Will You Step Up?

My recent posts have been about looking out for the one, being willing to invest in one person in that apprentice style role. However, this is about the other side of this opportunity…

Who will be the one who wants to be invested in?

Lots of people want success, want to progress but are not wanting to learn. The opportunity is there but not all are willing to do what it takes to own it. There’s risk in being the one who invests in others. There is risk in being the one who wants to be invested in too. Perhaps that’s why some people back off from putting themselves in this position.

Step up. Grab a hold of the chance to learn. Be listening. Ask questions. Put yourself in the world of someone who can teach you. Just never stop being someone who wants to learn.

Will you be one of those who steps up?

The Apprentice Rule

I was reminded about this recently from a number of different sources ~ who is my apprentice? Who am I investing my life in to, pouring my life in, spending time with so that they can learn from me. Not just words, books or articles but through experience and opportunity to.

When we write our story too often we want to be the protagonist, the main character, the hero. Instead we should place ourselves in the role of the guide, the one that this character looks for, the one to learn from, the one who can help make sense and bring order from the chaos.

Play this role. Find someone who can be the hero, the one who has the potential to go beyond your own achievements, that certain individual who just needs the right voice, challenge and encouragement to help see that potential fulfilled.

So question yourself. Who is my apprentice? Who is the learner in my world? Then ask yourself, when was the last time you purposefully sat with them and spoke any words of wisdom to them? When was the last time you included them?

If we all did this for one we would soon have a sea of champions, not just willing but ready and able to bring the change, the dream, the vision, their adventure to fruition. What a privilege to help make this happen.

Who are you doing this for? Who did/does this for you?

5 Tips for Being a Great Mentor

It seems a long time ago since I was a employed as a Learning Mentor in a local school. My role was to meet with students who had a high academic ability but for different reasons were not performing at that level. My mentoring role was very specific – help them get back on track.

It was a challenge. How to re-engage disinterested students? It was about finding that one thing that would create a spark, which could ignite a desire to improve. It was also about helping them work out their own plan for their future, to definitely not be just another teacher telling them what.

Good leaders learn the skill of being a mentor, a coach, an accountability partner. We often find ourselves as the person who keeps an individual moving forward, giving them a friendly or not so friendly kick up the butt when needed. We are that person who asks the critical questions, someone who has a strong desire to bring out the best in them.

Here a 5 things to remember before you put yourself forward as a mentor:

You are a role model. It’s not just about when you sit down and chat with them. All of your life will speak to them. Be careful to not reduce your impact by acting in a contrary way to how you are encouraging them to live.

You need to be able to listen well. It can be difficult to not just give them the answers but a good mentor/coach has to learn to enjoy awkward silences, giving time for thought and for them to work out the solution for themselves.

You need to have a genuine concern for them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care [John Maxwell]. You cannot fake this for long. If you are not genuine, people will see straight through you.

You need to be able to help them see the future. It’s not about your plan for their future. Good mentors lay out the options and let those they are mentoring find take the path best for them.

You must be able to ask them the difficult questions. A good mentor knows when to back off and say nothing, yet at the right time they also know when to confront. It’s not the easiest role to undertake but the rewards can be quite incredible.

Who could you mentor? How could you invest in another person, helping them to discover the best version of themselves?

The Vision Challenge

Was out yesterday doing some filming. Its the first time I’ve ever done stuff like that for use within a service at Xcel Church Darlington in a few weeks. Goodness knows what it will look like. Despite thinking very carefully about what I wanted to say I felt like I completely rambled and made no sense at all.

When I talk about vision – I don’t lack passion. Those listening will definitely know that I mean what I say.

When I talk about vision – I believe in it. Vision is powerful and in my opinion essential. More important though is what you do with that vision – that is the difference. Anyone can dream but not everyone fulfils it.

That’s the challenge. That’s a challenge for me right now. I have new ventures I am excited about, I have big dreams for them but words are nothing if I don’t act on them. I am as determined as ever to give it my best shot.

A friend asked me if I could have made any money from the coaching & mentoring I am looking to offer in schools during the past month. That’s one of those great questions you don’t want to be asked. If I’m honest, yes I could have but I didn’t. I had excuses, legitimate ones in my view but on reflection a little weak.

I am in the midst of the challenge that vision brings. I will make it to the other side.