As you become more aware of how powerfully and naturally you can develop your self, by working from the inside out, by standing in the centre of your self-perceptions and working from your core potential, it’s natural that you may find yourself wanting to help others to develop their potential as well. The fundamental challenge in trying to develop other people is the misconception that you need to fix them in some way so that they can fully realise their potential. It can be tempting to assume that everyone else is simply an imperfect copy of you that just needs a bit of tweaking and fixing in order to work properly.
This simplistic approach to developing another person, where you view them as a project to be fixed, can often lead to a fundamental disconnection between you both because it seems that the more that you try to help them, to fix them, the more that their behaviours diverge from the ideals that you have been prescribing. This outside-in approach is used by many coaches and mentors, where they try to fix their client’s behaviours as a way of avoiding engaging with their own development tensions. The client then becomes a proxy for the coach’s own development and no matter how well the client is doing, it is never good enough because the coach never actually engages with their own tensions.
Instead of working from the outside-in and unconsciously trying to change yourself by changing someone else, it is far more effective to develop another person by working from the inside-out, by connecting their inner world with your inner world. Rather than prescribing ideal behaviours when helping another person to develop, working from the inside-out involves asking powerful questions and creating meaningful conversations that really connect your inner worlds. As you step into these questions and conversations with another person, it can be easy to avoid any tension that emerges, simply quoting platitudes, euphemisms and jargon to each other.
So when I work with you to help you in developing other people, I show you how to positively engage with those tensions that will inevitably emerge along interpersonal boundaries between your mutual inner worlds. By identifying and naming those tensions, owning them and understanding your mutual contribution to them, and working with the choices that they offer, you actually create a stronger developmental connection between you, where you healthily use those tensions rather than trying to avoid them.
The reality is that to consistently and successfully develop other people, you have to work with that dynamic connection between you, which means that you also have to be continually developing yourself. The more skill that you are asking questions of yourself and developing your own self, the more purposeful and inspiring you will be asking questions of other people as you help them develop themselves.
When I work with you to develop other people, we work with those dynamic flowing connections, those feedforward–feedback loops, that enable you to ask the powerful questions and create the inspiring conversations that will really make a difference in your connections with other people. As we work with these interpersonal boundaries and navigate the tensions, which emerge, exist and evolve, you will find that you are not only developing another person but also developing a profounder understanding of your self.