“Mentoring Thought Leadership”, is about making a real difference, and commitment to impact professional transformation. —Dr. Janet E. Williams
Recently, I have been thinking deeply about the title of, “Thought Leader” and how this concept has begun to take hold in the professional environment again. It is not a buzzword devoid of real substance, it is as I see it, a considerate and deliberate stance on how ones’ contribution to a knowledge topic is received. As a professional who is passionate and compelled to be a thought leader in mentoring, it is a title I do not take lightly, as I work hard to hone my craft to be deserving of the distinction. The thought leader is a leader with an informed opinion who is the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas, turn ideas into reality, and are known to show how to replicate their success to those they encounter. So, with so many challenges facing individuals along their career continuum, why are there so few thought leaders in mentoring?
How to Recognize the Mentoring Thought Leader
The thought leaders I admire include Ghandi, Maya Angelou, Kahlil Gibran, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bill Gates. These individuals have and continue to change the landscape for how we interact in the world, and their legacy is one that encourages others to join in the struggle beyond their passing.
If you decide that you would like to influence the platform of mentoring, many opportunities will begin to be revealed to you. We speak of the passion surrounding mentoring frequently to remind ourselves that mentoring works, but also to ignite the desire in others to use their gifts to encourage and uplift others along a professional or personal journey. When you move to be a more engaged member of your driving passion, a fundamental transformation will occur within you to seek out and promote your skill set.
You will be drawn to engage in deepened research on the topic, you will keep up to date with best practices, and continuously look for tools to make mentoring programs more effective. My job is to raise the profile and importance of mentoring on not just a local level but to also move the messaging from a national to international level. One should never settle for just an expert to guide a program or impact the key members of your organization. They deserve better, and you deserve to have the most effective and qualified professional guiding your employees’ experience.
Encouraging Thought Leadership in Your Organization
By taking a step back to move your organization forward, there exists an opportunity to identify a topic or service that is closely associated with your brand. Once this work has been performed, you are on a path to identify who among your most talented is equipped to be a champion of this area of expertise.
Entrepreneur Magazine shares that if you, “expose your thought leaders, you begin the process of becoming a social business — real people with real faces talking to real customers and buyers. Other methods to help you redeem the benefits of transforming your employees includes the possibility of expanding your professional and personal networks, increasing self-awareness among your employees and renewing your own enthusiasm, around the work that you do, and the greater impact it can have on others.
Your End Game
Finally, the most important part of the thought leadership exploration is the thinking part. When choosing to be an advocate and champion of a service and area of expertise for your organization, do not look for the easiest application process to get it done.
At Coley & Associates one of our principle philosophies is to move people from good to great. To achieve that process, we believe and invest in the hard work it takes to move people along a continuum. So regardless of the way in which we learn, the personal journey of thought will teach us that there is still much to be done, and the content and context from those within our environment may contribute the most.