I will freely admit that I enjoy my mentoring practice. Whether it is leadership mentoring, executive mentoring, organizational mentoring, life mentoring or just mentoring, the results are what matters to me. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of helping another person master challenge and grow in the process. I suppose that makes me a bit of a teacher. I do see all of my coaching engagements as mentoring. I have been blessed with a life full of such mentors and know their value and the impact that they have had on my life. It is good to be able to give back.
As I see it, mentoring is the process of increasing the ability of an individual to achieve significant results within either their own life or an organizational context. Executive mentoring focuses on enabling a client to create a unique business plan that would then build on their strengths and address their weaknesses. In order to fully understand and appreciate the benefits of Executive Mentoring, you need to be aware of some of its fundamental elements. These elements emphasize its basic nature.
- Interpersonal Communication: Executive mentoring puts an emphasis on the importance of interpersonal communication skills to complete a task in the best way possible. Interpersonal communication also plays a major role when it comes to upholding various business relationships with clients. The model for this communication is the relationship between the mentor and the client. With many of my clients, this is the first time they have experienced such direct but unthreatening communication
- Teamwork: Effective business mentoring centers on the importance of every individual in an organization and attempts to boost the teams’ morale and encourages people to make their own positive contributions to the business. Here again, the mentoring engagement serves as a model for a new approach to teamwork. The mentor and client must learn to work closely together in an atmosphere of trust and respect
- Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: Executive mentoring helps individuals to understand themselves in a better way and to discover their hidden strengths and weaknesses. One of my first steps in any mentoring engagement is to organize an assessment. Depending on the nature of the mentoring, I have a range of assessment tools to use. Their objective is to give us a clear view of the landscape and to provide a baseline against which to measure progress. My approach to mentoring helps clients identify areas or their lives or careers that are in need of improvement. It also encourages working with people in a more confident and effective manner. The mere process of admitting weaknesses can be stressful – particularly for some personality types. My approach to mentoring eases this stress and allows us get to dealing with the challenges rather than avoiding them.
- Assessment: I use regular assessments in my mentoring engagements. The first establishes a baseline while subsequent ones measure progress towards goals. We also assesses the current potential and scope of relationships, and business alliances. This helps to identify priorities and goals for the coaching program. As an executive mentor, I am able to help a Chairman or CEO to grow into their role, become a better leader, develop skills that are important to their career and the company that they are running and support broader mentoring initiatives such as team development or organizational coaching.
- Evaluate Progress: A key aspect to my approach to mentoring is the tracking of progress towards agreed upon goals. Mentoring should be a journey towards a set of goals – improvements in performance, understanding – increased satisfaction – greater fulfillment – more enjoyment from living. As a mentor, I help create an appreciation of the potential of my client and help them achieve the kind of growth they desire. I also help them realize and enjoy the progress that they are making towards those goals.
Mentoring has four major components:
- Accountability: This is the most important element of executive business mentoring. The client holds himself accountable for the results of the mentoring. They must take responsibility for their own actions and consequent errors as well as aiding in their personal growth. This enables them to keep an open mind and to question their actions and thoughts. The mentor lets the executives come up with their own judgments and then refines helps them come to terms with their experience. The clients take the mentor’s feedback positively and learn to be accountable.
Direction: Effective mentoring essentially is essentially a directed activity. It must have goals and operate according to a plan of action. This structure forms and essential part of an integrated and well rounded approach to achieving business goals. Mentored executives incorporate their newly acquired skills to achieve their desired results.
Openness: Honesty in communication and continuous learning in relationships provides information regarding the changes that clients need to make is the key to an effective mentoring relationship. The ability to be open and frank allows the client to understand what is expected of him and to grow in their ability to deal effectively with those expectations.
Leadership Quality: The fourth crucial element of mentoring is leadership development. A good mentor will serve as a model for that leadership development. One of the reasons that I always recommend selecting a mentor who has done what you are trying to learn to do is that there is no substitute for actual experience – being on the front line and in the line of fire. This is particularly true with leadership mentoring. I do not believe that it is possible for someone who have never bee a leader to mentor a client trying to improve leadership skills.
Good mentoring enables my clients to develop their own skills and talents. It allows them to take charge of their own performance. For me, mentoring is all about improvement and developing the ability to master challenges that seemed daunting. If you are interested in learning more about my mentoring services, send me an e-mail and we will arrange an initial consultation.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II