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Training, Coaching & Mentoring

Words that are used very often by many good managers to exemplify the importance of teamwork and cohesiveness.

But what do they actually mean?

To give you a better perspective, let me first talk about the three states of mind:

  1. The Child State
  2. The Adult State
  3. The Parent State

These three states govern how we interpret and understand people and how we respond to them.

All the three states of mind are very important and there is no “Superior” state here. The right balance of these three states only makes the relationships and teamwork work well.
What I am referring to here is not the age of the person but the state of mind. It is important for me to tell upfront that what I am going to talk about here is very crucial and I want the moment of truth of these states to "hit" you properly and fully.

If a person is to find a gold biscuit on the road, the first reaction would typically be to pick it up, then the second to check out if some one has seen you pick it up and the third would be to think if this has to be given to the police, or how you would dispose the same or how you are going to
keep it etc.

The first reaction to pick it up is the child state. The child state is a very reactive state. This is the state which all of us automatically get into, but do not acknowledge the same. This is a state where we do things without thinking about any reasons or rhyme.

The second reaction where we look around to see if anyone has seen us or to check if it belongs to someone is the adult reaction. This is the most commonly acknowledged reaction, but the least used reaction, where we do this automatically, but wrongly attribute this to the parent reaction. This adult reaction is purely a analysis state of our mind where we are weighing our pros and cons with out any attachment to the I factor, or the You factor. It will be an entirely an analysis of the facts or searching for the facts.

The third reaction is the parent state of the mind. This is the state of the mind where we tend to take up responsibility or ownership to do something or help someone or decide on something. We often confuse this state of mind to that of the adult state of mind.
But the main difference between these two states is that the adult state is unbiased while the parent state is biased.

Ok. That defines the three states of minds. So what?

There is no rule here or a measure here which says that one state is better than the other. All the three states of the mind are important for our existence. But the moment of truth here is that we have defined the three states here.

The next moment of truth is about its usage.

These states are also applicable in your work and home life and can effectively be used to move from IQ (Intelligence Quotient) to EQ (Emotional Quotient). Remember that IQ can get you a job, but its EQ which will make you climb the ladder of success.

What has to be remembered here is the right usage of these three states at the right time.
Let’s take a scenario. You are at work. Its evening time. You have planned to go out somewhere.
Your peer/lead comes to you and tells you that there is some tasks to be completed.
If you tell that no, you need to go now, and you have some work, the immediate reaction that you would expect would be that it is fine, and that this has to be done tomorrow.
If you instead pause and start thinking about the consequence of taking up that work, and if you can do it now or if you do it now, what will be the time taken etc, then person would automatically tell you to finish the task and walk out.
If you immediately say yes and start off the work, taking ownership of the task, then you will invariably be late to what ever you had planned for later that evening, provided you did plan something.

Again here the first refusal is a child state, the pondering reaction is a adult state and the ownership is the parent state. Here if you had reacted as a child, you could easily have gone home or where ever you planned to go. The other two states of mind would be useless here.

So there has to be a clear distinction to when you can invoke these states to assist you at the right time.

Let’s take another scenario.
You are waiting for the signal to change at the cross roads. A beggar comes to you to ask for money.
You refuse and he goes away.
You start thinking about what you can give or if you actually want to give then the beggar will automatically know that you may give him something and would prompt you again for money.
You look at him, and tell him to be more responsible and look for a job, and he will actually ask you to get lost.

Again here the first one is the child, the second is the Adult and the third is the parent. Again here the child reaction is the better one to opt for.

I can also give you similar examples where you can look at the importance of the adult and parent state and how effectively this can be used at work or home.

What we need to be open about is our mind and let the moment of truth of these three states come and hit us.

Now coming to Training, Coaching, and Mentoring:

In the Indian Cricket team, Have you ever seen Greg Chapple ever hold a bat to show Tendulkar how to bat or hold a ball to show Kumble how to bowl? But still he is considered as the coach of the Indian cricket team. So what’s so great about being a coach?
He does not hold a bat or a ball, but still he is considered as a coach.
The importance of a coach is to study, understand and analyze the behavior of his team and push them in the direction of the common goal of the team. The coach need not hold the hand and take them to where they need to be to achieve their goal, but its important that the coach points them in the right direction to reach their goal successfully. Being a coach is an Adult State of mind.
The coach has to be an unbiased analyst to push people to the goal of the team or the individual or the organization. This is not an easy task as we are seldom asked to be a coach. We are most of the time asked to train or mentor people.
Training is child behavior.
When have we learned maximum?
Is it not always that children learn faster than the adults?
The moment of truth of this aspect is that during training, the people who attend the training and the person who is to give the training needs to become a child. Only then will the people who attend be able to ask questions to quench their thirst for knowledge. The faculty also should become a child and be able to understand how and why children can ask these questions. If the faculty is analyzing why the student is asking these questions, then he will become an adult and will not be very successful in understanding the students.
The faculty should also not chide the student as a parent that he does not even understand such a small thing, as then he will invoke the child state of the student and allow him to realize his moment of truth that you are not an approachable person.
Mentoring is a parent behavior.
Again we need to be very careful whom we mentor and whom we teach.
We take under our wing a fresher and our juniors whom we feel responsible for and take ownership of educating them into what you feel are their expected output after the training or the mentoring.
If someone comes and asks you to help you analyze some data or if they say that they don’t know what is causing a particular problem, you need to behave as an adult and analyze the situation and coach them in the right direction where the probable solution can be derived.
But at that time, if you become a parent and chide them about why they are not able to resolve such a trivial issue, they will become children and form their moment of truth about you.
If you become a child then and tell them that you don’t know what it is all about, then you will never be approached for such an analysis again or they may become a parent/child/mentor to explain to you what you need to know.

The most important application of these three states can be evidenced very aptly in our work life where we tend to spend most of our time.
Let’s look at the review process. All of us understand the need of reviews in any project. There is enough data to prove that review effectiveness will actually help you better the detection of defects/bugs.
So what is the rule of reviews?
Authors cannot be reviewers.  What is the advantage that the reviewer will get if he is to review some one else’s work? Well he will first learn the actual intent of the requirement. He will learn how not to or how to do a particular code, depending on the efficiency of the author of the code. So what is the end result of this?
The reviewer will ultimately give a review report where he will record the bugs/defects that he was able to detect during the review.
Here comes the fun part.
If the reviewer finds a defect or a bug and knows how to rectify it, and rectifies it, then he will invoke the child state of the author where the author may ask the reviewer why he did his work while he, the author was very capable to resolving the issue.
If the reviewer becomes an adult and starts thinking on how the author came up with such a great code or a shoddy code, then he will be loosing precious time in just thinking about it.
If the reviewer becomes a parent and confronts the author and tries to mentor him on how the code can be bettered, without the author asking, then again the reviewer is challenging the intelligence of the author, who may invoke his child state or his adult state and form a moment of truth there about you.
What I am trying to emphasize here is that in every organization and at home and at life, there is a proper segregation of duties.
We are to do things only in accordance with our role and not try and do something which our role does not warranty us to do.
If we are tempted to do something apart from the role that has been assigned to us, believe me, the moment of truth of the new experience will hit you. What we need to be aware of is that we need to be open to all these moments and the states and the differences between training, coaching and mentoring so that we can improve our state of mind from being knowledgeable to being wise.
These simple truths will help you convert your knowledge into wisdom.

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