Archive for the ‘Career Coaching and Mentoring’ Category

Leadership into the future

It is often stated – and very true – that before you can lead anyone, you must be able to lead yourself.

To know:

  • Where you are heading
  • Why you are heading in that direction
  • How to get there
  • And finally, being able to fully realise the exceptional outcomes

Therefore having a title won’t make you a leader. Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader if they positively influence others. People of influence who multiply their effectiveness don’t rely on “positional power” but on “personal power.” While the position or title they have gives them authority, it is qualities such as integrity, trust, faith in people, the ability to actively listen and respond appropriately, to empower and understand people that sets them apart.

And most importantly of all – communicate effectively with clear purpose. (more…)

Executive Mentoring & Coaching – Facts and Myths – Part 2

Do you need an Executive Coach or Mentor? Do your managers? Here is a useful framework for thinking about the role of 3rd party guidance.

What Can an Executive Mentor Do for Me?

Is Executive Coaching and Mentoring in Australian companies destined to play a role occupied by psychoanalysis in some movie: a virtual prerequisite for anyone who aspires to be anyone?

It might seem that way at some organizations, at least to the untrained eye. IBM has more than sixty certified mentors (they call them coaches) among its ranks. Scores of other major companies have made coaching, indeed mentoring, a core part of executive development. The belief is that, under the right circumstances, one-on-one interaction with an objective third party can provide a focus that other forms of organizational support simply cannot. (more…)

A Mentor can give you the Edge

It can be tough and lonely at the top, so it pays to have an experienced person to point the way

When Peter James moved from London to Australia, he was surprised at the huge difference between the business environments in the two countries.

James, chief executive of a large professional Industry body, said: “You would think that moving from the UK to Australia would be pretty similar, with the English language, English legal system and so on in common. However, there is a fundamentally different approach here and I needed advice to help me cope.”

In the southern hemisphere decisions were made much more quickly, he said. “In Australia, if you have 80% of the facts you will take the risk and move forward. In the UK there’s more a tendency to keep talking through the issue to get more than 90% or 100%. I was not prepared to push on much faster.

“By moving halfway round the world my old network of support was no longer as valuable because they didn’t understand the new situation. I needed someone I could talk to who understood what was happening in Australia.”

“When you take on a chief executive’s role, people think it’s plain sailing. But many chief executives will talk about the loneliness at the top. There’s a lot of isolation because you have to make the tough decisions alone. You need a sounding board, preferably an experienced one, to help with the many challenging decisions facing you.”

James’ instinct was to find a mentor who could help him manage this change. He got a couple of introductions and spoke to two or three people on the telephone, looking for someone who would not only suit his personality but also provide a confidential sounding board based on his broader business experience.

He said: “It was important to have someone who could understand what was happening in Australia as well as understand me. It had to be someone who was simpatico, someone you could treat as a friend. Picking someone who was a mismatch or with whom you had a prickly relationship wouldn’t help.”

James said that such a relationship would mean a commitment of at least 12 months. And if your role involved implementing substantial change it would probably have to continue for three years or so.

“The time to curtail it is when the mentor says we are beginning to go over old ground and you realize you’re coping,” he said. “A mentoring relationship is enormously helpful because you can focus on all the challenges facing you.”

For example, the mentor would help you get your work-life balance right and ask what you are doing to stay fresh and receptive to new ideas.

People in senior management roles were not invulnerable, James said. “We all need support and help.”

But mentoring should not be seen as something just for chief executives. It is perfectly valid further down the tree, particularly if you have a major change process in hand.

James’ choice eventually fell on a specialist in mentoring chief executives from the Melbourne based Carnegie Management Group. “Geographical location of the mentor was not the issue for me,” he said. “Finding the right person was!”

Paul Smith, Carnegie Management Group’s founder, believes a gap is opening in the ranks of senior management as age catches up with them.

“As more and more people retire, the problem is accentuated by the inexperience of their successors,” he said. “The average chief executive now is 15 years younger than he would have been in the same job 20 years ago. They simply don’t have the miles on the clock.”

Smith believes these executives with limited experience will suffer. “It will be what you don’t know about that will derail you, never what you know about. But a mentor is a great way to reduce the risk.

Having a mentor who can look round the corner and see the risk because he has been there before is a great help. If you work with a mentor who has no axe to grind and no hidden agenda, it’s much safer.”

Research from CMG clients shows 77% of them felt their business model would not stand up to future challenges in the markets they served.

When a group of chief executives was polled about issues that kept them awake at night, they came up with three in particular. The first was that they blamed themselves for a failure to execute strategy they had formulated – somehow the brilliance in the boardroom got lost on the way to the outside world. The second was how to deal in the international village that the world has become. And third was how do you recruit and hold talent.

Get these right and you might not even need a mentor.

The Executive Mentor – an Interview conducted in 2011

“In the space of a fortnight, six different people told Paul Smith they were having a horrible time in their executive jobs. One told him that he wanted to resign forthwith. Another confessed to just having endured the worst month of his business life. A prominent Family Business owner said: “I just want to give up and sell up – it’s all too hard.”

These were not Paul’s employees, bosses or friends. They included corporate or government leaders, business owners and executives who engage him as a business mentor (and coach) and who felt free in a one-to-one setting, to confess how they were really feeling about their jobs. Big pay packets and titles are no buffer to human needs and emotions. (more…)

Thriving of the fittest

As globalization and electronic commerce wreak change on local businesses, enterprise and career survival is becoming a national obsession. Organisations want the best and are ruthlessly dismissing those who do not meet the grade. An ability to adapt to change, to empower staff and to be flexible and global in outlook are a few of the attributes required of the new millennium manager. 11 traits required for surviving and thriving in the career jungle are:  (more…)

Disengagement tops 80%

A research study shows the majority of Australians are going through the motions or worse at work, with 82 per cent saying they’re not fully engaged in their current role.

The study finds the bulk of workers (61 per cent) are not engaged and do little more than is necessary to keep their jobs. Worse still, 21 per cent are actively disengaged, saying they view their workplaces unfavourably and are highly likely to spread their negativity to others. (more…)

3 Actions For CEOs, MDs or Business Owners

Serious about changing your organization’s culture?  Here are three courageous actions that work!

1. Communicate the vision of change you want.

2. Identify, and communicate, at least two behavioural changes you plan to work on personally

3. Have senior executive do likewise

Do this and there will be much greater commitment to organizational change than if leadership makes out they are OK and the problems lie with everyone else.

How do you do this? Contact Carnegie to discuss.

Mentoring – Realising Capability and Potential

For Career Enhancement of the Individual – hence Organisational Success

What is mentoring? Several experts have published their definitions over the years.

Kathy Kram, well known author of multiple papers and books on mentoring and Professor in Management at the Boston University School of Management, defines a mentor as “someone who may provide a host of career development and psychosocial functions, which may include role modelling and sponsoring.” These insights were published in her book Mentoring at Work: Developmental Relationships in Organisational Life in 1984.

Fast forward some 26 years and today, in less academic terms we understand mentoring to be the offering of advice or guidance by a person typically with more experience, skills or expertise for the benefit of another individual’s personal and professional development.

Mentoring is often used in the same context as coaching yet they have very different applications. (more…)

Professional and Personal Leadership for Today

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want – and all that is left is a compromise. It’s your call.”

Effective leadership, both personally and professionally, will take many forms. But at its core, it necessarily includes the ability to:

  • Articulate a strategy – for yourself and the Organisation
  • Establish guiding principles
  • Make decisions quickly, efficiently and effectively
  • Earn the trust of people, include them in the process, treat them fairly, keep them informed and above all else communicate effectively
  • Keep yourself, people and hence the organisation focussed on the positive outcomes

(more…)

The Executive Mentor – the Goalkeeper – an Interview

“In the space of a fortnight, six different people told Paul Smith they were having a horrible time in their executive jobs. One told him that he wanted to resign forthwith. Another confessed to just having endured the worst month of his business life. A prominent Family Business owner said: “I just want to give up and sell up – it’s all too hard.”

These were not Paul’s employees, bosses or friends. They included corporate or government leaders, business owners and executives who engage him as a business mentor (and coach) and who felt free in a one-to-one setting, to confess how they were really feeling about their jobs. Big pay packets and titles are no buffer to human needs and emotions.

It’s a cliché, but life at the top really can be lonely or isolating, says Paul, because few employees can imagine that their “superiors” might sometimes feel vulnerable and bewildered. He’s been there too!

(more…)