Not Mentoring? Your Leadership is Suffering

Mentoring is a gift to others. It’s also a gift to yourself. More than that, I’d say if you are not mentoring, your leadership is suffering. 

Recently, I spent a couple days with a mid-level leader. It was life-on-life. He wanted to work on how to develop interactive workshops that produce mindset and behavioral changes, that is, impact, in participants. He’s good at it, and wanted to get even better.

He told me what he’s doing and how he wants to improve. I shared the why and how that I use to develop impactful workshops.

Over meals we talked about more personal topics. Like, how to continue to grow spiritually into middle age, and what habits help mature leaders continue to grow instead of plateau.

As we talked, I realized I was learning as much or more than he was! I went away from our time together with valuable lessons that developed me personally and built my leadership abilities.

What You Learn By Mentoring

  1. You learn by explaining how and why you do what you do. Most of us are not consciously thinking about why we do what we do. We just do it, and we’re good at it. When I explained about how I develop impactful workshops, I realized I’m not consistently doing all these helpful things that I already know. Sharing my methods reinforced them in me.
  2. You learn about a younger generation. The questions he asked. Perceiving his motivations. Picking up on his values. All these reveal to me a snapshot of a generation different than my own. The more snapshots I have like this, the better able I am to influence and to learn from this generation.
  3. You learn what makes you unique. Oftentimes, it takes someone asking us to reveal strengths, gifts, and values that we take for granted. What we consider “no big deal” about how we think or work, may be a valuable asset. Mentoring will reveal these gems and allow us to better use them.
  4. You learn from the mentee. As we talked, he shared things that were valuable to me. His approach to a leadership issue was a great example that I filed away for later use. He explained a couple of Internet tools he uses in his work that I plan to adopt. Also, his focus inspired me to take a closer look at how I measure my outcomes.

Getting Started Mentoring Is Easy

Invite someone out to lunch and ask him or her, What are trying to do? What problems do you have? What are you passionate about?

From there, talk together. Share your own answers to those questions. Listen for what this person really needs. Ask more questions. Share your stories, know-how and resources.

Now you are mentoring. And learning!

You have a lot to offer, more than you know. For those who are too busy, by not mentoring others you’re actually missing out on some of the learning you need to succeed.

Question: What have you learned by mentoring others? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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