If you haven’t seen it already — I highly recommend the movie: The King’s Speech. I loved it so much, I’ve seen it twice. It tells the story of the unlikely intersection of the life of King George VI of England and a speech therapist named Lionel. Their bond remained in tact for the rest of their lives. Their friendship forever changed them.
It’s a wonderful case study in courage, resolve, identity, and mentoring relationships. Lionel was a commoner, with no pedigree or degree in speech therapy. But his life has taught him how to empower others. He digs into the past of Bertie (King George) and helps him discover why he’s so afraid of public speaking. He pushes and challenges Bertie, even when he’s been promoted from the Duke of York to King of England. Along the way, the two men learn to trust at the deepest level. Lionel convinced Bertie that he has the “stuff” to be king even when Bertie didn’t believe it.
I came away from the story with a handful of reminders about mentoring:
1. Only a mentor who is secure and not enamored by the position or status of his mentee is fit to invest in him.
2. Only a mentor who can look past the faults and see the needs of others is safe to get close to and become transparent.
3. Only a mentor who’s undistracted by his mentee’s cluttered life and who’s not intimidated by his influence can turn his potential into performance.
4. Only a mentor whose resolve is unwavering can endure harsh disagreements over what’s really possible and can reproduce his backbone in his mentee.
I laughed and cried during this movie. I recommend you see it with someone who’s willing to get coffee afterward, and talk about the implications of this true story.