Why managers & leaders need external mentors

Managers and leaders often talk to me about issues they have which they either aren’t ready to discuss with others, need to sense check or need advice on. I’m often referred to as “a safe pair of ears”. I never judge but I help people make sense of their thoughts and question why they are considering a course of action and what alternatives there could be. Sometimes just this questioning makes the person think about their actions.

For the past few years Strategic Professionals have mentored leaders and managers from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. We have often met our mentees through helping them develop their skills or those of their people and over time a relationship of trust has developed. Trust between a mentor and a mentee is crucial.

About 80% of the issues managers and leaders want to discuss relate to managing people. Our clients often say that the higher up you go in an organisation, the fewer people there are to talk to. We appreciate the challenges facing board level directors and are there to support them in both their operational and strategic roles.

Just having an independent person, who has some understanding of the organisations culture, people and objectives can be a big relief to many leaders as they are able to talk in a safe environment with no hidden agendas.

Managers say that having a mentor gives them confidence and a sounding board. They feel they can work on their development areas in a safe environment and without revealing their weaknesses to others.

A mentor should not only be a safe pair of ears but offer guidance when required. A mentor is different from a coach. Mentors should never tell you what to do; they should be your sounding board and question you to ensure you are confident in your actions. A coach supports you in developing a specific skill whereas a mentor is your business confidant.

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