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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.
My third recommendation is to realize that the first focus of leadership mentoring is you. The beginning of the journey focuses on deepening your self-knowledge. Good leaders know themselves very well - know what motivates them - what they are looking to accomplish - and how to identify and pursue goals that are important to them. Work with a mentor who is perceptive and experienced in working through the kinds of issues that you will confront.
The second stage of leadership mentoring is the key to becoming a great leader. Once you have deepened your self-knowledge, you are ready to reduce the impact of chance in your life. A leadership mentor helps you by designing and developing a program that will improve your focus as well as your leadership skills. This will allow you to begin building your life conditions and environment in the way you want to rather than by trial and error. You will begin creating opportunities, as you become a better and more confident leader.
My fourth recommendation is to prepare by improving your self-knowledge then extend out into your environment - begin to affect your context. Choose a leadership mentor who has done this in their own life - remember, stay with people who have done what you want to learn to do - avoid amateurs!
The third stage in leadership mentoring is to execute the first two steps in real life. Good leadership mentoring helps you achieve this easily and quickly. This is because you are now able to know what you want to do accurately. It is important to find a leadership mentor who can help you achieve your goals. An ideal mentor is one who can develop a trusting relationship with you.
My fifth recommendation is remember that the purpose of leadership mentoring is to improve your leadership skills. The only way that you can be certain that is happening is by the experiences you have when you try to lead. No matter how satisfying the experience of being mentored feels, if you are not making progress it is a waste of time. Leadership mentoring is about growth as a leader and as a person. Make sure that your mentor strongly supports that perspective.
For many people, their skill as a leader will greatly effect their career path. The better they become, the more opportunities will open up. Selecting the right leadership mentor can make a huge difference in your experience - and your life. Choose well. If you want to know more about leadership mentoring, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.
© Earl R. Smith II, PhD
PJ, Mentoring Client,
Mentoring Client, CEO and Serial Entrepreneur,
Mentoring Client, Deloitte,
CEO of Croix Connect and Host of ABC Radio’s ‘Taking Care of Business’,
Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions,