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  • Writer's pictureSteve Watts

In the beginning...

The inspiration for a company based on helping people achieve their goals through coaching and mentoring came about as a result of a trip to Ithaka in Greece. Ithaka is an island in the Ionian Sea sandwiched between Kefalonia to the west and mainland Greece to the east. More importantly it was the home of Odysseus and the setting of Homer's Odyssey and Iliad. Famously, King Odysseus left his island Kingdom for the Trojan Wars, leaving his wife Penelope and young son Prince Telemachus behind. In order to ensure that Telemachus continued his education and preparation for future kingship, Odysseus left a trusted friend to oversee the young Telemachus. That friend was called Mentor and so a name was given to a crucial role that has continued down the centuries to the point where it is considered essential, according to David Clutterbuck, that Everyone Needs a Mentor (1985).

The journey to Ithaka

The guide that day was my dear friend and mentor John Earwaker, who over the years has taught me so much, including the poem Ithaka by Constantine Cavafy (1911). The key message of the poem is one that I have shared over the last 40 years with my students and clients - to enjoy the journey not just the destination:

'Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you're destined for.

But don't hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you're old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you've gained on the way,

Not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.'

The emphasis in the poem that I like to tease out is the reference to being 'wealthy with all you have gained' by which Cavafy means wealthy in experiences rather than wealthy in material terms. Possessing wealth in experience is one of the essential pre-requisites for being a mentor and this is one of several services that Watts Coaching and Consulting offers. Mentoring is usually a long term relationship designed to help the mentee develop their skills over time. Also on offer at Watts Coaching and Consulting is coaching, which in contrast to mentoring, is usually a shorter term relationship and focussed on the achievement of specific goals. The coaching can take the form of life coaching, career coaching or spiritual coaching.

The coaching and mentoring service offered by Watts Coaching and Consulting can be delivered either through a one-to-one meeting or with a group. The sessions can be face-to-face or on line. Other services include the training of mentors and coaches, as well as the setting up of mentoring and coaching schemes in organisations.

In Cavafy's poem he states:

'When you depart from Ithaka,

wish for the road to be long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge ...'

Watts Coaching and Consulting is dedicated to supporting individuals and organisations setting out on an adventure and helping them achieve their goals, gain wider knowledge and refine their skills.

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