Recent media reports have highlighted the role that AFL Coaching Ambassador, David Parkin is playing as a mentor to a number of coaches at different levels around Australia. As someone who has benefited greatly from mentors in his own development, David highly recommends the process.
Mentoring is a very effective addition to the methods coaches can use to continue their on-going professional development.
Mentors can play a wide variety of roles. Some of these include:
Developing a coach’s knowledge and skills.Being a role model.Building the confidence of the coach with whom they are working.Being a resource - either sharing their own knowledge or directing coaches to other sources of information.Challenging and questioning the coach’s current practices.Assessing the coach for competencies.Providing introductions to other people who can help.
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, but to be effective they need to have appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Knowledge may include their understanding of technical coaching matters, understanding people and what makes them tick, their understanding of the coaching process, their political awareness etc.
Mentoring Skills might include honesty, empathy, planning, goal setting, time management, people and process management, and the ability to communicate one to one with individuals.
Attitudes might relate to the process of mentoring, their philosophy towards coaching, their attitudes about the club or association they work within, as well as their general outlook on life.
Some factors that should be considered when selecting your mentor include:
There may be people who are keen to be involved as mentors, but who lack the necessary personal qualities, particularly in relation to you. It is better to take the hard decision early on and not include them in your mentoring program, rather than have to deal with problem mentoring relationships later on. A mismatch between personalities can cause many problems and this is an important area to consider when you are seeking to identify your mentor.
Mentors should not
“Some people are actually reluctant to pass on too much information to coaches who they mentor. But my attitude to that is that the sport actually misses out in the long run… If we share more information amongst other coaches, we can only develop our sport more and it will leave a lasting legacy for the other coaches who are out there trying to achieve.”
Head Coach of the Australian Paralympic athletics team