Whether by design or happy coincidence, the high performers I work with demand excellence, especially from themselves. So as an academic coach, that means I must be bold. Very bold!
Bold recommendations are at the very heart of progress. They motivate. They persuade. They bring out the best in others. But while a drill sergeant may find it easy to issue bold recommendations, it took me awhile to learn this gentle art.
Now that I’ve had a little practice, though, I don’t suspect I’ll ever quit making bold recommendations like these:
- Delete that entire paragraph, dear professor, and your proposal will be much easier to read.
- Make your own discoveries, dear student, and you’ll never forget what you’ve learned.
- Back down, dear parent, and let your teenager experience a success that’s his and his alone.
Suggestions like these help their recipients see things in new ways, try new behaviors, and enjoy new successes.
A few years ago, after I’d helped her son through a tough term paper, my friend boldly suggested, “You know, Susan, you really ought to start your own business.” I listened – and it turned out to be the smartest thing I’ve ever done. So when the Indiana Small Business Development Center recently invited Scholar’s Secret into its “success spotlight,” I grabbed the chance. That’s because “follow your dreams” is a bold recommendation I’ll make – or take – any day.