Traditional Mentorship

Mentorship Training: The Tradition of Apprenticeship

In years gone by before schools existed, students were often tutored by a mentor known by reputation for their understanding, skill and specialized knowledge. A mentor served as a teacher, counselor, guide and trusted advisor. The word Mentor itself was inspired by the character of Mentor in Homer's Odyssey. Though the actual Mentor in the story is a somewhat ineffective old man, the goddess Athena takes on his appearance in order to guide young Telemachus in his time of difficulty.

The mentor shared their experience and insight over time with the apprentice in a relatively slow, but organized and practical manner. The mentor taught by example and introduced the apprentice to the work in accordance with their ability as it developed over time. Less emphasis was placed on how long it took for the student to graduate.

The real value was placed on ability, skill and performance, the mentor knowing of course that individual students develop the capacity to perform procedure and specific tasks at individual rates. The apprentice, viewed as a beginner and one who desired to learn a certain trade or occupation, was typically bound by legal agreement to work for the mentor for a specific amount of time in return for instruction in the trade, art or business.

This concept of mentorship, though now seldom practiced, has incredible merit. It has been dropped by the public education system in favor of the advantages of educating mass numbers of students in less time. What would have taken years of training in the past has now been replaced by a highly structured program that offers graduation in return for completing a specific amount of course credits.

The mentorship style of teaching has been eliminated and replaced with a turn-style system that in many ways reduces quality in favor of producing greater volume. Would you prefer to be taught by a personal trainer with no actual experience, who just completed a weekend weight-training course and is “certified”, or by someone who has weight-trained for decades, studied the science, looks like they train and has a mature understanding of human behavior, emotions and motivation?

My own personal professional version of personal training is unlike personal training as it is typically defined. In fact I don’t even call it personal training because of how most clients and personal trainers think of what personal training is or is not. For many years I have observed hundreds of personal trainers and their clients in gyms throughout the world, and always felt that something was missing. That “something” I discovered is in the manner in which personal training is typically given. It's what I call the "missing link".

Personal training clients very seldom reach a state of complete independence, meaning they can move on and train anywhere for the rest of their life after completion of the program without any further instruction, and even teach others what they know with confidence.

Like a plumber, or carpenter or an electrician. It doesn't mean they know it all, but they “get” all the important principles and can apply them, including why they need to routinely upgrade their personal knowledge. After years of study and on-the-job apprenticeship, these “certified” professionals are now able to work alone and even form their own companies as independents. And so it should be with students who are mentored.

In what I call my Training Partner Program, my apprentice is not someone I simply tell what to do, stand over and watch as they attempt to do it. My student is my actual training partner because unlike most personal trainers, I train “full out” in every way with my apprentice. From start to finish, we complete the entire work-out together, and I can tell you by experience there is no better way to teach or be taught. I don’t simply tell my apprentice what to do; I do first what I want them to do second. I lead the way. And by “do” I don’t mean a demonstration at half speed. I mean a full-out complete set executed with pride and passion, and there is a big difference.

As their mentor and teacher, I train with the same absolute devotion and intensity that I expect from my apprentice. After watching me execute the exercise correctly they themselves are expected to perform, they get incredibly motivated. They have seen that it is possible to perform the exercise with intensity without compromising form. So now they have more potential to do the same.

The beauty of this proven strategy is that after I’m finished performing my set I can watch my student apprentice like a hawk as they perform their own and point out any errors, highlight principles of training or compliment them on a set well done after they finish. The message here is that nothing comes close to a real-life model. Obviously the number of graduates from my Training Partner Program is relatively low, but the quality of each graduate I certify through the Institute is very, very high.

"How can anyone know what intensity and excellent performance is unless they see it up-close first-hand with their own eyes?"

When the Master is Ready...the Student Appears!

We've all heard the expression "When the Student is Ready, the Master Appears." Translated this means that the advice or knowledge many people seek rarely arrives before they are consciously able to absorb it. But I think the opposite is true. When the Master is Ready...the Student Appears! Another great example of the Costanza Principle in action.

Upon completion of our training sessions, I have shared my knowledge, insight and true experience with you. I have tested your understanding, skill and faith, helped you overcome your personal demons and formed a wonderful relationship that will stand the test of time. No longer an apprentice you have evolved to a new level of self-actualization. You know exactly what you want. It is now possible to move forward. The student becomes the Master and the cycle continues.

I am Ready, willing and able. Are you?

Return To Mentorship Program