At a recent farewell party, the author heard someone express gratitude to a colleague for being a “thought partner.” The term was different from the one often-mentioned in business leadership literature. One author, Barbara Stanny, says the following:
A Thought Partner is someone who:
- Challenges your thinking.
- Causes you to modify or change your paradigms, assumptions or actions
- Has information or a way of thinking that provokes you to innovate or otherwise leads to value creation in your business, career or life.
A Thought Partner is different from a Thought Leader. Thought Leaders are people who are clearly and widely recognized as leading experts and visionaries in their field.
When you interact with others, what might be the effects of thinking of yourself as a thought partner? How might this look in the support function of a coach? A collaborator? A consultant? An Evaluator?
Who are the thought partners in your life? How are you using them to support you? How else might you enhance this concept in your life?