Do you know how to bring out the best in others?

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Leadership | Comments Off on Do you know how to bring out the best in others?

Mentoring is on the Rise

Successful companies, large and small, use mentoring to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention, creating new leaders and improving workforce productivity. Corporate mentoring is on the rise: 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring programs to their employees.

Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship where an experienced person (the mentor) supports another less experienced person (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that enhances the person’s professional and personal growth.

A Tribute to a Special Mentor

I am lucky to have had many brilliant mentors throughout my career. When I founded Evolve Consulting fourteen years ago, I was fortunate to have worked with Angeles Arrien, a gifted teacher and mentor. Sadly, she died a few months ago at a mere 74 years of age. She mentored me on my personal leadership for seven years. I could always rely on her to acknowledge my strengths and tell me the truth about my weaknesses.

My personal leadership development was focused on what she called “weak heartedness”, specifically not allowing the fears of other’s opinions prevent me from speaking my truth. She quickly got to the heart of every problem. Although often hard to hear, she had a disarming way of speaking her truth yet not softening the message. I am grateful to her mentoring and role modeling as it has paid off in all aspects of my life, especially in my work as an executive coach. Today when I am working with leaders I often hear her words coming through me as part of her legacy.

Bringing out the Best in Others

The timeless wisdom of Angeles Arrien supported the personal and collective leadership development of many people. Among her many gifts, she was able to bring out the best in others through the power of positive sponsorship. Cultivating positive sponsorship is important for a mentor, leader, manager, coach or even parent. Four traits for expressing positive sponsorship are:

  1. The compassion to express genuine understanding, concern, patience and tolerance for others.
  2. The strength to deal with problems in effective ways, to give appropriate and honest feedback when necessary, maintain boundaries and make requests.
  3. The quality of playfulness allows learning to be easier and more enjoyable. By looking at the humor of our situations and using a lighter touch we can expand beyond our limitations.
  4. Being centered in order to stay balanced, flexible and open.

No matter what stage you are in your career, most likely you have received some mentoring either formally or informally from someone. Who would you like to thank for supporting your growth? How did their support change you or your life? Where is your opportunity to be a mentor?

Please contact me if you want to learn more about how to be a more effective coach, mentor or leader.