Of Course your mum or your friend is going to say you sound great. They want to encourage you to keep going. And encouragement is an essential part of motivation. But sometimes when the only feedback you are given is from those around you who may not have any expertise in what you are trying to do it becomes unrealistic and can lead to disaster if not balanced with correct feedback from an expert. Just look at the Idol auditions or celebrity apprentice to see that demonstrated. As Pat Mesiti’s says why would you seek marriage advice from someone who has been married 5 times. You want advice from someone who has been married for 30 plus years and still in love. The same is for your presentations and performances.
You wouldn’t ask a blind man do you look OK, so why ask someone who is not experienced in presenting how your presentation went? This goes for your colleagues as well, who might be too scared to tell you the truth. However sometimes it is simply because they don’t know how to phrase it correctly or know what the correct suggestion would be to correct the error of your ways.
This is where a coach or mentor come in handy. It is their job to support you in the right direction, encourage you to really go far and beyond what you think you can do. They have to motivate you and give you tough love in order to get you to your peak performance level quickly. You never see a football coach asking nicely for members of the team to please try a little harder.
So how do you find the right coach/mentor. Firstly they should be someone in the industry who has done the rounds and walked the walk so to speak reasonable well, and whom you look up to. Secondly you need to be able to get along with this person. That is to say your personalities need to suit. For every coach, leader, trainer, teacher will have their own style and you need to find the style that suits your learning. Thirdly they need to want to help you, as you can get a mentor who has not mentored before. Find out as much as you can about them. Use the internet, speak to others who have been helped by them, read their testimonials and look at their guarantee. Even if they are remote from you perhaps you can video phone or send data or video and have this appraised. If they are worth their weight they will want some sort of accountability from you to make the collaboration work after all they are putting their reputation on the line.
Finally you must be prepared to follow their guidance and put into action what they ask, often without questioning to get the result you both want. I asked what it took to be mentored by one of my all time great Australian minds of our century Mr Peter J Daniels and his student replied, ” I bought all his programs, did all his courses and then and only then would he even entertain the idea of mentoring me.” After all a good coach, mentor or teacher wants to see you succeed well but they also want to confirm you have the ability to be able to do it.