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Reaping the Benefits: Get the most from the relationship

Communication Tip: Look Away to Connect Rethinking the idea that eye contact is good

When talking with someone, we tend to look at their eyes to connect and to communicate key messages such as, “It’s your turn to talk now” or “I agree/ disagree,” or to gauge or express an emotion, such as surprise, anger or joy. No wonder then that when people first learn the Five-Minute Coach ap-

proach they can be surprised and discomfited by the prospect of using very minimal eye contact. Think about those really productive conversations you've had when

physically alongside someone—maybe in a car, train or plane or on a walk, where it’s difficult to have eye-to-eye contact. Your coachee’s ability to develop their own goals or outcomes—and how

they plan to achieve them—increases when they stop attending to wheth- er you are engaged, have understood, have their full story and are hooked into finding a solution.

from The 5-Minute Coach by Lynne Cooper and Mariette Castellino

FOR MENTEES • “Make it a give and take relationship. It doesn’t take much. Just let your mentor know what a difference he or she is mak- ing to your career. Find little ways to sup- port them. This is pretty easy to do these days with social media, for example.” Mandy Johnson

• “Volunteer or take a low-paying job at a fitness event to get involved with key in- fluencers. But make it a two-way street by showing real interest and by researching and understanding your potential men- tor. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and contact people who you think might be able to answer your questions. People in the fitness field are usually happy to give advice and to help others.” George Dickson

Brown College in Toronto and asked him for advice regarding gaining some hands-on experience. He kindly suggested that I attend a big upcoming con- ference as a volunteer with some of his graduates. At the conference I mostly helped with set-up and lugged around equipment, but I also heard several presentations and then met the presenters—all big names in the corporate fitness world, including John Frittenburg, Veronica Marsden, Doug Cowan and Tom Love. These simple introductions opened the door to future relation- ships and even jobs with some of them later in my career. Early on John Griffin suggested a course to improve my fitness assessment


skills, and over the following years he provided continuous guidance and mo- tivation. John Frittenburg later became my boss, and we worked together for 20 years. We met regularly for coaching, and I developed a multitude of skills on the job as I watched and admired how he operated. The impact of the mentoring I received early in my career has really stayed with me, and it all started with one simple phone call.

George Dickson HES Canada Collingwood, Ontario

hen I graduated from university, I realized that I was lacking the practical fitness skills that college students were graduating with in a comparable program. I called Professor John Griffin at George

FOR MENTORS • One thing the best mentors do is to give energy and not take it, says Anthony Tjan in the Harvard Business Review. When a mentee comes with an off-the-wall or seemingly too ambitious idea, a skilled mentor sees everything good before see- ing anything bad. If this is a challenge for you, Tjan suggests mastering the 24 x 3 rule: when you hear an idea for the first time, try to wait 24 seconds before say- ing or even thinking something negative; next, challenge yourself to wait for 24 minutes; and then work toward waiting 24 hours before pondering or verbalizing any cons.

• “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the op- portunity to create themselves.” Steven Spielberg

• “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Barb Gormley is the senior editor of Fitness Business Canada, a freelance writer and editor, and a certified personal trainer. Contact her at

22 Fitness Business Canada November/December 2017

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