Projects: Leadership, Mentoring and Coaching

  • Effective implementation of these three components allow business leaders to mould company climate and culture, helping to develop resilient, effective and self-sufficient people so that delegation and trust become the norm. Leaving you the time you need to think ahead.

 

  • Three perspectives on Leadership:
    • ‘Great leaders are born, not made.’
    • You manage things…you LEAD people.’
    • ‘Leadership occurs when one person induces others to work towards some predetermined objectives.’

 

  • Each of these present specific dimensions to leadership. The first is an incorrect perception which, unfortunately too many people have. They talk themselves out of being a leader, and they also sometimes look for the wrong qualities in what makes a leader. Secondly, because you are a manager, you may also need to lead. But leading and managing are not the same thing. Finally, it is also assumed that you can only have one leader and they are at the top of the organisation. Not so. Anyone, anywhere can lead, and instilling the basics in people while they are still relatively junior will augur well for when they need to lead well. Does your business define and nuture leadership?

 

  • Coaching informally gives people the skills they need – hard and soft – as they build their career. Core skills tend to be learned through formal, structured training. But there are many other skills needed in the professional’s toolkit that need communicating somehow. How do you identify the people who can coach, and those that need it? How do you deliver it so that it develops – rather than destroys – confidence?

 

  • Mentoring, goes one stage further. Although it can encompass both of the above, it completes the personal development plan by filling in the gaps and looking at the complete individual. I find, it is unevenly treated in the working world. Some businesses insist on it. They’ll pair you with a mentor or mentee and your relationship is formally assessed. Some individuals realise a benefit and seek out a mentor. Few businesses sit anywhere between these two extremes. Mentoring is not managing, and it requires special skills. They aren’t magical, but they are different. Get it right and you have a very robust support network for your people as they navigate fresh challenges and deal with the 360 degree world we call ‘life’.

 

  • In all three cases, the perspective I offer is NOT one of the psycho-analytical expert. However, I have been the recipient and deliverer of all three in a long and varied working life. I have seen and experienced the benefits from both sides of the relationship. I have successfully implemented techniques across all three aspects and have seen the powerful effect good practice can have.

 

  • And so my service is less about ‘everything you need to know’, but more about understanding how these aspects can be incorporated into your organisation in an appropriate way. To understand how some simple assessment, reflection, planning, experimentation and review stages can transform your people from ‘doers’ to empowered and activated colleagues who can eventually be left to run your business while you find the time you need to plan ahead.

 

Example One: Leadership

This company realised that there were too many managers who were task-oriented and were not developing the people below them. It created a succession-planning problem. The solution was to embark on a major leadership training programme. The second most important aspect was that all managers received the same training. It set a benchmark, it transformed so many aspects of personal behaviour, and the effects on some individuals genuinely amounted to something of a revelation.  However, the most important aspect was the attitude each individual was encouraged to develop within the sessions. If you engage, loosen up and talk honestly and openly, it is surprising what happens. I was a recipient of this experience, I went on to practice it with great success within my business function and I can also put you in touch with the organisers who can deliver the ‘full fat’ version of what I experienced. You have to start somewhere and I can help leaders at all levels in your business to understand what leadership REALLY is and how to unlock people’s true potential.

Example Two: Coaching

Amongst my peers I’ve noticed I’ve been unusual in routinely making time to coach. Without ever becoming the Company Agony Aunt or Shoulder To Cry On, I reached out to people who were in danger of sinking, and was also approached to help or simply listen. And we all ended up learning something. If you have the right culture it is easy to do, and the benefit comes when you find that your colleagues are stepping up to the plate to take something off yours because they feel empowered, confident and trusted.

Example Three: Mentoring

Another outcome of the Leadership programme mentioned above, was the decision to implement a mentoring programme. After appropriate training I then mentored two colleagues in distant functions (generally, it works better that may). I have also been a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust. This put me in contact with people who were often in ‘last chance saloon’ in terms of career options and they were not always natural entrepreneurs. I have also had a mentor of my own and his own advice and pithy aphorisms have stayed with me as much as anything else I have learned. As a result, I can present the case for having a Mentor programme and provide ideas on how to encourage and implement a programme to nurture the individual in any aspect of their life such as they require – as and when they need it.

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