Aug. 31, 2023 - The Partner-based Development Approach… (part 1)

Want to Lead Your Life and Career more Intentionally? - The Partner-based Development Approach… (part 1)

This is a follow-up to my previous article discussing the 3 development approaches to consider to lead a more intentional life and career.

In that previous article:

  • I started by asking if you were content with a life of “being a leaf floating along the Flow of the River of Life” or if you would be more satisfied and fulfilled with a life in which you were “the ONE Leading the Flow of your River of Life” – that is, being more intentional about how you lead your life and career!
  • Then I suggested that the “vessel” that would empower you to be more intentional (to lead yourself) is Professional and Personal Development…
  • And that there were 3 types of development approaches available to us:
    • The “Expert-based” Development Approach, in which the flow of information is from the Expert to you - by the way, have you checked out how often you actually apply that information (or advice), and, when you do, how "motivated" you feel?
    • The “Self-based” Development Approach, a method that only includes YOU, and your knowledge and experiences to date, but without any external input - with this approach, the flow of information goes around "in a circle" in your head… and it’s difficult to expand that circle on your own!
    • The “Partner-based” Development Approach, an interactive and reflective conversation, in which you’re the center of attention, but where the Partner is able to reflect back to you about what you said, to ask you questions you wouldn’t think of asking yourself… which allows you to expand your self-reflection in a way you wouldn’t in your own (self-based approach) or in an expert-based approach…

And it is this “Partner-based” Development Approach that I’m developing further in this article!

It’s all about YOU!

One of the key characteristics of this partner-based approach is that “it’s all about YOU!”:

  • Who you really are: your personality, your strengths, your values, your dreams, your needs and wants, your goals (defined or still very vague), your life experience (not just your career), your knowledge… - It’s not about who others (family, friends, colleagues, managers) think you are, or want you to be…
  • You being the expert in YOU (no one else is – despite what some people may say!): it’s up to you to take responsibility for your life and career, whatever the circumstances you find yourself in (well, except extreme circumstances!).
  • You being Whole (not broken), Resourceful (not inept), Creative (not uninspired): somewhere deep down within you, you have an idea about what it is you ought to be doing, but it may be “blocked” by fear of the unknown, fear of what others will say, fear of failure…
    • Notes: There are times when, as humans, we're / feel broken mentally, spiritually, or physically. And there are times when we don't have the basic resources we need right now. In such circumstances, another approach may be better suited, such as medical, psychological, spiritual, etc. expert-based approaches.
  • You Committing to yourself, Investing in yourself, Holding yourself Accountable:
    • You’ve decided to develop yourself
    • You’ve decided to be more intentional about how you lead your life and career (self-leadership)…
    • You’ve decided to invest in yourself (time, energy, money)…
    • You’ve decided to hold yourself accountable… by putting in the work required to get to where you want to get…

But you’re not on your own!

Wanting to do something else, to try something new, to go on a different path is one thing.

But thinking you have to do it all (like going through changes and difficult times) on your own, without support nor help, without anyone alongside you, makes it a lot harder to start doing it, and can even be very scary!

And that’s the “beauty” of the partner-based approach: it’s about you, but with a Partner to support you, to be alongside you, to empower you throughout your development – which can be seen as a discovery journey…

A Partner who:

  • Is an “equal” to you, allowing for an equal-to-equal conversation.
  • Provides you with the space to develop and express your thoughts in whatever shape or form they come out of your mind, to structure these thoughts while processing them out aloud, to clarify these thoughts…
  • Fully listens to you, and not just listening to your words, but to your whole persona; and certainly not listening just enough to reply! – When is the last time this happened to you?
  • Shows curiosity and interest in your thinking process, in your thoughts, in what you have to say…
  • Asks you questions you wouldn’t think of asking yourself – which is why we often get stuck with one perspective, one vision, and are unable to expand our thoughts just on our own - allowing for new perspectives, or mindset shifts, to show up… expanding our thoughts!
  • Doesn’t judge you for having a great, or not-so-great idea; for thinking differently to most people; for finding it difficult to deal with something that others may not see as a problem; etc.
  • Reflects back on what you said… because we often don’t notice “contradictions” in what we say, or changes in the tone of our voice or in our attitude, etc., but others are more likely to!
  • Supports you in holding yourself accountable – because it can be hard to hold ourselves accountable on our own!

You’re having a “true” 2-way interactive conversation

As a result, you’re now having a “true” (equal-to-equal) 2-way interactive conversation about YOU!

And this conversation facilitates / activates:

  • The expansion of your self-reflection;
  • The development of your own self-awareness;
  • The disruption of your “standard” thought process;
  • Changes to your mindset, to your perspectives… and to your own self-leadership…

… in a way you wouldn’t in your own (self-based approach) or in an expert-based approach (which “guides” you toward a “way of doing things”)…

… Like an “elastic band” that gets stretched and then gets back to its original shape (or so it seems…), but that, over time, becomes looser and looser… until it ends up with a very different shape (and size)!

This reminds me of this quote

“As a thinking partner, you expand peoples’ capacity to learn and grow. You don’t problem solve, you coach people to break through barriers and see themselves and their situations in new ways – giving the gift of clarity and inspiring the confidence to act!” – Marcia Reynolds (COVISIONING)

The more I reflect on what I want to write here, the more I want to say… but I think that would be too much for one article… so I’ll continue writing about this partner-based development approach in a future article…

But, in the meantime…

I’d love to hear back from you!

  • What do you think of this partner-based approach to professional and personal development?
  • What resonates the most with you in this approach? And why is that?
  • What is this article inspiring you to do?