Could you use adult supervision?

We all have areas of weaknesses. Instead of struggling with critical areas where you’ve not yet been successful, you need to admit it. Surrender. Realize you currently don’t have the skills or judgment to be left to your own devices.

This is easy when it comes to things like car repair, complicated taxes, legal issues, and even computer upgrades. You know you’re out of your league and think nothing of hiring a specialist.

The challenge is when you think you should know something, or think you can figure it out. You spin your wheels for hours accomplishing nothing. Why do you do this? Mostly because you don’t want to admit you can’t figure it out. Or you like a challenge.

When I have surrendered and solicited help in areas that came easily to others, I’ve made much greater progress quickly. But most of us don’t look at our results and step back to assess that really we have little skill in this area.

For example, after struggling for years to lose weight and get more exercise, I finally realized that while I knew what to do, I didn’t do it. It wasn’t a lack of information, it was an inability to consistently apply what I knew. I saw that if I were going to master this area of my life, I needed outside input. I hired a well-being coach. I worked with her for 18 months and saw dramatic changes in my habits that in turn affected other areas of my life.

Most call this kind of input coaching or mentoring. I call it adult supervision. What’s the difference?

There’s a lot of overlap. However, adult supervision is a little looser. It’s engaging someone who’s been successful in what you want to advance. You may not talk every week — it may be once a month or longer. They are a wise sounding board.

I’ve utilized adult supervisors for much of my life. In school, teachers would roam guiding us as we worked on assignments. In auto repair class, the instructor checked as we worked on our cars, helping when needed. After class ended, I felt I still needed guidance, so arranged to tune up my car outside an auto-savvy friend’s house. If I ran into trouble, or wanted him to check my work, he was available just inside the house. It comforted me to know help was only steps away.

A friend recently faced tough times. He confided that he has had to confront his many bad decisions that got him where he’s at. He also admitted that he continues to make bad decisions. He needs some adult supervision to help guide him out of his thinking that keeps him in dire straights.

Since I’ve engaged others to be my adult supervisors, I’ve gained wisdom that would have been more painful left to my own figuring it out. So I’m on the other side — I’m now being asked to be adult supervision for others. They call it coaching, but it is on a irregular basis. They retain me and use my time as they need it. They are fine on many aspects of their businesses, but want a ready sounding board who’s been successful at what they want to accomplish.

Adult supervision is like having a periodic mentor or on-call counsel. You are emboldened to move forward into unfamiliar territory because you know you have guidance to walk you through it. This sage can tutor you through obstacles, push back on your thinking and help you keep aligned with your higher goals.

Have you used counsel like this? If so, how have you worked best with this kind of advisor?