Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Unless you had the necessary skill and experience, you’d never attempt to renovate your house without expert assistance or advice. Even if you were capable you would still need the help of registered professionals like plumbers and electricians to complete the job successfully. If not, you'd risk the safety of everyone under your roof.
So, why would you think it possible to run a business and solve every challenge without ever seeking advice or expert help. Yet, this is what many business leaders do, refusing to ask for help; believing it to be a sign of failure.
What they fail to understand is no individual has the knowledge, skill and ability to meet every single challenge they face in business or their personal life. While we will seek the advice and opinion of those we respect when it comes to our personal life, we’re reluctant to do the same in business, even though the stakes can be much greater.
There is much truth in the saying – ‘It’s lonely at the top’. That’s because many business leaders are increasingly isolated with little or no access to independent advice, alternative thinking or even a second opinion.
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness or defeat, rather it’s a sign of emotional intelligence, effective reasoning and the ability to think and act objectively.
Business leaders today face far more complex issues than ever before. The pace of consumer led change, a more diverse workforce, the growing demands of stakeholders and aggressive and unpredictable tactics by competitors; are just a few. Plus, there are the everyday struggles we all face like information overload and keeping up with technology.
It’s under these circumstances that Executive Mentoring has proven to be so highly successful.
As well as developing leadership ability it helps build a performance driven culture within a company, regardless of size. It’s by no means remedial and should only be considered for those who possess the ability to shape the company’s future.
If the first hurdle is recognising you need an Executive Mentor, then the second is finding a suitable match and for this there are 2 considerations.
1. Appropriate Experience and Track Record
An Executive Mentor doesn’t need to be from within your industry and in fact it’s often better if they’re not. But they must have at least 5 to 10 years’ experience as a senior executive and have a proven track record of success.
2. People Development
As well as a high level of business acumen, they must have demonstrated the ability to lead and develop people. They require an understanding of human behaviour and the ability to cut through noise and excuses. Most importantly they must be someone you respect, trust and who you can communicate with openly and honestly.
You see, the role of an Executive Mentor is to provide guidance, encouragement and support. They should inspire you, challenge the status quo and provide the necessary insight to influence your behaviour. By sharing their knowledge and wisdom they add value to your executive talent and enable you to make better decisions.
The typical outcomes you can expect are:
More clearly defined goals & a structured plan to achieve them
24/7 access to expert knowledge & experience
Reduced levels of stress
Exposure to new ideas, insights and alternative ways of thinking
Guidance to improve team leadership and people management skills