Thursday, March 27

Great Leaders Need Great Mentors

All great leaders need a great mentor to guide, share, and be a sounding board. A mentor is someone who has "been there, and done that" and now owns the T-shirt! When approaching someone to mentor you, make sure that person has been through similar experiences and can be a voice of knowledge and wisdom.

A page from one of my mentors, Dr. John Maxwell's book, Developing the Leaders Around You.

When you find someone who can personally mentor you, use these guidelines to help develop a positive mentoring relationship with that person:

1. Ask the right questions. Give thought to the questions you will ask before your time with your mentor. Make the questions strategic for your growth.

2. Don't let ego get in the way of learning.

3. Respect the mentor but don't idolize him/her. Making the mentor an idol removes your critical faculty for adapting a mentor's knowledge and experience to yourself.

4. Put into effect immediately what you are learning.

5. Be disciplined in relating to the mentor. Arrange for ample time, select the subject matter in advance, and do your homework to make sessions profitable.

6. Don't threaten to give up. Let your mentor know that you have made a decision for progress, so your mentor will know it's not a waste of time.


I mentor young women in the spiritual arena and can share my experiences with them. I know we are a great match when their story sounds so much like my own story from the past.

I am able to journey with another woman beginning her journey along the same road. It it not only an honor and a privilege to be a mentor, but it is also a chance to recheck my own journey. I also listen to the mentee's visions and dreams and re-evaluate my own. Then I can check in with my own mentor with fresh, new ideas.

Mentoring has so many rewards -- for both the mentor and the mentee. To be a great leader, one must have a great mentor. So, go out and find a great person to walk with you on the success journey!

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Friday, March 21

Being a Disciplined Leader

“Half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.” ~ Carl Zuckmeyer

"With self-discipline most anything is possible." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Being a disciplined leader from The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player by Dr. John Maxwell

Discipline is doing what you really don't want to do, so that you can do what you really want to do. It's paying the price in the little things so that you can buy the bigger thing.

Disciplined leaders must possess . . .

1. Disciplined Thinking: You can't get far in life if you don't use your head. If you keep your mind active and regularly take on mental challenges, you will develop the kind of disciplined thinking that will help you with whatever you endeavor to do.

2. Disciplined Emotions: People have just two choices when it comes to their emotions: they can master their emotions or be mastered by them. You shouldn't let your feelings prevent you from doing what you should or drive you to do things you shouldn't.

3. Disciplined Actions: Sharpening your mind and controlling your emotions are important, but they can take you only so far. Action is what separates the winners from the losers. Your actions always reflect your degree of discipline.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, March 12

Leadership Is Influence

Dr. John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” I share this article from the Center of Creative Leadership on power versus influence. Enjoy!

There's a difference between leadership and power. Successful executives know that difference and lead their teams more effectively because of it. Unfortunately, many executives on the rise in an organization forget the leadership skills and contacts that put their careers on track in the first place.

That way, leaders can build their teams and organization in such a way that their assets and liabilities complement each other.

For example, it's one of the myths of effective leadership that power alone can help an executive or a company achieve goals.

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership shows that as executives advance in a company, they begin to blur the lines between leadership, power and influence. They see themselves as more intelligent and capable than those around them in the organization. They see people who agree with them as more capable, intelligent, and ethical than those who might disagree.

The result? Executives get affirmation from a small, expected group, which inflates their idea of how powerful and influential they are among the people who work with them. Their influence becomes constricted, and their leadership erodes. Some people overtly use power to accomplish their goals, says CCL's Pete Hammett, who is also the author of "Unbalanced Influence." He says others become used to having tools of power, such as the ability to dictate and set agendas.

Over time, that access to power distorts an executive's influence in the organization. They may have the title and power, but their disenfranchised team members won't see them as an effective leader. Those with different opinions choose to remain silent. Or they leave. With them, they take away a whole range of ideas.

The CCL and Hammett recommend that executives calibrate their spheres of influence and see whether their team members perceive them as leaders or merely as suits with powerful titles.
Here are three ways to proceed:

No. 1: Find and listen to other voices. A leader should keep in touch with new ideas and fresh perspectives. If all you're hearing is one voice, then invite others to the conversation. And let them know you really want to hear them.

No. 2: Find a sparring partner. Find someone who's comfortable and capable of taking an opposing point of view. That doesn't mean you should seek out every malcontent in an operation. It means you should find someone who is intelligent, thoughtful and open to tackling a discussion from an opposing view. Don't be seen as a leader who refuses to listen to different ideas. Or, worse, one who penalizes people for suggesting them.

No. 3: Leadership can be cultivated, but only in a self-aware person. Sign up for a leadership program. Get some feedback that assesses your leadership style. Make a point to hold a mirror up to your conversations and interactions within your organization. Only by seeing themselves through others' eyes can executives go from someone who holds power to someone who leads.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn