During my usual 50 minute morning commute to school, I was listening to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. They talked about leaders developing other leaders, but then John said something that really got me thinking: leaders don’t necessarily make other leaders but rather, they FIND other leaders.
I needed to put my thinking into words, so here is what I wrote on Twitter:
A leader does not “make” another leader. A leader discovers another leader, sheds light on what is already inside them, and walks the same path to help them develop their skills.
This brings me back to the heart of my purpose as a leadership coach. I really believe that everyone can be a leader in some way, shape, or form. When I talk with clients and colleagues, I will often tell them that they already have what it takes somewhere inside them, that they need to find it, then sharpen their skills and develop an action plan. I also tell them that I am right there beside them to walk the same path as they are walking, take the same amount of steps, up and down the hills, all along that winding road. I am there to help them see different perspectives, to consider things that they had not yet considered. It has been often said that growth is found outside our comfort zone, and this is very true. As a leadership coach, I am there to help people become comfortable being uncomfortable, to stretch their boundaries, and to discover their potential.
When I think about the work that I do as a coach, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that this is my calling. But here is the best part: the work that I do with others allows me to constantly be the best version of myself. You see, being a coach – walking the same path as the other – not only benefits the person being coached. It also allows me to see different perspectives, to consider things that I had not yet considered. And guess what? This makes me stretch my leadership muscle. It keeps me growing, allowing me to keep adding value to others.
So when people ask me “What is it that you do as a leadership coach?”, I simply explain to them how I am an explorer, always looking to find the leadership seed inside each person I meet, and help it to grow.