Emerging Leaders, Session 2: Everyone Needs a Coach

By Jeremy Sankwich, Mortgage Relationship Officer, Verity Credit Union

Editor’s note: As the winner of the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Emerging Leadership Scholarship Contest, Verity Credit Union’s Jeremy Sankwich received free tuition to a program that includes nine days of face-to-face training, several months of project work, one-on-one coaching, and mentoring focused on nurturing the credit union leaders of tomorrow. He also agreed to write about his experience for Anthem after each of the three Emerging Leaders sessions. Here’s his second report:

My leadership development has come in multiple forms. As with most skills, there is no substitute for life experience. (I’m still working on that part.) There are many leadership seminars available and books written by gifted authors such as John Maxwell and Tom Rath. However, to become an exceptional quarterback such as Russell Wilson, even he needed more than live practice or a book on the theory of football. He had someone to personally develop his game, notice his mistakes and fine-tune his form to help him fully develop his skills. He had a coach.

Enter Emerging Leaders

Some of the most influential people in my life were coaches. This is why, for me, Emerging Leaders is such a valuable experience. We have learned many concepts during our classroom sessions like the “Language of Leadership” and “Characteristics of a Good Promise”. What elevates Emerging Leaders above any weekend seminar on leadership are the same two things that make playing sports so memorable: A coach and a team.

The Coach

From football to grappling, I have had many coaches throughout high school and college. However, not all coaches are created equal. Once, I had a coach throw me in the ring to get pummeled by his “star athlete” just to teach me a lesson on how I wasn’t prepared. Lesson learned…I think. Luckily Susan Geear is far more graceful than that.

“True leadership brings forth the leadership in others; it is not always doing the work yourself but accomplishing goals through developing others and helping them succeed, too.”
-Susan Geear, Vice President, DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute

As my responsibilities grow at Verity, I am taking on more impactful projects. My current area of growth is to focus more on the strategic aspect of my role and less on the technical or busy aspect. Since college, I’ve only worked for start-up companies and small businesses where I was a one-man department. I did the work—all of it. I was not trained to ask for help or delegate, but to deliver. Susan tells me not to decline choice. That means, give your team a chance to participate. To quote Susan, “True leadership brings forth the leadership in others; it is not always doing the work yourself but accomplishing goals through developing others and helping them succeed, too.”

The Team

The participants this year in Emerging Leaders have become a team. Each of us has different skills and backgrounds, and we are finding ways to help each other succeed in our individual goals. It is here that a director from Spokane, Washington, a finance officer from Eugene, Oregon and I can discuss how we each can develop our communication to more effectively serve our teams back home. Valuable!

Top Take-Away From Session 2

“Leaders are sought after and paid for their ability to offer valuable assessments.”
-Peter Myers, Vice President, DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute

An assessment is an opinion. An assertion is a fact. They are different and that is important to know within the language of leadership. The most impactful assessments (opinions) are grounded in assertions (facts) with the purpose of developing others. Leaders are sought after and paid for their ability to offer valuable assessments.

Coming Soon…

Next session we will all be presenting our projects to our class (team). We will be assessing each other’s presentations and offering suggestions for improvement. There is a lot of work to do with these projects and all of our credit unions will grow and see value from each one. Until then, enjoy the World Cup and have a happy 4th of July!

Jeremy Sankwich is a mortgage relationship officer for Verity Credit Union and this year’s winner of the Emerging Leadership Scholarship Contest. For more information about the Emerging Leaders Training Program, go to nwcua.org/emerging-leaders.

 

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