Virtually anyone who has come to be a black belt in the martial arts has had a mentor to guide them and help them on their path. In my case, it was and still is Master Robert Sparks. A mentor is a friend, a teacher, a coach, a trusted advisor, a counselor, and a person who has his or her own wisdom to share with their apprentice pupil. Being a mentor is essential in the process of developing character and ability within the martial artist, or in any other walk of life, for that matter.
Being a mentor requires being able to coach and to counsel, but the role of mentor is much more than this. A mentor creates a relationship with their pupil in which the pupil looks up to the Mentor with high regard. The Mentor is a role model, a person who commands respect by their virtue of being a wise teacher and leader.
When a mentor relationship is established between a student and a teacher, a bond is formed, and the student comes to depend on the Mentor for help on their own path to their goals and aspirations. Invariably, when a martial arts teacher is able to create a mentor relationship with his or her students, retention in that studio defaults to a position higher than previously thought possible.
Using Your Coaching and Counseling Skills to Be a Mentor
Coaching and counseling skills can help a person in all areas of their life, from the home to workplace. In any martial arts studio, however, the most important use of these skills comes into play when teaching students. The coach directs action and elicits motivation. A counselor gives guidance and support. A mentor does all of this, and one more thing: he or she is a friend to the student.
The word friend here is not used lightly. There are many types and levels of friendship, and being a mentor is one of the truest forms of friendship there is. A mentor is a friend through bad times and good. The Mentor’s motivation comes from a love for the student. This love is a completely unselfish love, a love that takes into consideration only the well-being and advancement of a student. When a student does well, the Mentor is truly happy for that student, and will express his happiness to the student out of no other motive than unselfish love. When a student is doing poorly, or is disturbed, the Mentor will want to be there for the student and to coach and counsel him or her solely in the interest of the well-being of the student.
Obviously, the role of mentor is no small task. One does not become a mentor overnight, and one does not try to be a mentor at out of their own motivation for self profit. However, the mentor who acts out a true interest in the well-being of the student will find that the rewards do come back both, financially, as well as many other satisfying ways.
At Sidekicks, we take our position as instructor very seriously. We are aware of that the relationships we develop with our students will affect them far into the future. The lessons we teach at Sidekicks are carefully chosen for their impact on our students lives.