CEO Mentoring

It’s lonely at the top. Having a friend, philosopher and guide helps.

Why do you need CEO mentoring? Because your performance, diligence, experience, talent, competence, passion brought you where you always wanted to be and now you realize that you have a need to talk to someone in an uninhibited manner. Can you talk to your employer? Your Board? Your Subordinates? Your investors? Of course you would have your reservations of doing so. A CEO operates in a vacuum sometimes and it is here that the role of a CEO Mentor becomes important. You need someone objective and someone who has no hidden agenda.

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” – Tom Landry

Without CEO mentoring, sometimes good performers start to feel that the only way they can survive is by performing even better. They may fear failure. They may build pressure on themselves and also their subordinates and their environment. They may fail to build good working relationships with subordinates who may succeed them, if they fail. They can sometimes kill good businesses even while wanting to grow them. Everyone needs a mentor, whatever position he or she may have reached. Even Tiger Woods, Federer, Sachin have a coach. It is the duty of the entrepreneurs and professional boards to bring up their leaders well, so as to grow businesses with ethics, sustainability and profits. That’s what Optimax Aces’ CEO Mentoring practice is all about.

It is not that CEOs do not know the principles of good management or what a mentor may tell them. It is just that their proximity to higher performance situations makes them behave differently. They may micro manage, want people to clone them, not recruit the best employees, be emotional or even be reckless. Mass workshops on CEO mentoring or even training/coaching programmes may only have limited success because every CEO faces a unique set of issues, which may need one to one discussion and confidentiality, to enable CEOs to open up. They need someone who is well networked is equally competent, has seen it all and knows what the CEO pressures are. Professional mentoring reduces stress tremendously.

A CEO Mentor plays the role of a buffer, collaborator, crisis advisor, facilitator, influencer, lobbyist, messenger, negotiator, publicist, sounding board, strategist, tactician, and a friend, philosopher and guide.

The mentoring process begins with 360 degree information seeking without letting others know and observing the executive at work. Once concluded, the mentor and the CEO set realistic goals. Goals may include a specific skill and/or softer leadership and management issues. A regular schedule includes personal meetings as well as phone and cyber access. The Mentor and CEO can also agree to measure progress, reports, role plays etc.