I could see Kaldi’s from my office window. The coffee shop offered breakfast bagels, panini sandwiches and salads at lunch time, and a cozy corner for my mentoring appointments with Cindy.

As often as we could, we met for lunch, stolen hours in the midst of busy workdays. Often, we had to cut our conversations short to return to meetings or get back to our desks to meet deadlines.

We each made those regular lunch dates a priority, and over time we shared our stories and struggles with one another.

Our real breakthrough came one weekend when we attended a retreat together. The hours in the car, late night talks in the cabin, and afternoon walks through fall leaves provided the time and space we needed to connect more deeply than we had before. Later, Cindy remembered that weekend as a major turning point in her life, a time of growth and healing for her.

Certainly, our weekly times together laid and important foundation in our relationship. But the time away was special, set apart, sacred.

Leaders who want to make an impact by developing others need to set aside time to do so.

If you’re looking for a breakthrough in a mentoring or coaching relationship, consider planning a day-long or weekend retreat. Attend a conference together. Break out of your usual routine.

Developing others takes time: regular and predictable times, part of a routine or schedule, but also extra times away from the daily grind.

Change in location and change of routine can create the conditions needed for people to make other changes in their lives. Time spent away from business as usual is more easily remembered and cherished.

Join the conversation!

When have the greatest times of growth occurred in your life and relationships? What special times can you set aside to develop others?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.