The supply side of mentoring
“Do you do mentoring outside of onboarding?“
I received the same question four times in the past two months, from companies facing eerily similar situations. The companies each had a VP of Sales with 15-20 years of experience in the company, elevated to the VP level 2-4 years ago. The VPs were hitting their numbers and their customers loved them, so the requests for help were not couched as remedial. Instead, there was interest in expanding their skill set, exploring different aspects and technology of selling, ensuring that these successful salespeople were becoming strong sales leaders and becoming more vocal participants within the leadership team.
My answer to these questions was, “Sure. You know we have intellectual property in the area of executive onboarding. But we have a network of highly accomplished executives as mentors, who are quite capable of helping to develop your Vice President.”
And then I had conversations with several of my mentors who come from the sales function. They were as excited about the opportunity to develop an established leader as they have been in working with those new to their position.
It might seem that the benefit of mentorship is accrued mainly by the mentee. They are receiving wisdom. They are getting support in situations where they are vulnerable. They are learning from their mentors’ mistakes, which is less painful than learning from their own. But, in working with professional mentors, I think they might enjoy these relationships at least as much as their mentees.
Many successful professionals reach the point in their lives when they are no longer motivated by position or additional wealth. At Executive Springboard, the majority of our mentors are out of corporate life, either retired or consulting. But they are not done with the contribution they can make. They have legacies that they are intent on building.
When I vet mentors for Executive Springboard, I am seeking four qualities.
Penny Loretto described characteristics of good mentors that go beyond Executive Springboard’s vetting.
We try to address these in training, the process of matching mentors and mentees or through coaching during mentoring engagements.
Executive Springboard began as a mentored-delivered vehicle to onboard leaders in new roles. We still have this at our core. But we’ve responded to clients who see how this broad team of incredibly talented and committed mentors can impact leaders in other ways:
I want to thank the incredibly talented mentors at Executive Springboard for their work to support and develop leaders, for their passion towards passing on a legacy and for spurring me on to make our business bigger than its initial vision.
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Executive Springboard President Steve Moss shares learning from years as an executive and a mentor.