Back To The PEERtrainer Weight Loss Guide

Learning To Inspire Others

How To Become A Great Mentor or Leader: Some Basic Concepts

By Habib Wicks, PEERtrainer co-founder

As you learn to become a mentor to others, either informally or formally, you will develop a greater mastery of the area of focus. As you teach an idea, the questions that you get will force you to approach an idea from a different perspective. The questions will force you to ask the same questions of yourself. Given how long the journey to health and self-discovery can be, embracing this role might just help to achieve your goals or further refine and clarify them.

Maybe you have started to run and lost some weight. Maybe you have run a 5k, or a 10k- or a marathon. Any level of success can enable you to start working on your mentoring skills. Simply being supportive on PEERtrainer is a great start- you have begun the process of leadership training just by being a group member.

Anything you have done can serve as an incredible inspiration to others. After you have been a member of PEERtrainer for a while, offer to write an article or upload a success story to share your knowledge and experiences with the others in the community. You never know how the simplest story can help motivate another. Reading an informative article from someone like Joel Fuhrman can improve your knowledge dramatically. But people need to know that people "just like them" can and have done something. Often it is the most motivating thing in the world for them.

How To Become A Great Mentor or Leader: Some Basic Concepts

If you want to begin to think about or prepare for a more formal role as a weight loss coach, fitness instructor or teacher of any sort, start to think about how you have interacted with people on PEERtrainer. What has worked, what hasn't? The following is a very rough outline of some of the basic principles of leadership. The framework is modeled after the work of Stephen Denning.

All sorts of people teach leadership, but what is amazing is how the basic principles are usually very similar. Basic character traits like respect, understanding, and being a good role model and listener are all important. Learning to empower and inspire, things people do routinely on PEERtrainer are essential to the basics of leadership. Here is a list of some more ideas, a specific sequence to follow to get people to actually act in their own interest. Something that is often very very difficult.

"Why Won't You Just Listen To Me?!"

Telling someone to do something has an uncanny knack of not working. Sometimes you have to show not tell. And sometimes you have to trick them!!! If someone believes something firmly, trying to reason with them may only lead to them digging in deeper and questioning your authority as a leader or motivator. This is called "confirmation bias", where people hear an opposing argument or something they don't want to hear and assume something is wrong with the source. This is a classic psychological phenomenon.

So when you start working with people or interacting with people in your groups and teams, gauge the people you are with and try and avoid triggering confirmation bias in people who may not be open to an idea. Generally great leaders seek to understand before they seek to be understood.

Avoid analyzing the problem and then recommending a solution. This is what everyone does, and it fails to work in an overwhelming manner. When people are open to getting information, this can work. But you need to really test and see if someone is truly open. That test is pretty simple- if the person responds enthusiastically and does it, you are in business. If they gently question the idea- keep working to understand them and making them feel understood to preserve the communication channel. Remember the context- getting people to change a behavior is extremely difficult.

Get Attention First

Learn to get people's attention first. Unless they are listening, there is little point to communication. An online peer mentoring system like PEERtrainer is ideal for this, because you can say something in a probing manner and then the comment sits out there in the screen. People can't get around it and you have a little more margin of error. Asking a lot of questions before giving any advice is generally a great start. It will get them to respond, and do so that might trigger some helpful emotions. You can then start to identify their triggers. You may find people want to talk about the negative stuff, things that you can then use as reasons to do something.

Find The Motivation And Provide Inspiration

After you have their attention, then you can focus on a desire to act. And these are two distinctly different things. The negative stuff gets people's attention, but people tend to go for positive goals. This is where motivational skill comes in. People don't take new actions just to be healthy. But they might to fit into a pair of old jeans, to look hot for a guy or girl, to make more money. Yes, the changes you help them make might extend their life twenty years and improve the quality of it massively. But has to be connected to the stuff that taps into their burning desires.

Stories work to provide motivation incredibly well. Your personal journey of success on PEERtrainer, in all its gory detail will most likely inspire in a very effective manner. People can relate to it as long as you are like them. This is the Weight Watchers group leader model. Most of their leaders have been successful on the WW program, and as a result have a huge amount of authority to lead and be listened to. Never underestimate how the smallest success can be inspiring to others.

Reinforce With Motivation and Support

After the motivation kicks in, and goals have been identified, now comes the really hard work! You have to successfully keep people going and on track. This is finally the part where reason kicks in, where people will listen to well reasoned suggestions that reinforce the mission and evolving personal narrative. Remember to keep in mind that you are helping change not just someone's habits, you are changing many surrounding and related behaviors. This is a potentially very powerful and important role you are playing in someone's life. You need to communicate to someone their potential, and do so in a manner that they can really begin to visualize it. Getting someone to believe in their potential, their worth and their voice in a clear and sustainable manner is the height of leadership.

It is likely that this is a tough approach to grasp at first because it inverts our traditional sense of structure and hierarchy, especially the part of using logic and reason as the last step of the communication process. People naturally resist forms of authority, but they are very open to a peer to peer framework or one where they truly feel listened to in a coopertative and communicative manner. Even people at the top of small or large organizations can embrace this approach. The great ones usually do.

- our sponsor -

If you are like most people, you know how to lose weight and get fit, but simply have a hard time following through. PEERtrainer was built to help you follow through, via daily logging and peer support. It is easy to get started--you log your food, exercise, thoughts each day. This takes about 5 minutes, and is a great habit to develop. You do this in small weight loss groups of 4 and larger "teams". The logging makes you much more aware of your habits. The group members read your logs and keep you motivated and supported. This tight integration of logging with free online weight loss support groups is very effective. It is also a unique and patent-pending process.

It is easy to get started:

1. You Sign Up. It is free.
2. Join Groups and Teams. If you don't find ones you like- Start One. Active Groups Fill Up Quickly, You Might Want To Start A Couple To Get The Perfect Mix of People.

Here Are Some Other Tips To Help You Be Successful