Empowering You Through Mentoring

Empowering You Through Mentoring Copy

Have you ever had a watershed experience, an experience that inspires an aha moment of insight that calls for you to make a big change in your life?

Such watershed experiences come uninvited and without an attached plan, which initially can shake our foundations because they raise questions about the road we are travelling, questions we previously hadn’t asked ourselves.

When we stop and take those questions seriously, however, and open ourselves up to finding answers, we so often discover in our answers a conviction that inspires us to follow through and make a change.

COVID Created My Watershed Experience

It was the COVID pandemic that presented me with my watershed experience. It was July 2021, 16 months into the pandemic that brought me to my aha moment of insight.

Those first 16 months of COVID had been a rollercoaster ride of invitations to conduct leadership development workshops, only to see them cancelled shortly after because of lockdowns. They were then re-negotiated for a future time when we believed we would be through that latest wave, only to have yet another lockdown and another round of cancellations.

All my work over the previous 19 years had predominantly revolved around conducting face to face workshops, with some coaching and mentoring of leaders and consultative supervision of human service professionals. Between March 2020 and March 2021, however, I only conducted 5 live face to face workshops in between lockdowns.

By choice I decided not to take my work online. I had never seen my workshops as primarily being about communicating knowledge, but rather there was a significant emphasis on learning to BE the leaders they needed to BE through engagement and interacting with one another. I saw myself facilitating the sharing of participants’ ideas as well as the energy of the group. I did not believe I could achieve this via a computer screen and Zoom software, nor initiate the transformative changes I wanted to see in participants. The result of that decision was I lost three quarters of my income.

Moving From Workshops and Training to Mentoring

What I did do, however, was use my networks to raise the profile of my mentoring work, intending to return to conducting professional and leadership development workshops when this pandemic had run its course. Instead what happened, however, was that this pandemic was quite intransigent and my mentoring work took on a momentum of its own.

While much of the mentoring was done on Zoom, in between lockdowns I was able to meet the leaders I was mentoring face to face. Both of us preferred it that way and were ready to adjust our schedules at short notice to make it happen. With workshops and groups such short notice changes were not possible.

Focusing My Future Professional Life On
Empowering Leaders Through Mentoring

It is the sense of empowerment and excitement I have experienced mentoring these highly motivated and committed CEOs and leaders, watching them make changes in their leadership and their professional lives that brought me to my watershed moment. Do I go back to conducting workshops where I am well-known or do I let go of that part of my professional life and spend the rest of it bringing my experience and expertise to my mentoring?

Who Do I Want To Be For The Rest of My Life?

That was the question I asked myself. Do I want to turn a new page in my life? If I did, what would I write on it? Asking the questions became my aha moment of insight. There was no going back to where I was before COVID. I was going to go forward and write a new chapter to my professional life.

I decided I wanted to be a mentor to the kind of highly motivated CEOs, leaders and managers who have sought my expertise, experience and wisdom over the years of my professional life I have been mentoring and coaching.
It has been such a privilege to work with leaders and aspiring leaders in a range of ways over the past 30 years, but the mentoring and coaching I did brought me most fulfillment. It was also where I was able to create most value for people. It has been so exciting to journey with them as step by step they make discoveries about themselves that empower them and catalyse them for action. So many had their own watershed experiences and their own aha moments of insight in the mentoring. That was so exciting for me to share that with them.

To have them come back to the next session having made decisions that previously they didn’t have the confidence to make, even while they had wanted to, was something that’s rarely experienced with people who  participate in workshops. I was witnessing real transformation in people as they experienced these aha moments of insight time and time again. I saw them within 6-12 months overcome doubts and anxieties, find clarity about their skills, talents and abilities, become empowered to be who they wanted to be. They achieved promotions in their work, obtained leadership positions they had aspired to, built personal brands and confidently self-promoted to take them further along the road of their career development.

It was such rewarding work. They would say to me, “I couldn’t have done it without you”. But in a very real sense they did it all themselves. Yes, initially I believed in them more than they believed in themselves. I provided an empowering space which was psychologically safe for them to share their previous fears, anxieties, failures and doubts and to resolve them. I had experienced what they were experiencing and I shared that with them and shared how I came through in case it provided them insight into their own challenge. They valued that I did have much experience and expertise to bring to the process.

But all I contributed to the process was showing them a way. If they didn’t choose to take the journey, if they didn’t persist in jumping every obstacle both from within themselves and from outside, they did not get there. I have had a few people who expect me to change their lives in 3 sessions and when it doesn’t happen they abort the mentoring process.

So the people I have mentored through this pandemic have really done it themselves. I have been the guide on the side, not the sage on their stage. I celebrated every win with them. I am their most supportive cheer squad.

There is no doubt that if you want to advance your career and professional life one of the most effective ways to do it is to invest in mentoring.

In a few short weeks I will be launching my mentoring website and turning this new page in my professional life. If you want to stay in touch sign up to my blog here and join my mailing list.

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