Being a Mentor can be lonely work sometimes! Certainly, when you’re with a client, everything is intense and exciting. But the in-between times, unless you’re part of a team or collective, it’s just you and your trusty internet for research; or building tools for your next meeting with a client; or marketing yourself; or doing other HR-related jobs, like sending out bills. Most Coaches and Mentors are kind of a one-person show!
Collaboration happens when two or more people, entities or organizations work together to complete a project, task or goal. Cooperation is an important aspect of collaboration, although good leadership is what really makes it happen. The saying “it takes two to tango” would work well here! Some of my best work comes from think-tank like meetings with great collaborators.
I’ve been blessed to work with some really great coaches in my time, either as a client or as co-host to a great network of coaches online. The sharing of tools and methodologies, as well as motivating each other in the in-between times can be a real life-line when things feel bleak. Sometimes you’re working on a blog-post and need some expert opinions, or you have half the idea for a tool but need to workshop it a little, or maybe you had a really rough session with a client and you just need a pick-me-up. Whatever the case, going it alone is rough, so finding other Mentors and Life Coaches to collaborate with is highly recommended.
Outside of work, collaboration is a pretty big deal in our lives. From something as simple as taking the trash to the curb and knowing it will be picked up by your city workers on your neighbourhood’s garbage day. To voting in a democratic election. We collaborate with others in many unspoken ways.
But some people feel like asking for help on a project is too much. Going it alone, being independent and head-strong are social norms we’ve adopted in the Western world for far too long. When they say things like “it takes a village to raise a child”, we take it for face value — of COURSE it takes many people in collaboration to raise a child from birth to adulthood. The truth is, however, you could replace the “raise a child” piece with just about anything, and it would be true. “It takes a village to make a meal.” Well, yes, someone had to grow the vegetables, raise the livestock, cure the meats, mill the grains. Someone else had to transport them to the market. And the final chef had to cook them. Unless you are a farmer who does all of these tasks on your own, which is highly unlikely, then this, too, is a form of collaboration. A team, working together, to create an outcome. You try it, “It takes a village to _______”. Then follow the path from inception to the final project, you’ll see there will be an abundance of collaborators in just about any way you can finish that sentence.
When you toil away on your own, hoping that you’ll have that great project done eventually, without outsourcing or letting anyone help, I think you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Collaboration brings in other viewpoints that, rather than clashing with yours, might just enhance how you see things. When we’re strong of character, sometimes it takes a little extra strength to let go of control and realize that delegating might be more appropriate for this particular project.
Sure, there’s something to be said about doing it on your own. Working from the ground up. Pulling yourself up by your own boot-straps. But there’s also something to be said about collaborating. Great minds think alike. Many instruments, one symphony. I can’t speak highly enough about all the benefits of working in a collaboration with one or more other people.
If this post hasn’t convinced you it’s time to reach out and ask for help, then I will leave you with these quotes by greater minds than mine, who also tout the benefits of collaborating: