Learning To Inspire Others

How To Become A Great Mentor or Leader

By Habib Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder
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How To Become A Great Mentor or Leader: Some Basic Concepts

If you want to begin to think about or prepare for a more formal role as a weight loss coach, fitness instructor or teacher of any sort, start to think about how you have interacted with people on PEERtrainer. What has worked, what hasn't? The following is a very rough outline of some of the basic principles of leadership. The framework is modeled after the work of Stephen Denning.

All sorts of people teach leadership, but what is amazing is how the basic principles are usually very similar. Basic character traits like respect, understanding, and being a good role model and listener are all important.

Learning to empower and inspire, things people do routinely on PEERtrainer are essential to the basics of leadership. Here is a list of some more ideas, a specific sequence to follow to get people to actually act in their own interest. Something that is often very very difficult.

"Why Won't You Just Listen To Me?!"

Telling someone to do something has an uncanny knack of not working. Sometimes you have to show not tell. And sometimes you have to trick them!!! If someone believes something firmly, trying to reason with them may only lead to them digging in deeper and questioning your authority as a leader or motivator.

This is called "confirmation bias", where people hear an opposing argument or something they don't want to hear and assume something is wrong with the source. This is a classic psychological phenomenon.

So when you start working with people or interacting with people in your groups and teams, gauge the people you are with and try and avoid triggering confirmation bias in people who may not be open to an idea. Generally great leaders seek to understand before they seek to be understood.

Avoid analyzing the problem and then recommending a solution. This is what everyone does, and it fails to work in an overwhelming manner. When people are open to getting information, this can work. But you need to really test and see if someone is truly open.

That test is pretty simple- if the person responds enthusiastically and does it, you are in business. If they gently question the idea- keep working to understand them and making them feel understood to preserve the communication channel. Remember the context- getting people to change a behavior is extremely difficult.

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