Is coaching or mentoring meant only for newly appointed leaders? While commanding and instructing being the domain of seasoned leaders? Absolutely not.
The greatest impediment in a leader’s life is his own success! The very determination and persistence that helps achieve success degenerates into stubbornness that resists advice.
In practice, the need for being mentored is in direct proportional to the speed and height of growth. Although a leader can definitely go fast on his own, but the type of guidance he gets determines whether he can go further. The older one gets in leadership, greater is the need for getting coached on subtle aspects of leadership.
One requires not only determination to remain unaffected by criticism but also humility to accept suggestions gracefully. Leadership pride makes one un-coachable. The realisation that learning and leading are inseparable helps one cross the bridge between achieved greatness and achievable greatness.
In the Mahabharata, Arjuna submitted himself to different coaches at different times in his life. His first tutor was his father Pandu who taught him how not to compromise higher principles for lower ones.
Then came his mother Kunti who taught him the efficacy of unity even amidst the greatest of turbulences in life. Next was guru Drona who instructed him in martial skills. After that walked in Narada, who imparted a set of principles to sustain his atypical marriage with Draupadi.
Then Dhaumya trained him to survive mentally and physically during the harsh exile period. Last but not the least was Krishna who mentored him on all subtle aspects of life leadership that no one else could have taught him; that too during the most confusing and challenging moments of Arjuna’s life.
As a leader you may be good. But without a mentor’s inputs, you may never be the best you can be. Others may reaffirm what you already proudly know about yourself but a coach points out what you sadly don’t know about yourself. And what you don’t know about yourself can effectively put a lid on your leadership ability.
In the long run, leadership is more about adaptation than talent; about discernment between when to stand steady like a rock and when to flow like a malleable river.
So allow a coach to walk into your life and lift up your lid for deeper evaluation. Reshape your leadership mould from being “the best” to being “your best”.