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  • Writer's pictureGraham Henrickson

Why Executive Mentoring ?

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Ask anyone who has had the benefit of an executive mentor and they will tell you it was a life changing experience. So, what makes it so powerful?

If you did not have the necessary skill and experience, would you attempt to replace the electrical wiring in your home without expert guidance? It is fair to say the answer to this question would be No. So, why would you think it possible to run a business and solve every challenge without ever seeking help or advice? Yet, that is exactly what many business leaders do; refusing to ask for help in the belief it would be a sign of failure.

No individual has the knowledge, skill, and ability to address every challenge they face – that is a universally agreed fact. But if a business leader shares company information with an outsider it could be a breach of confidentiality. Telling the Board, you do not know what to do could end your career and seeking the advice of colleagues could be politically unwise. So, what do they do?

In most cases, they do nothing. Consequently, leaders today are increasingly isolated without access to independent advice, alternative thinking or even a second opinion.

But it does not have to be this way.

​It is in circumstances like these that executive mentoring is most successful. As well as individual development, executive mentoring delivers a broad range of benefits across a company. Now, it is important to understand that executive mentoring is by no means remedial but a reward for those with the capability to learn and grow.

When it comes to choosing an executive mentor, there are two key considerations:

1. Experience & Record

While some believe an executive mentor should be from the same industry, there are those that argue against it. Regardless, they must have at least 5 to 10 years’ experience as a senior executive with a high level of business acumen and a proven track record of success.

2. History of Developing People

An Executive Mentor must have demonstrated the ability to develop people. The role requires an understanding of human behaviour, the ability to connect and communicate openly and honestly.

The role of an executive mentor is to provide guidance, encouragement, and support. They should inspire, challenge, and provide the knowledge and wisdom needed. They should inspire, improve people management, and facilitate better decision making. The outcomes should include - reduced levels of stress, increased confidence, more clearly defined goals along with clear plans to achieve them.

The approach should be tailored to the individual. This might be a highly structured program based on specific needs (e.g., strategic planning, performance management and managing conflict) or based on critical issues as they occur.

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