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Coaching and Mentoring — Dads and Sons

Written by: Ilham N Musayev, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I have two amazing people’s birthday in mid-May — my dad and son nearly in a day later. And hence, I thought what that would be an interesting and creative theme to shed light on and at the same time have some discussion which would be of value to many other people too?


After some thoughts and internal brainstorming, I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. The brilliant idea came to my mind, “What are the benefits and practical application of Coaching and Mentoring in father-son-grandfather relationships. How can we share our experience & knowledge with our sons (or kids) and learn the wisdom from grandfathers? I have never deeply thought about this subject, especially now, when many things changed and transformed: values, approaches, we become more digitized and virtual.

The challenge we have nowadays is that we are dealing with 3 generations (on average). At least in my case: it’s about Baby Boomers, Xennials (or crossover generation), and iGen/Gen Z’s.

So, if we look at the first 2, I think values and environment were very close, at least not that dramatic like the shift between Baby Boomers and iGen / Gen Z generations. Let us explore how coaching and mentoring could support relationships, communication, and understanding among these 3 generations mentioned above.

“Small boys become Big Men through the influence of Big Men who care about small boys.”

I’ll start with the father-son relationship. Let’s explore what coaching skills we could utilize when dealing with this type of relationship.

The known coaching skills are empathy, curiosity, positivity, persistence, communication, sincerity, guidance. How wonderful they are!

Imagine what kind of full of value and mature men you can grow if you utilize the magic of these basic coaching skills.

For example, when kids are smaller, they are asking curious questions and learning from that experience. And how they do that? – with passion, curiosity, without attachment to nothing at all. Let’s turn the dial now. Are we asking them the same questions with the same passion and curiosity? With the purpose to help them learn and grow? We are usually asking questions to keep them under some control and, most importantly, for our own comfort.

If one father grows his son with great empathy, positivity, sincerity, and guidance, then imagine how their relationships, understanding, and trust will grow too. That’s so wonderful! Let’s be true to ourselves and admit that mostly we are not doing that. However, it’s never late to start and change the future for our kids and ourselves too. So, I invite you to think about it and ask for professional support should you require some support. The future will be bright!

I’ve personally been doing it passively in the past and started actively a couple of years ago when my son was around 14-15 years old. It works not so immediately, but I start seeing outcomes now. At least I know that he has good foundations and feels that support. He can ask questions and get his answers, or I can ask questions and take him to his answers. It works both ways, and he knows he can access both channels. That is the whole heart of the process. Perhaps, I noticed that it also reflects his relationship with friends and other people he communicates with. It is an interesting and challenging journey, and it worth taking it.

And now, let’s quickly dive into mentoring skills. There are so many opportunities that come up in this space too. Here are the most important ones:

  • Create an open and supportive environment for discussion.

  • Demonstrate good listening and follow-up skills.

  • Provide constructive feedback and advice.

Just by addressing the first point above, we can achieve so much. If our kids have an open and supportive environment for discussion throughout their development and growth period, they will be speaking up. That is a game-changer! Because they will get a bar so high that they are fostering that environment everywhere they go. That’s so beautiful! I will not dive deeper into the other 2 mentoring skills, but they are there and very straightforward.

I’ll say that I see that in conversation with my dad, and I give back the same. It helps to have a mature conversation and dive into root causes quickly when required. I am also doing the same with my son too – having a conversation and then follow up. It keeps him on track, calls for actions, and raises commitment to close out whatever he started.

I trust the above focuses on creatively applying to the coach and mentor for family and especially children.

“Grandparents are wonderful, because they listen and show genuine interest in what you have to say.”

Now let’s change lenses and focus slightly differently and see how we (those who are in between) can connect and promote grandpa grandchild relationships. There are some natural reasons, magic, and wisdom on how some grandparents manage to have close relationships with their grandchildren. Did you notice it?

If we dive into the roots, there are some simple reasons why. Let’s explore further from several perspectives. Remember, I mentioned at the beginning of the conversation that I am exploring this subject too.

We have already covered the above basic coaching and mentoring skills, which we are open to exercise with our kids. Now! Grandparents are using these skills masterly and very naturally. Why? There are some cultural, natural, and historical reasons around. For example, most grandparents offer extraordinary coaching skills: they are great listeners, empathetic, and love their kid’s kids (not surprisingly). They are also sincere, curious the same way as grandkids and keep communications as simple as possible. Amazing, it is all about approach and attitude.

I would love my grandpas to be around me these days. I do not have a luxury, unfortunately. Rest them in peace. I have learned and reflected on so many things from them and to them. And the trick was that they were great coaches and mentors and did this very craftily.

Nowadays, things changed, and it is even easier for grandparents to see grandkids frequently as technology evolved. I agree that there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, but technology has made it easier to build a relationship with grandchildren across the miles.

A lot of grandparents visit with their grandchildren daily via Skype, WhatsApp, or other video chat platforms. The key point is that caring and loving grandparents will find a way to bridge the distance.

As parents, as times now exponentially changing, we need to widen the impact of our coaching and mentoring and strengthen linkage from our kids to grandparents. That link is becoming weaker and weaker as the gap between generations increases.

I will take my example: a huge time gap and shift in values between Baby Boomers and iGen / Gen Z’s. So, I now build a bridge in communication and decoding of values between my father and son as long as it is done naturally and with some targeted logic, it helps a lot.

“What was silent in the father speaks in the son, and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Families that expect and build strong relationships between the generations are more likely to have them. That is because family members are taught from an early age that family members share obligations. Those obligations may include caregiving for kids and older people and general sharing of tasks, values, and principles. And the assistance flows in both directions — from young to old, from old to young.

Families that nurture this type of culture are more likely to demonstrate strong grandparent-grandchild bonds than families in which individuality and independence top the list of values. Such families also adopt practices that keep extended families close.

Grandchildren usually get their early values from parents and grandparents. As they grow, however, they are more likely to grow their own set of values. Families are closest when they share values, but few families will ever be in total agreement.

According to researchers, a generation gap sometimes develops when younger generations find older generations lacking social tolerance and even prone to hypocrisy. Grandparents should not abandon their values and standards, but a willingness to listen to the younger generation can go a long way. And grandparents should be sure that they practice what they preach.

I hope the conversation above helped to unveil the magic of coaching and mentoring in a family environment. The examples of father, grandfather, and son are just used to connect to my case and demonstrate how it works in practice. But, in general, we are all encouraged to be creative and use them as practically it applies. The key point is that those skills could be learned, practiced, further enhanced, and transferred further and further.

If you start practicing coaching and mentoring in your family climate today or tomorrow, you can change a lot for yourselves, your kids, and even for future generations.

For more info, follow me on LinkedIn & Instagram!


Ilham N Musayev, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ilham N Musayev is a mentor and coach (outside of the company he works for) who helps people unlock their career and personal development potential. He also assists in personal effectiveness, setting realistic goals, and becoming organized and structured. Ilham also helps to re-gain the [lost] confidence and look to issues and problems from a different perspective. Another area of his support is helping to cultivate servant leadership via coaching and mentoring technics.

Overall, he is an energy sector professional with 22+ years of the practical experience obtained by working in one of the leader companies in this sector. Ilham’s experience is very multilayered. He worked and gained his expertise from the following functions: Wells, PSCM, Operations, Global Projects by mainly providing project controls support. For the last three years, he worked in Modernization and Transformation and Agile Design Teams and helped his company transform into new working ways. He is currently a part of the Agility team and, as an agile coach, supports the company by implementing agile working methods.

Ilham holds the following professional certifications and accreditations: EMBA, PMP®, ICP-ATF; ICP-ACC; PSPO I; PAL I. He also is a Professional Life Coach and ICF Professional (Member).

Ilham’s position is that staying open for support, serving people as a leader, and helping people grow is what wins hearts and minds and is the only answer to all questions. His mission: “Aspire to inspire before we expire.”



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