Good leadership is always part nature and part nurture. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are continually leading yourself and others. The question is ‘how good are you at it?’ The good news is that, with focus and effort, you can improve your leadership skills and get more out of life.
I have been mentoring senior executives and corporations for more than two decades. I got into mentoring after a successful career as a recidivist entrepreneur. I founded and built six companies. The experience of building those businesses brought many good times but I have recently been thinking about all those clients I mentored and the successes that they have had. Some of my fondest memories have resulted from those mentoring engagements. Over the years, I have provided executive mentoring, leadership guidance, organizational support, team and life mentoring. Each is different but the focus has always been the same – working to help my clients unlock their potential and enjoy successes that they never thought possible.
The material for this book has been drawn from experiences with dozens of C-level executives, consultants and members of boards of directors and advisory boards. My goal is to help you become a more effective leader and develop your leadership skills. Find the leader that is within you and open the door to a brighter and more exciting future.
The essence of leadership mentoring is in the frank and open assessment of leadership skills and the development and implementation of a pro-active plan to improve them. Sometimes the first six or seven sessions of that plan focus on evolving a new and more useful definition of leadership. They always involve developing an improved self-knowledge on the part of the client. These advances are possible only if the coaching relationship involves a lot of trust and mutual respect. Many of my conversations with clients are very direct and touch on issues that are sensitive and close to their treasured self-image. Without that trust and respect, they will go off the track. However, there is a secondary benefit of these conversations. In the mentoring relationship, I am acting as a leader and demonstrating leadership skills. The client gets to see how it is done. My ability to lead in this way is not rooted in my mentoring skills but arises out of the fact that I have successfully build six companies – I have been there on the front lines and honed those skills repeatedly.
Leadership Mentoring by a Mentor who has never lead – never built and managed a team – never had to test their own skills in the cauldron of corporate growth – is a risky business. It is like hiring a guide who has never been where you are going – only read the map. Leadership is developed over time and with great care and focus. My mentoring draws not only on my understanding of what it means to be a leader but also on my experience of having been one multiple times. I have stepped into all the holes listed above and worked my way out – and learned not to make the same mistake twice.