Diligence is careful and persistent work or effort. It is such an elegant word. When striving for excellence or reaching for success, we should consider our diligence.
Synonyms for diligence include conscientiousness, assiduousness, assiduity, hard work, concentration, care, industriousness, rigor, meticulousness, and thoroughness. Don’t those words represent how you would want your effort to be described? I want to keep that list of words in my wallet. When I get stuck, I can pull it out and find inspiration in those words. Samuel Johnson once said, “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.” Many coaches know that success soon follows diligence.
Last week at an event, I met several new people. One gentleman asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I told him, “I am a coach.” He responded, “Interesting. Who do you coach?” I let him know that most of my clients are business professionals, just like him, but I have also coached CEO’s, VP’s, doctors, business owners, pastors, volunteers, engineers, writers, managers, and students.
“Wow!” he said. “Coaching people with all those backgrounds, how do you know what advice to give?”
I smiled. The most common misconception about coaching just revealed itself again. “That’s where most people miss the point of coaching. A coach doesn’t give advice; a coach asks questions. Powerful questions have the ability to raise your consciousness. Raised consciousness produces new thoughts, new ideas, new options. It allows thinking on a new level and new opportunities for success.”
I then started asking him questions about his profession. I was searching for his boundaries and roadblocks. “Why did you come to this event today? How effective do you find these events? How else could you achieve this purpose? Who is more successful than you in achieving this? What could you learn from them?”
After only five or ten minutes, he was excited because he had some new ideas about how to reach one of his goals. The power of coaching is in the questions that unlock potential. I added, “A coach also provides a level of accountability to follow through on those ideas.” He learned how a coach could help people. Everyone has the opportunity to benefit from having a coach.
Coaches everywhere can have a difficult time with exploring how to have a strong relationship with those who seek their assistance. Like coaching, a mentor-mentee relationship takes time and effort from both sides. Dr. Pragya Agarwal, a contributor for Forbes, discussed how you can ensure that the end result of your time spent coaching and mentoring will end in success. Of the three key factors she listed, one specifically caught my eye.
Respect: This has to be really one of the most important factors in determining the success of a good professional relationship. The mentee has to have a huge amount of respect for the mentor, for their achievements and for their commitment to mentoring, as the mentor is giving their valuable time for mentoring, often voluntarily and for no fees. Mutual respect leads to clearer boundaries that keep the relationship professional and on the right track. It is also important to have a clear idea of respective roles, as well as be aware of any explicit or hidden biases that could potentially affect the relationship.
This is such a major part of any coaching and mentoring relationship. Respect goes both ways in this kind of working relationship between you and those that follow you. You are viewed as a leader and it’s important to show them how much they matter. Your mentees will respect you in return if you give them a reason to respect you in the first place!