Executive Coaches - Mentors with accountability for success

Executive Coaches - Mentors with accountability for success

The Mentor-Mentee dimension
Everybody has at least one mentor. All of us in the corporate world also have mentors. Beg to differ? Read on. There are three broad categories of mentor-mentee relationships:

  1. The Formal One: Both the mentor and mentee know that this relationship exists. It could even be a mandate or a formal program in your organization. The mentor consciously exhibits behaviour and disseminates advice for the mentee to learn and follow, and in reciprocation, the mentee also consciously emulates the desired behaviour and seeks feedback from time to time to become more effective and successful.
  2. The One-Way Street: The mentee considers someone in their circle of professional association as the mentor but there is no reciprocal awareness from the other party. This could be someone in the same organization – a senior leader or even a high performing peer; or someone in another organization that the mentee crossed paths in some professional circumstance; or even someone in the family circles by whom the mentee is influenced due to the nature of professional work they do. The mentee consciously and/or sub-consciously emulates behaviour that is consistent with what is exhibited by the mentor. This can also be true the other way round, whereby, the mentor sees a potential mentee and consciously exhibits behaviour for them to follow, hoping that they do so, without formally having a mentor-mentee relationship or the potential mentee acknowledging it.
  3. The Influencer: The mentee is influenced by someone that hundreds of thousands of people look up to. This is a person who has achieved a life or lifestyle that others aspire to attain and is a well-known and recognised figure, and hence, while the person might not have any intention of consciously or sub-consciously mentoring anybody, there will be thousands or even millions trying to emulate him/her.


Irrespective of the category of the Mentor-Mentee relationships mentioned above, there is one thing common amongst all of them – in none of the above types of associations does the mentor take full and complete accountability for the mentee’s success. While that intention might be there in some of the associations, due to the simple fact that a natural mentor-mentee relationship does not involve any monetary exchange, there is no obligation and expectation on the part of the mentor to go that extra mile to ensure and guarantee the mentee’s success. 


Executive Coaches – Why do you need one?
If you are a professional in the senior management cadre or leadership positions of your organization, a professional Executive Coach is very similar to a professional investment advisor. Sure, you may be investment savvy yourself; sure, you may be earning an enviable amount and investing in all the right avenues, but, could you do better? Of course, you can, but, a well trained and certified professional investment advisor brings to the table, a structured framework to assess and understand your needs, risk appetite and your goals for the short term, mid term and long term. 


Based on this assessment, he/she advices the best portfolio mix that you should invest in to maximise your returns within the constraints that you have. Not only that, he/she might also push you by asking thought provoking questions about your current investment philosophies to get you out of your comfort zone of myths and beliefs that might be holding you back from achieving better returns.  Add to it the fact that, as much financially savvy you are, it might still not be your primary job. For the professional financial advisor, it is what they wake up to, eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and go to sleep with, and they are much more tuned in to the latest and greatest trends, fads, research, pitfalls, compliances, changing regulations and loopholes, which would be a blindside for you. The is one more reason why you are likely to achieve greater financial planning success with a professional advisor, rather than all by yourself, and that is the motivation of the monetary compensation that he/she receives from you and would like to continue receiving from you. Any additional client references that you may provide along the way is the icing on the cake for them. 


In a very similar manner, a professional Executive Coach is vested in your success. They want you to succeed, because, your success is their professional success. You might already be an amazing Manager or an awesome leader, but the difference between what you are, and what you want to be, is that extra few hours of specialist, outside-in attention that you need to fine tune your behaviour, attitude, discipline, focus and in some cases, certain skills and techniques that you need to pick up. 


Traits of an ideal professional Executive Coach
If you are on the lookout for a professional coach to enable you to unleash your full professional prowess, here are a few things you should look out for:

  1. Knowledge and experience: He/she should have both theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Theoretical knowledge, manifested through professional degrees and certifications, ensure that the guidance being provided to you is driven by sound research, fundamental concepts and tried and tested frameworks. Practical work experience ensures that the coach is able to strike the right balance between ideal theory and necessary practical variations and deviations to be done to suit your professional circumstances.
  2. Accountability mindset: What is the remuneration model being proposed? What and how frequent are the review meetings being planned? Is the coach setting aside ample time to listen to you about your professional circumstances before suggesting an approach and model of engagement? These are some questions and discussion points that you should explore while narrowing down on your search for an executive coach.
  3. Friendly, yet empowered and assertive: As much as it is important to have a coach who is friendly and easy to talk to, things can very quickly go down the slippery slope where the coach is too friendly and diplomatic to be giving you hard and constructive feedback. Just like in the case of the financial advisory, sometimes, what is holding you back from greatness are fences that you have built in your own mind, and you need someone who does not shy away from pointing them out to you and helping you dismantle some of those fences to enable you to expand your horizons. 


Considering all the benefits that Executive coaches bring to the table for your personal and professional growth and success, it is important to not get bogged down by any stigmas or beliefs associated with this methodology of learning. It is just like your regular health check-up. It helps you assess and reassure that you are fit and if there is a possibility of bringing about some improvement, those early warning signs are caught and aptly addressed by professionals. So, go ahead and explore the world of professional executive coaches to help you unlock your true potential to become successful in your career.