The development of men and women leaders is my calling, starting with my family. My work as an Executive Mentor is to come alongside leaders and their organizations.
Often, I am asked, “What do leaders want to talk to you about?”. Some themes come up frequently and I shared examples in my first post in this series found here.
A mentor walks beside you and, in doing so, helps build your confidence and leadership ability. We help you discover insights, skills and solutions for your business, church, organization, or life. Our support and guidance helps you to draw your own conclusions and decisions.
Every leader experiences situations where a mentor would be a helpful side-kick. Leaders ask me about delegation, leading up to their board or supervisor, getting more “buy-in” from their team, and being more strategic in their leadership. Also, situations arise that are very challenging and time-sensitive. Having a mentor as your partner can make a significant difference and help you not feel alone.
Leaders face situations where they wish they had a safe and knowledgeable person to discuss options with; this is especially true of verbal processors who understand by verbalizing thoughts, feelings and ideas aloud.
A leadership transition is any significant change in a leader’s role caused by promotion, changing organizations, merger, restructuring, taking a sabbatical or returning from parental leave. A good mentor can help you take what you learned in the past, are learning in the present and launch into the future. As the world tentatively reopens, there is even more uncertainty than when it shut down, and we all can benefit by engaging a mentor for perspective.
One of the areas that I have specialized in is assisting founding leaders in stepping down, while at the same time coaching the incoming leader. It is stressful for all, yet there are clear patterns a mentor can assist the board, CEO, and successor in navigating through.
Empirical research argues that self-awareness is THE most fundamental issue in the science of leadership, personal growth and general wellbeing. There is a direct correlation between your leadership ability/capability and the potential impact of your organization. So, if you are not self-aware of your abilities, strengths and areas of weakness, you hinder the entire team and organization.
Research by Tasha Eurich states, “Our data reveals that 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware, but the real number is 12 to 15 percent.” You can read more about the research from Harvard Business Review here.
One of the most powerful techniques to promote self-awareness is asking a mentor direct questions, and allowing them to mirror back, providing you clarity through reflection. Feedback from direct questions can help leap-frog you ahead in your life and leadership:
“What is hindering me?”
“What are my weaknesses?”
“What is the shadow side of my leadership?”
Whether leading a business, an organization, church or you are self-employed, having a mirror is so helpful. It is also applicable to students, homemakers, academics, and parents.
4. Leadership Skills
Frequently, I assist where the leader’s skills need enhancement? Areas such as long-term planning, budgeting systems, strategic thinking, delegating, handling conflict, or written/verbal communication? As a mentor, I delight in developing leaders and understanding what is needed to polish their leadership skills.
Mentors know of books and resources, plus have the experience, to assist you in your growth. As a mentor, I focus on character and values as I nurture your growth personally, as well as your leadership.
Whether it is our current global circumstances or a system of leadership development that did not address these, I am finding many leaders needing coaching in the area of “soft skills.” Communication, patience, empathy, listening, flexibility, adaptability, creativity, sensitivity and even humour are the skills I refer to as “soft.” Becoming intentional with a mentor is the most effective way to develop these skills. They cannot be effectively taught in large group settings or webinars. Yes, you can pass on content that way, but an up close mentor can catch you, and your behaviour, in teachable moments.
5. Confidence and Encouragement
Every leader needs encouragement. Let me repeat that.
Every leader needs encouragement!
Haymitch is a troubled soul in the Hunger Games series. He constantly was drinking to drown the sorrow of having dozens of his mentees die in previous games. Yet, in several scenes in the movies, Haymitch is such a solid encourager to Katniss. Leaders need to have someone occasionally take a seat beside them, pick up an oar, and help them row.
With the toll that COVID has placed on leadership today, the strain is showing. It is time to engage a mentor for all of the reasons above. You will be nourished and encouraged by the experience.
Every leader needs encouragement.Carson Pue
In other news…
As we enter into the summer, I will be announcing the expansion and rebranding of my mentoring services. It will include news of adding a team approach where associates will work with expertise in various leadership and life areas. Wait for it!
Thanks for reading these mentoring themes. I am pretty sure I have a couple more of these in me so, Volume Three is coming.
Do you have a question you would like to ask a mentor?
Until then, lead on,