Leadership is not taught. It is modeled. Therefore, it must be lived out and demonstrated before our very eyes in order to be able to impact followers and those who yearn to be leaders. In other words, it is “caught” and not taught. If it is true that leadership must be modeled, and I believe it is, then it is incumbent upon me to provide information to help you to model mentoring with intentionality.
Mentoring is not a mass production process. Rather, it is done more in the style of an artisan or craftsman who painstakingly creates works of art one at a time over a substantial period of time. Not that we are “creating” a leader. A mentor cannot make a leader out of a person with zero aptitude for leadership. It is akin to the old sports analogy that says: “You can’t coach speed. Either you have it, or you don’t.” A coach can make you faster. But a coach can’t make you FAST. There must be some inherent speed abilities with which the coach can work. Likewise, as mentors, we can’t make our protégés leaders. But, if they are willing to follow and learn, we can make them better leaders tomorrow than they are today.
Mentoring to become an Emotionally Agile Leader is a six-step process with some basic principles undergirding the process. At the very highest level, it can be summarized in the following manner. I will talk about the six steps in a future article. But, for now, let’s look a problem, a need, and the three principles.
The Problem with Mentoring
One of the ways to make the mentoring experience more productive is to address the frequent problem in many mentoring relationships. The problem is that protégés get super excited about mentoring. Often a book is recommended by the mentor and commitments are made to read it faithfully and come together each week to discuss a topic each week based upon the material covered in the assigned chapters. And then life gets in the way. Even the most committed protégés face timing and prioritization challenges.
This is most certainly true of leaders who have existing and ongoing leadership responsibilities. We cannot call a halt or press the “pause” button on life while we work on something that will inevitably make us better. This results in the mentor and the protégé coming together for a session and facing the awkward reality that the protégé has not read the required material. Reasonable discussions on the material are difficult. All that is left to discuss are politics or sports. And that is frustrating for both parties.
The Need for a Tool
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