The balance of 6 roles of support

As you look for change, or maybe a new venture in life, you can’t do this alone. You need support. Each of your supporters may hold one or more of 6 roles. The important point is that you know you have people in all six areas

Role Model

This is the person who you look up to and see as the direction for your life. You may have multiple ones for different elements of your life. For example, some people might take Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela as role models for dealing with adversity, but Richard Branson as a role model for being an entrepreneur.You might take a boss, colleague or business leader as an example. 

With the role model, you look at their attitude, behaviour, looks, decision making and philosophy and set it as areas you want to model in your life. Some christians have a bracelet with WWJD, “what would Jesus do”, as a trigger when they are in difficult situations. You might think of that for your role model.


This is a person who believes in you. You may or may not have had that from your parents. You might not even realise it. I had a boss who invited me to join him for two new business ventures in my life. I thought, at the time, that he just wanted to use my skills, but only later asking a colleague, did I realise that this boss knew I would bring something new to the team, and he wanted me so the team could be successful.

  • Who, has been a champion for you in the past? (A teacher, a boss, a colleague).
  • Who could you ask for their support in promoting you? 


This person helps you take away the barriers in your life, open up possibilities and encourage you to make decisions and move forward. It can be a formal relationship, such as a life coach or therapist. It might be a mate in the pub. This is a person who will be with you for the long haul whom you can share your hope, fears, and decisions, and they can be honest back to you about your strengths and weaknesses.

One of my friends has been a serial entrepreneur, building two multi-million pound consulting firms. One of his strengths is to surround himself with experienced advisors, and coaches. He makes the decisions, but they tell him of the pitfalls and possibilities. Without this coaching he would not be as successful as he is.

It is easy to focus on training of skills, or expecting your employer to invest in training for them. But who is investing in growing you?

  • How much per month would you put aside to invest in yourself?
  • Do you have someone who can be honest in their coaching for you? (and not judge or put down your ideas

Advisor (Knowledge)

This person knows more about you in a particular area. For example, you might be a lawyer, and you ask a senior lawyer out for dinner, to give you tips and tricks in getting along in that career. People love sharing their experience and advice, and for the cost of a dinner, you might get both advice, and a potential future champion for you.

Other types of advisors are professional support – such as accountants, lawyers, business consultants, financial advisors – who know more about different areas than you do. 

  • Think about the different knowledge areas you need in your life now ( e.g. finance, dating, parenting, career etc).
  • Who would you add for each of these areas?


The teacher is different from the Advisor. The Advisor will give you knowledge, and advice – such as the 6 steps to build a business, or here are the pitfalls in pensions. The teacher spends time helping you build a skill – such as how to do your accounts, or how to build rapport in meetings. They will show you, watch you, guide you and test you that you now have the skill and knowledge.

This might be done in a formal course, or it might be as if being an apprentice. For excample, you might get someone who is a good decorator to come and decorate your house, and you help them and learn how to do it at the same time.

  • What skills do you think you need to learn now?
  • Who can you call upon to teach you this? Or what courses do you need to go on?

Door opener (Networker)

The last type of supporter is the Door Opener or network. This is someone who is well connected, and can join you to the people you need to know.

For example, it could be a pastor in a church, or a person who is great at organising parties. When I was starting out in my business I looked at people who knew others, and had coffee with them being clear in the type of people I needed to connect with – they would give me a few names and it was my responsibility to talk to them. Often this person is not the obvious person – it might be a mum who talks to all the mums at the school gate. It might be the local pub landlord, or the head of the cricket club. 

So if you are thinking of changing your job, you might find someone who is in that line of business and ask if they know anyone who is growing needing your skills. 

As they say – it’s not what you know, but who you know that gets you on.

  • In the areas that you want to change in your life, who could you contact to get you in touch with people who can help you change?

Bringing it together

Having thought of the six types of supporter, now list who the people are in each of the six areas, and where you have gaps, think about the door opener people – who could they connect you with

Role My list of contacts
Role Model  
Door Opener (Networker)  

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