One of the most powerful, yet most underestimated, ways to inspire growth in others is through equipping relationships. Equipping relationships are any kind of growth-focused relationship such as coaching, mentoring, discipling, or small groups. These relationships help people close their growth gaps by equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to maximize their potential. In the same way that equipping relationships were likely an essential part of your personal growth, you can also be an equipper for others.
Take coaching for example. Before you completely check out and dismiss yourself as “non-coach material” let me explain.
A coach is someone who provides assessment, insight, and motivation.
Now think about those three things as they relate to one of your close friendships. Have you ever helped a friend gain perspective by asking them a few clarity-boosting questions—questions that helped them cut through the fog surrounding their situation and think more clearly? If so, you’ve provided assessment.
After listening and helping them gain some perspective, did you ask your friend a few more questions that helped them come up with a solution to their problem or even led to an “aha” moment in their life? If so, then you’ve stimulated insight. And when things got tough for your friend, did you come along side them with an encouraging word that affirmed your belief in them? If so, then you’ve provided motivation. Essentially, you took A.I.M. at their potential and carried out the three functions of a coach: Assessment, Insight, and Motivation.
So why couldn’t you do that same thing for people around you who want to grow and need your help? That doesn’t mean you’re the “expert” life coach with the answers to all of life’s problems. I like to coach people, but I’ll also readily admit in which areas I have no business coaching people. I have the greatest coaching equity in my areas of strength…and so do you. Look for two or three areas in your life where you have passion and where you’ve honed your skills and acquired valuable experience. Then ask yourself, “How can I use this mix of strengths as a springboard to equip—or invest in—somebody else?”
When you’re intentional about growing yourself and building trust with people, opportunities will emerge to equip others. It might be over lunch with a co-worker, in an annual review with an employee, in a small group with other Christ followers, or through a meaningful connection with your children. In a world where growth-focused encouragement is a rare commodity, most people are more than willing to receive some extra confidence-building support from somebody who cares.
As you gain experience, why not make the role of an equipper part of your own growth plan. Identify a book or two that will help you understand how to invest in people or equip them to succeed. You might even participate in a leadership workshop, or if you’re really aggressive, look for a coaching certification program. Then, as you ratchet up your skills, seek out more intensive equipping relationship. For example:
- Employees – Meet once a month with a new employee to discuss sticking points, help them get adjusted, or to coach them in their new role.
- Volunteers – Meet with a volunteer (in the church or community) to help them refine their skills, learn their role, or assume greater responsibility.
- New Followers of Christ – Meet a new believer once a week for prayer, Bible study, and accountability.
- Students – Mentor a student in a new skill or help a college senior put together a resume.
- Small Groups – Form a small group and focus on personal growth in a shared area of interest.
Entrepreneur and author Regi Campbell took the opportunity seriously to inspire growth in others. As a young Christian, Regi and his wife volunteered to lead a singles ministry in their church. It grew rapidly, and before long Regi was consumed with meetings as he invested in single men who were looking for practical advice. Feeling exhausted and wearing himself ragged, Regi heard Tim Elmore, an author and speaker committed to investing in young leaders, make this statement: “More time with fewer people equals greater kingdom impact.” That phrase started a journey for Regi that culminated in what he calls Next Generation Mentoring.
Since 2000, Regi has strategically invited a group of eight young business executives to join him at his home for a mentoring experience. The group meets once per month for twelve months and is committed to reading books, sharing their takeaways, memorizing Scriptures, praying together, and holding one another accountable. His mentoring process isn’t rocket science. It’s simply a clear strategy Regi has developed to leverage his personal growth to impact younger leaders.
In 2009, Regi published his ideas in a book titled, Mentor Like Jesus. He records the names of each of his mentees in his book and then he makes this observation:
In the past eight years, I’ve intentionally mentored sixty-four guys. Most report that they have a deeper, more meaningful walk with Jesus than they did before the next generation mentoring experience. They are disciples…learners and followers of Jesus. To my knowledge none have fallen away. All are still married. All are involved in a church. All are attempting to raise their kids in the faith. And from what I can tell, they are, to varying degrees, walking with God. (Mentor Like Jesus, 2009, p. 12)
These sixty-four men have grown as a result of Regi’s influence. He simply took his knowledge in the areas where he has grown the most, and intentionally invested it into a group of guys whom he was best equipped to help. He saw their potential, understood their needs, and knew what kind of deposit he could withdraw and invest into their lives. As a result, he’s helped start a personal growth revolution in 64 men.
You can do the same thing Regi did. Maybe it won’t be a mentoring group, but you can take the areas where you’ve grown the most and use them to impact somebody else. Each one of us has influence—even if only with a small handful of people. You might influence your family, a small group of friends, or even an entire division in your company. The question isn’t “how many” but “how intentionally.” How intentionally are you helping others grow? Are you using your influence to deliberately unlock peoples’ potential? When you do, you’ll experience the power of the Impacting Level.
Question: What step can you take to begin inspiring growth in others this week?
This post was adapted from my book, GO! Starting a Personal Growth Revolution. You can order a copy in my store here or on Amazon or Kindle. GO! is also available from Barnes & Noble. For bulk orders, email me here.