A Leadership Mentor – Finding the Right One

Earl R Smith II, PhD


(Read More From My Blog)

Leadership mentoring can make a huge difference in the career prospects of an up-and-coming executive. The delays and risks of learning by experience – by your mistakes and successes – can put you seriously behind your competitors. There is a sense of gambling about letting fate take the lead in determining how you will develop your leadership skills.

As a Leadership Mentor, I help my clients achieve their dreams. Most of them dream of becoming an effective and dynamic leader. All of them have the potential to realize this dream. Few of them will realize it by accident. Life needs purpose to become excellent.

A good leader is one who has a special drive attributes. Leaders are genuine and loyal. More importantly, leadership is a subtle and complex mixture of situational awareness, self-knowledge, potential, limitations, pragmatism and faith. Leadership mentoring assists emergence leaders to become a a more successful and effective leader.

The first – and, I would suggest, biggest challenge for a leader is to find the right mentor. It is, of course, vital to find a leadership mentor who can help you become a more proactive and effective leader. The experience, abilities, range of connections and knowledge of your mentor will largely determine how rapidly and how far you can travel towards that goal.


My first recommendation is never hire a leadership mentor who has not done at least twice what you are trying to achieve. Never hire a leadership mentor whose experience is primarily academic. Never work with a leadership mentor who has been a failure at those things you are trying to learn. Always ask for references – always check those references – always look for a successful and experienced leader in your leadership mentor.


Leadership mentoring can help you identify your inner desires and to recognize your hidden talents. You can become self aware and self-confident and also improve your communication skills which will help you converse freely and explain your visions to others. A true leader needs to motivate everyone to obtain desired results and must know how to organize the efforts of employees and team members. Leadership mentoring can assist you in obtaining these qualities.


My second recommendation is avoid fluff and easy, comfortable relationships – they do not produce results. Leadership mentoring works best when it involves serious discussions – serious work – about serious issues. If you are to grow as a leader, you will need to consider carefully and then change many of those things that you presently see as an essential part of who you are. Reading about going to a dentist will not do the trick – it may be painful in the short term but you will be a better leader for the effort.


Mentoring is the key to leadership development and a very effective tool that can produce tangible and intangible benefits for the business. Leadership development can include various activities like group mentoring, individual assessment, development planning and so on. Leadership mentoring helps improve your decision-making skills and team performance.

Leadership mentoring also offers an excellent learning environment that allows you to learn techniques which can be applied to various business situations. Mentoring to become a dynamic leader involves three stages. The first stage in leadership mentoring is to gain better self-understanding. This stage lets you know what you really want to do, what your true talents and priorities are.

Priorities include both business goals and personal goals. Obtaining a clear view of what you want to achieve can help you further. Leadership mentoring helps you identify self-imposed hurdles. Almost everyone in the world has such obstacles and it is important to identify the right one. This is a crucial stage, in which the leadership mentor aids you in recognizing the expert in you.


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