“If you want to influence your peers, become their best cheerleader. Praise their strengths. Acknowledge their accomplishments. Say positive things about them to your boss and peers. Sincerely compliment them at every opportunity, and someday you may have the opportunity to influence them.” John C. Maxwell, The 360 Degree Leader
Without question, the most enjoyable part of my years in corporate America was the opportunity to mentor some of my younger colleagues. I will never forget the looks on the faces of people when they left my office following one of our sessions. I could tell how much they valued my decision to invest a little bit of me into them. Though I never expected anything in return, the biggest rewards for me would be a thank you note or phone call at some point in the future, often years later when a person I had mentored achieved a career breakthrough.
As I wrote in my most recent post, adding value is, in a sense, an act of intentionally making a deposit into the life of another. The more deposits we make, the bigger the return on investment, whether it’s the growth and success of our team at work, new opportunities that come along or the strengthening of our marriage and family.
Adding value is really not that hard. It’s mostly about a realization of why adding value is so important (see my previous post) and making a commitment to share some of you with others in your life. Here is how you can get started:
- Take a hard look at yourself. What are the skills and expertise you bring to the table? In my coaching practice, I often ask clients to complete an achievement log. That simply requires taking 15-20 minutes and listing out all the things you have accomplished of which you are proud. It’s quite an eye opener, not to mention a morale booster. What are you passionate about? What experiences have you had that can be of benefit to others?
- Who can benefit from your knowledge? Take a look around at team members. How can you encourage their development? How about your spouse and/or children? Are there others you encounter through your volunteer work who may encounter some of the same challenges you have faced?
- Make it a priority. No doubt, mentoring or coaching others is a commitment. It does require time to listen, discuss, encourage, affirm and challenge the thinking of others. This sounds like a great concept until you are too darn busy to meet with someone. These sessions are one of the things that too easily get pushed to the back burner. You must block out time on your schedule to meet with folks—and stick to the appointment;
- Be vulnerable. Be willing to share some of the mistakes you have made. There is much to learn from failure.Your willingness to “go there” not only will enhance the learning opportunity, but increases your credibility and trust with others.
As you successfully nurture relationships, you will find that you won’t be able to mentor everyone who seeks your help. You’ll have to make choices. You will also find that a life of adding value to others will result in the greatest value of all being realized — in your own life.
Go for it!