Working Mentorship

Last month I had a conversation with someone who counseled me to ensure that I was keeping a healthy balance of tactical versus strategic goals.  I love that we had that conversation and have given quite a bit of thought to it in the days and weeks following our telephone meeting.  In my mind, that’s the mark of a great coaching conversation — the words return over and over and bring one to new places or new ideas.

What made this conversation so special?  I’ll give myself some small credit for being open to coaching — but that’s not unique [smugly pats self on back].  What was different is I was speaking to someone who had already invested significant time toward clarifying and distilling the essence of “what needs to happen” into intentional action and a teachable point of view.  This person’s communication style was once described to me as “masterful” by a client.  People who really know their stuff are able to convey complex ideas simply and clearly.  They help us see what’s possible and get us excited about going there.

This made me think of another colleague who provided leadership insight that I use on a regular basis.  I sent questions in advance of our conversation as I was seeking solid, meaningful feedback. In the space of a 45-minute conversation she was able to help me find the one thing I could work on that would bring the most value and the greatest results.

In both these situations I received valuable coaching from people who were a step or two removed from the results of my actions.  Maybe that’s the key.  We were able to lift ourselves out of the day-to-day expectations and instead fly into the future and examine what’s possible and what needs to be different.

Where are your mentors?  Are there people you admire that you would like to reach out to?  I’m challenging myself to interact with individuals I don’t know well – perhaps some of my LinkedIn connections – where there could be a valuable interchange of thoughts and ideas.  I’m also reaching out to people who have had a positive mentoring impact on me to say thank you and continue the conversation.

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