Simply put, mentoring others and having access to purposeful mentors is an important part of personal and professional development. When I think about mentors in my life, many different people come to mind. I have been lucky to work with a variety of mentors that all offer unique skills and come from different backgrounds.
Some of my favorite memories and teachings are from my coaching mentor, Kathy Harman, MCC, CMM. I met Kathy about seven years ago at an International Coaching Federation (ICF) meeting in Richmond. I was instantly impressed with her positive energy, organization and ability to connect with people. It was obvious from the start that she was great at her job. She was heading up a committee to host an all-day conference to provide coaches with Continuing Coach Education Units (CCEUs) and strengthen the Richmond coaching community. I joined her committee, where I really got to know her and began to admire her leadership capabilities.
Kathy was also the president of a board, and asked me to join as a member shortly after we met. Working alongside Kathy in this capacity, I gained further admiration for her positivity and warmth and was also exposed to a new side of her. As president, she faced challenges and setbacks, but remained uplifting and open to feedback and observations from everyone on her team – all signs of a great leader. Her exceptional performance brought great credibility to the organization. This achievement added to her list of service, leadership and stewardship accomplishments collected during her time as President of ICF Virginia and President of Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO).
While Kathy taught me many things and inspired me in a multitude of ways, the number one thing I admire about her is her authentic affirming and encouraging nature. She helps others to use their gifts and genuinely wants people to shine. She has continually encouraged me to follow my dreams, take risks and to stay on the career path I have created for myself.
I am fortunate to have many mentors in my life, including Kathy. I have also had the opportunity to act as a mentor in some capacities myself. Through these experiences, my definition of a mentor has changed. It’s not about having all the answers, but rather encouraging, teaching, supporting and journeying with someone.
Postface: After Carla shared such an inspiring history of her experience working with her mentor, we spoke with Kathy to hear her thoughts and first impressions of Carla. “I was drawn to Carla instantly. My first impression of her was that she was an intelligent and friendly person, dedicated to coaching and helping others,” said Kathy.
Kathy also shared her thoughts on Carla’s position as a Facilitator and Coach at the InnerWill Leadership Institute. “I am very pleased to see Carla focusing most of her time on coaching, as she is a very good coach and most helpful to her clients. I would love to see her expand her influence to help other coaches become even more effective,” she said.