you:
- I am already comfortable with information, but do I want to hear other perspectives on the information to increase my understanding of the subject matter?
- Do I like the ambiguity of group accountability?
- Do I like exploring ideas and opinions that may differ from my own?
The next one we will discuss is a mentor. This is someone who took that specific class and graduated, but may or may not have gone into the same career field as yourself. They had success in leveraging the information, not just in the course, but also in practical application.
If this sounds like someone that may be a good fit for what you’re trying to accomplish ask yourself these questions:
- Am I comfortable enough with the information that I can review and implement a future plan at the same time?
- Am I comfortable knowing that with a mentor I am actually learning several things at once?
- Do I understand that the conversations with the mentor are most likely ad hoc versus following a detailed agenda?
The fourth option is an accountability partner. This option allows you to work side-by-side with someone else, assisting each other to stay motivated to study. You’re not learning material or necessarily gaining additional perspectives about the material. You’re keeping each other motivated to study to get the desired result. A couple questions to ask yourself if this is the right option for you:
- Do I want to just focus on a core result because I know taking certain repetitive actions will help me succeed?
- Do I want to eliminate opinion and additional perspective and just focus on a very specific set of behaviors to maximize my time invested, and will this partner help me do that?
As long as you know what you’re trying to accomplish, and the right questions to ask the people you’re collaborating with, you will end up with resources to assist in accomplishing your goal. Plan for your outcome and be intentional with your questions to ensure you get the results you and your team deserve.