Developing Others

By Susan Wright, TCP President

It is a perfect time of year to think about developing others, how we pass along the gifts given to us so that others can benefit.  When we become Leader Coaches, we make a fundamental transition from looking after ourselves to looking beyond ourselves to serve others, appreciating their unique strengths and development edges, and providing the support and challenge necessary for their continued growth.

We do this at work, of course, as we build high-engagement teams in the organization.  And we do it outside of work as well, in our families and communities in a variety of ways.  It is exciting and rewarding to see others learn and grow.  As Leader Coaches, we often find the more we give, the more we receive in terms of finding meaning and life satisfaction.

As we mature, we tend to extend our perspective on developing others beyond our immediate circle to include those whose growth we can serve in the broader environment, those who are disadvantaged or excluded within our wider communities or people who are struggling in other parts of the globe.  By sharing our gifts more expansively, we take a longer-term perspective on development, making an investment in the future of those we support, their families and communities, and the world in general.   We have seen this natural progression from self to others to the world in many Leader Coaches.  It seems a natural process of development in us that is the by-product of reaching out to develop others.

The Coaching Project and our Associates are involved in many of these efforts locally and internationally.  While they all speak to developing others, one clear example is SchoolBOX (www.schoolbox.ca), a small charitable organization dedicated to providing primary school education in Nicaragua, the poorest nation in the Americas, where less than half of all children complete Grade 5.  SchoolBOX was begun in 2006 by one young Canadian in search of a way to contribute.  One day he gave a little girl a pencil and notebook, and realized he had changed her life because she could now go to school.  With vision, dedicated leadership and single-minded persistence, the organization has grown to support 7,000 students in 30 communities around the country with new and renovated school buildings, dental hygiene and sports equipment, as well as those critical school supplies.

As SchoolBOX President Tom Affleck says, “It is so much more than educational supplies; it is instilling hope in children and their communities to have faith in themselves and a brighter future.”  And by using North American students as interns and project volunteers to build schools and raise funds to furnish and equip them, SchoolBOX also develops these young people as leaders with an awareness of the incredible difference they can make, working alongside members of the local community while learning about their country, culture, and language.

As a Leader Coach, how do you develop others?  In what ways do you contribute to the growth of your team, your organization, your family and your community?   How have you felt this pull toward the deep meaning and satisfaction that come from sharing your gifts more broadly in the world?  During this season of joy and connection, let’s take a moment to reflect on our many gifts and how we might use them in developing others.