Guest post by Dan Reiland, Author of Amplified Leadership
Someone took a chance!
I was walking briskly through the office with briefcase in hand, and my boss asked: “Where are you going?” I replied: “I’m going to get my work done. ” I was an intern just out of seminary then and John Maxwell was my boss. Of course, he soon became my mentor, pastor, and close friend of nearly 30 years now.
I’ll never forget the rest of the conversation. John called me into his office and said: “Dan, you walked right by your work . . . people! You need to learn to walk slowly through the crowds.” He was teaching me basic people skills. He knew I had a deep passion and love for people, but I didn’t show it well. I was always in a hurry to get somewhere and get something accomplished. My purpose and passion was high, but my people skills were low. Today, John would call me one of the most relational leaders he knows. I am forever grateful for his leadership development in me.
You may be a good, even a great leader today. But I’ll bet you didn’t start that way. Someone believed in you. Someone poured into you like John did for me. You have the opportunity to do that for others. Your church or team or organization will never realize its full potential if you don’t invest in other leaders. If you can realize your dreams by yourself, your dreams are too small! If you are a young leader and still seek a leadership coach for yourself, it’s never too soon to begin investing in others.
Take a risk.
Leadership development is more art than science. Sometimes it comes down to taking a chance on someone. Like leaning into a hunch. You see a spark of potential and make a decision to invest in a person. It doesn’t always go well. People are messy. You may get hurt in the process. Someone you coach might turn on you. But that’s rare and the risk is worth it. There is nothing like seeing someone rise up and fly because you developed them as a leader.
Here are three coaching tips to help you develop others well.
- Believe wholeheartedly
My son John-Peter just turned 21. He’s a junior in college and doing well as a computer-science major at Indiana Wesleyan University. Since he was a baby I’ve said to him “John-Peter, you have potential.” I literally said it everyday until he was deep into his teens, and to this day he hears me say it often. He knows deep in his bones that he has huge potential to do great things. Believing in someone is essential in order to help them develop as a leader. In fact, not unlike my son, it is often necessary that you believe in a person before they do! In fact, it’s common that you believe in them more than they do in the beginning. That’s part of the risk. Your faith is a deposit of belief until they have enough confidence of their own!
- Invest deeply
Don’t hold back. No one needs a tentative coach or mentor. You are not expected to have all the answers, but what you do know, give it freely with boldness and passion. Your confidence will inspire confidence.
Always tell the truth. You want to do that with grace, but sugarcoating things or avoiding the elephant in the room doesn’t help anyone. Each time you have “the tough conversation,” you may have saved a young leaders future – or at least shaped the trajectory!
Pour your heart into it. In addition to your coaching, get good leadership books in their hands, help them get exposure to other great leaders, and challenge them to next level achievements. Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Make a simple plan for their development by choosing just one or two areas to concentrate on and talk regularly.
- Encourage generously
John still encourages me every time we are together. Even when we are on the phone or he texts me, he always adds an encouraging word. I promise, you can’t do this too much. Encouragement never gets old. Encouragement is like fuel for people, it helps them dig deeper, reach farther and last longer. Your encouragement to those you develop as leaders must be sincere and from the heart. If it is, the impact is profound.
John has written over 50 books and I just published my 3rd. The title is Amplified Leadership, 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime — and you guessed it, it’s about developing leaders. Every time we talk he is crazy excited about my book and encourages the socks off me! John doesn’t talk about his own books, he talks about mine. He’s a true encourager! And in pure Maxwell style, he asks me when will my next book be released and tells me to start writing!!!
There is much more to this topic of developing people with a focus on leadership, but I trust that these thoughts will encourage you to start or keep on developing!!