It’s a question I get maybe once or twice a year…

Of those who ask some actually stick around… A relationship is formed of mutual sharpening, hopefully squarely upon the shoulders of the mentee, but I would argue there are benefits to the giver and the receiver alike.

…and some don’t really stick around. They desire someone to give them some good ideas, support, encouragement, prayer even and who knows if you’ll ever see them again…

When it comes to actually doing something with that hour spent, when it comes to actually heeding the wisdom and advice shared… shoot, when it comes to just even showing up for the meeting-things become a little less certain.

After the last couple years without a plan, I’ve finally tried to add some boundaries and definitions around what we’re getting into when we agree to a coaching, training, or developing relationship.

Well before I get into those structures and expectations there is one thing that sets the stage for the whole deal and that’s: mastering the art of “the ask.” Read this previous post if you haven’t, because it sets the whole stage for talking about commitments in a 1:1 personal development context.

Commit to consistent meeting

Before concluding the meeting we have to agree how often we are going to meet. It’s not about the time, day and all the tactical details at this point. But why wouldn’t you at least understand the basic frequency of what we’re talking about here? I suggest for almost all situations 1/month.

Commit to intentional meeting

Before concluding the meeting, I ask them to commit to “leading up” in a way, which is putting the onus on them to pursue me when it comes to communications and setting up meetings.

I tell most people, listen: if you send me an email requesting a meeting; if you are standing there with your phone out saying, ‘I’m open, I’m free, I’m willing and I’m making the time because it matters’ then I almost always promise them that my response and commitment to finding a meeting time is as good as gold.

A person could grab me in passing and say, ‘hey when are we going to meet up, man?’ 15 weekends in a row, but until they actually get their phone/calendar out and say I’m ready let’s go, I’m not buying it.

Commit to tough questions

At this point in my life, more than ever, I believe in the centrality of this statement: great leaders live for tough questions…firing them off and taking them like champs. 

Influence and impact can only come through the road of tough questions. And there will always be a moment of truth (or several) in your exchange with a mentee that if you don’t capitalize on them you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Tough questions are the road to growth. Tough questions are the gracious and loving call out. Tough questions are the seeds of accountability and progress.

Commit to pay it forward

As a leader you should always carry the burden of multiplication. If what you’re doing, if the work you’ve committed to being a part of within someone else’s life never goes beyond you and them, then you’ve missed one heck of an opportunity.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you believe in “discipleship,” evangelism, or spreading the good news to a greater and greater circle of people, every leader ought to have at least two core convictions about themselves:

  1. that what’s inside them (how they care, think, see) is worth multiplying and 2. what we commit to doing could always reach more.

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