Mentoring with ‘Out of the Box’ Strategies

Mentoring with Out of the Box Strategies

This morning, sitting on our front porch, listening to the wind chimes, sipping a cup of coffee, I was engaged in one of my favorite daily activities. I love reading science fiction fantasy and I was again savoring the work of Robert Jordan in his epic undertaking of the Wheel of Time. And then it happened. When I read, a sentence jumps out at me in relation to my work in the world.

“You aren’t just changing a few things, you’re rebuilding the boat while sailing a storm. Everything is changing!”

And I thought that this was such a great quote to use when mentoring leaders and consultants tackling organizational or project transformation. I wrote it down in the journal that I keep for recording my ah ha’s and oh no’s in relation to leadership and organizational development.

Oh yes, it is true, even with my deep love of fiction books, I always have one track of my focus in a treasure hunt, looking for my own insights related to my work. Hence, I keep a journal specifically for recording what shows up for me in this track of noticing. I have journals full of these insights garnered from fiction books, from conversations, from reading the signs on trucks on the highway, from reading billboards and more. It always amazes me to discover how many insights into leadership and organizational development are available all around me, every day.

In mentoring sessions, when clients ask me to recommend a book for their development, I usually don’t recommend the latest best book in the business section. Often, I recommend fiction books. I recommend keeping a journal nearby for note taking. As they read the book, I encourage the person that I am mentoring to develop their capacity for:

  1. noticing
  2. accessing personal ah ha’s and oh no’s
  3. being curious
  4. being surprised
  5. being delighted
  6. being inspired
  7. engaging in play, and to experience the treasure hunt

You may be surprised what growing your capacity in this way can do for your leadership. Give it a go! And when someone sees you reading the fiction book when you should be ‘working’, simply say it is part of your leadership development homework!

What ‘out of the box’ tips do you have that you use when mentoring someone, or that you have experienced when being mentored?

Photo by N. on Unsplash

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Birgitt Williams is an international management and organizational solutions consultant, author, meeting facilitator, teacher, keynote speaker and executive coach. Her business focus is to create inspiring work environments that are highly effective in achieving their purpose and fulfilling their vision.

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