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“I would…”

In a mentorship or leadership position, these two words are extremely powerful.

By using them, you are telegraphing to your student how they should complete a task, instead of allowing them to solve a problem, fail, or even surprise you with a new approach. Your choice in words has given them the way of doing it.

Because they want to please you and earn acceptance, your way becomes their way.

Instead, ask how they would.

Aside: Of course, there are millions of times when the student has no choice in the matter. In that case, I would is a softer way of commanding. Context is key, intentionality is critical.

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