In a previous article ('Don't Ask Me - I Can't Change Now'), I touched on how older staff can get actively involved in passing on a great legacy of turfcare professionalism to the younger generation.
These older staff might then start to enjoy the respect and admiration that may have been denied them in the past.
But hey, you do not have to wait until you are old and grey - you can start right now.
Here are two ways you can get started right away: by coaching and by mentoring.
Let's start with coaching. This is a work activity that rates highly amongst turfcare professionals at all levels. It seems that many of us really enjoy developing the skills of new and improving turfcare workers. In fact, many regard passing on skills and advice to 'learners' as one of the most fulfilling parts of their job, whether they are in a supervisory role or in an expert role.
No problem anticipated here then. Maybe you just need to let the boss know that you want to do some coaching or spend more time doing it. The more you do the more widespread will be your legacy of good practice in groundsmanship or greenkeeping.
On the days when you take someone to a higher level, or stop someone doing something wrong or dangerous, you are 'changing' the future for that person. Indeed, it might be said that you are changing the future - one person at a time.
Let's move on now to mentoring. Speaking personally, I can only coach people in my areas of experience and expertise, e.g. management skills, negotiating skills, presentation skills etc. However, over the years, I seem to have acquired more and more 'mentoring' clients, i.e. people working in the turfcare sector who want the magic of one-to-one learning sessions as well as, or instead of, the classroom experience.
I am usually a mentor to groundsmen, greenkeepers, club managers, stadium managers etc., because I cannot really coach them to perform their individual calling. I am not on the premises, like you might be, to coach them, to run behind them or sit alongside the individual who wants to cut the grass better, sell more memberships or inspire a group of disgruntled people at a meeting.
What you and I can do, in the mentoring role, is listen carefully to the individual's concerns, and then bring a lot of good experience into play in a discussion about a problem that is really vexing an individual or his/her employer.
Problems and work situations I have helped people tackle successfully, through mentoring, include career issues at junior and senior levels; dealing with demanding people, performance issues at junior and senior levels, and a wide range of other thorny management questions.
How is this done? Typically, the mentoring I do is face-to-face at a convenient location, or on the telephone (in an emergency). I increasingly mentor on-line with e-mail messages going back and forth.
Results seem to have all been positive to date. This is, in no small part, down to the honesty and realism that comes from a one-to-one session. For example, an irritated Golf Course Manager at a top club, seeking a substantial pay rise immediately, became more realistic, following our telephone mentoring session he was able to quickly secure an close to the amount he was after - with the increase spread over three years.
In recent times, I spent a day mentoring a public school Head Groundsman who had reading and writing difficulties of his own. He confided that he would never attend conventional management training courses because of the (continuing) pain and embarrassment he had suffered since his school days. However, one to one mentoring sessions, that involved a lot of walking around his sports pitches and talking about his job, helped him to transform his performance, and his employer now recommends mentoring wholeheartedly.
Again, in recent times, an outgoing Turfcare Manager sent his replacement (his deputy) for a series of half day mentoring sessions. After each session, workplace goals were set for the coming week and the individual would then report on his results at our next half day session. The outgoing fellow was able to monitor results, which exceeded everyone's expectations and, by using the quieter half days, disruption to normal working was minimised.
So, if you are looking to add even more satisfaction to your role, then think about mentoring as a way to boost the performance and confidence of your people. It is cost-effective use of your time, and you can customise it to the needs of the individual and the requirements of your employer.
Good luck with changing the future - one person at a time. In the second part of this article, I will look at how you can change the future by making presentations to people - yes you, speaking in public, standing up and speaking up!
Frank Newberry has been helping people in the turfcare sector to get better results for over twenty years. If you are interested in doing some coaching or mentoring and, if you think it might help to speak to someone, you can contact Frank by e-mail or by telephone via the contact tab of his personal website which is www.franknewberry.com