How a mentor can teach you courage

woman team leaderThank you, a rock star coaching client emailed me after a recent session. “It was really nice talking to you, as always.” Mostly, she wanted to elaborate on a comment I had made, about how I admire her courage. “I think I learned courage from my mentor,” she wrote. (Let’s call my client “Carol.”)  “My courage scale went from 20% to 65% in the last six years I worked with her.”

It takes courage to have clarity.

I was curious to learn more, so I wrote back, asking her to elaborate on how she learned courage from her mentor. Here’s what Carol replied:

“Learning about courage with Edith came from lots of lunch discussion.  She is a good listener, and she is naturally a tough person and has done a lot in her professional life.  We also have a lot of similarity in background and values, so she had empathy to help me out. (Just recently, she told me that her daughter and I are very much alike). We now talk about stuff in life as well, and I am happy to reverse mentor sometimes.

Things that were helpful in those lunch discussions:

  1. She shared with me about her own career path, how she overcame challenges, and made tough choices.
  2. She encouraged me to talk directly to senior executives, and how to do it.
  3. She always reminded me: If I don’t ask for it, I won’t get it.
  4. She pursued the best case scenario: don’t let negative emotions get into my head.”

And finally, Carol — rock star that she is — made a fresh link for me between courage and clarity: “I learned clarity from you, Ann.  It is a very powerful skill to see things clearly, and be honest with ourselves. It takes courage to have clarity.”

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