Helping Others Develop Their Potential
Most of us find ourselves in a position to help others achieve more of their potential than we realize. Sure, as leaders, supervisors, and parents we can see ourselves in that position; but the fact is that all of us are uniquely qualified to help at least one other person in our lives reach their potential. I believe it is part of our purpose in life to serve others in this way - to encourage and support people we care about in becoming their best selves.
Many books (some of which sit on my bookcases) have been written about coaching and helping people develop their skills. This article won't be a definitive list, but it will share my perspective on the essential ingredients in helping others reach their potential.
Help Them See
The first step in developing the potential in others is for the "others" to recognize that they have potential and to know for themselves what it is! We've already talked about his but you can't forget it - it is a critical step. Our goal should be to help them get where they want to go - even if their vision is slightly different from ours.
Potential is about passion. If people don't have passion for the future they see, they are much less likely to get there (and likely it isn't the right future!)
Be Them Focused
Many years ago I had a manager who saw great things in my future. He was very supportive of helping me reach his vision. While I will always be grateful to him for seeing potential in me, I continue to shake my head at his approach. He never wanted to know what I saw for myself and my future, instead, he assumed I would want to become what he saw for me. Even when I tried to explain to him that our visions didn't match, he focused on providing me opportunities and support that were right for his vision, not mine.
Remember that you are helping people reach their potential, helping them discover their agenda and goals. This is not a platform for you to exert your influence based on your belief in them or your vision for them.
Yes, if you are a supervisor or manager you may have organizational goals you hope this person can achieve. Be upfront about those goals, and look for the matches with the person's passions and unique abilities. Perhaps there is a perfect fit, or maybe the best thing you can do for everyone is help the person move into a new or different role inside or outside of the organization.
To truly serve others in this way we must keep this process completely about them, and not our best judgment, our agenda or our vision for them.
As a developer of potential our role is to draw the answers from others. Too often we want to share our wisdom and advice. We will be more effective when we spend less time talking and more time asking and listening. Ask people questions about their passions, their ideas regarding their greatest areas of potential, and about the other areas in this article.
Ask questions without bias and questions that encourage the other person to think. Then be patient and keep your mouth shut after you ask. Your only job then is to listen.
Help Them Set Goals
All of us know the value of goal setting, but many of us don't do it very well or very consistently on our own. We can guide and encourage people to set them. We can help them define and clarify these goals through the questions we ask. Help people describe their current situation then set goals that will stretch them from their current reality towards their potential.
Use your questioning skills throughout this process and encourage people to write their goals down.
Help Them Identify Options and Opportunities
As a part of the goal setting process, people should begin to identify some options to help them reach the goal. Here is where you can begin to provide more direct advice. Perhaps you have experience that you can share to help them identify approaches they can use. Perhaps if you are in the role of a supervisor, you can offer specific training or learning experiences to help them.
At least as important though, is that you are now in a unique position to help them in the future because you know their goals and their vision. As time goes by you will be become aware of situations, courses, lectures, books, people and all manner of other things that will help that person advance towards their goals. Make sure you share those ideas and opportunities with them.
If we want to help people reach their potential, we know they need support. They need encouragement, advice and even feedback.
You expected me to mention feedback, and it is very important. Sometimes though, people have more feedback than they want or need. What they are often lacking is encouragement. Be a person who is supportive, interested and encouraging and you will provide great value to others.
Be a Model
Want to help others reach their potential? The most important thing you can do is be on that same path for yourself. Model the behaviors you are encouraging in them. Have your own development goals. Be a willing and eager learner. Be open and flexible to new opportunities yourself.
You will have much greater influence and much more success in developing others if you are serious about developing yourself first.
Taken individually each of the suggestions above can be a powerful aid to you in helping others reach their potential. Taken together they will astound both you and those you are helping. The best way to apply these ideas is to get started. Identify at least one of these suggestions that you will implement today.
Getting started is often the toughest step. Seeing the success that comes with action will encourage you to continue. Doing it (rather than just shaking your head and agreeing with these ideas) will be both gratifying and life changing - to those you are helping and to you too!
Follow these steps and you are on your way to unleashing the massive potential in others.
I wish you great success.
© 2004, All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/current.asp to read the current issue and subscribe. Kevin is also President of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You may contact Kevin at toll free 888.LEARNER.
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What you are about to read may be found in the Bible but it also applies to your professional life.Most leaders neglect to provide a statement of vision to the people they lead and when a vision is presented it usually lacks any vitality or inspirational value.
7 AAA Ways To Succeed!
[Abounding Abundant Ample Ways To Boost Your Growth!] This may come as a surprise but there are reliable,effective and powerful ways to improve your ability to learnnew things. If you will allow me to use leadership skills training asour example, you will see how poor learning forces us tosuffer through any one or more of the following problems: - leadership training programs usually cost serious money -in fact, some programs are outrageously expensive - leadership training programs last for a very short time -quite a few of them run for only one or two days - many leadership training programs fail to give studentsways to confidently resolve problem situations or meet andovercome their daily challenges - less than 1% of all leadership training programs combinecoaching and mentoring follow-ups with classroom lessons - most leadership training programs like to do 'raw datadumps'- the vast majority of them do NOT give you chances to'blend' your learning experiences with supervised support orpractical feedback In this article you will discover how to find, use and takeadvantage of every kind of performance improvement learningopportunity you encounter.
Top Skills Of Extraordinary Leaders
1. Good Communicator.
The Sink Or Swim Approach To Leadership
Looking around in most corporate environments today you'll find mission, vision and values statements proudly displayed on the walls, in print materials and even engraved in granite. Often, they've invested a great deal of time; effort and expense in crafting just the right message to best describe the foundational principles of the company.
Asking for Help
For many of us, asking for help is a difficult concept. It can require a certain amount of vulnerability.
Leadership: Wisdom of the Ages
If you gather 100 experienced leaders together to share with you their most important secrets for success, you probably wouldn't hear a lot of academic theory or jargon. Instead, this is a good idea of what you'd hear:1) Put ethics first.
Effective Leaders are (#1) Conceptual
SEE INTO THE FUTURE CREATIVELY AND PRACTICALITY: Planning day-to-day is obviously important, but a good leader must be able to see the long-range picture, to know the history of the organization and have a sense of the direction in which it is traveling. Effective leaders always have the long-range picture in mind as they plan laterally.
None of Us Arrived with an Owners Manual: A Fresh Perspective on the Drive to Lead (part 2)
Why didn't I get an Owner's ManualAfter a little while with life happening and no sign of the Manual we began to realize we would need to make the best of it. We began to look around to see who had one and studied what they knew, surely some of it must be generic! We began to study our parents, our siblings - if they looked competent enough, and our other care givers.
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