Successful Leaders Aren't Born They Are Mentored or Coached
By Pascal Mongeau, Managing Director
The making of a successful leader, best selling artist or greatest athlete didn't happen overnight. A person may have all the talent in the world, but without the right mindset and directional know-how for channeling their voice or abilities, things can so go sideways real fast. The road to success is not filled with lucky breaks, life hacks or a roadmap to success for dummies. Moreover, while being in the right moment can mean the difference between a chain of McDonald's restaurants or bankruptcy, one thing is clear. Before great leaders materialize into their force of influence and modern-day teachable moments, they all had a significant voice or sounding board that either through coaching or mentoring helped strengthen their position and potential.
Having a Mentor or Coach in your life is an invaluable resource for your success. It is also a vital moment to harness those core ingredients of self- development that through steps of mentoring or coaching can help you perform better and better.
Coaching vs MentoringCoaching and Mentoring are often intertwined but, they are in fact very different and depending on the situation can be needed at differing timelines. While Coaching is performance driven, Mentoring is self- development driven. Today, it is even more important for leaders to be able to finesse the art of coaching as part of their competencies and serve as an instrument of mentor to self-development where opportunity presents.
The two can work hand in hand but often stem from different sources of needs depending on the dominance of:
- What you require 2.The particular set of circumstances surrounding your position of growth
For instance, a specific activity or goal you set yourself may require the hiring of a professional coach or the coaching skills of your manager to facilitate you through the process of hitting your targets whereas a mentor could be someone that you align yourself with to gain directional insight and strengthen your long term vision and development path. Mentors are often the people we hold to a certain standard of credibility and trust. They can be people we work with directly, indirectly or even in different industries but have a connected understanding. Mentors aren't required to tell you what to do; they can, however, help you see beyond your current set of possibilities and grow into the best of who you could be.
Whether you're a fifteen-year-old kid with a sports scholarship or a thirty-year-old rising star, having the right people to surround yourself is not only key but a healthy approach in sticking the course of your ambitions.
A Personal Journey
Many years ago during my earliest General Management postings with Le Meridien Hotels, I found myself quite fortunate to have worked, developed a friendship and the accidental mentor/mentee relation with Mr. Philippe Seigle, Regional General Manager at the time for Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts in South America. As a young General Manager ambitions are quite high but there is also a thin line to unnecessary risks or playing it overly safe if not tactfully approached. It wasn't long after our encounter had Starwood bought Le Meridien, and the waters became a bit blurred for many, but Philippe had an optimistic and powerful way of making you see beyond the borders of current affairs. Having this mentor relationship was an instrumental force that helped me to hone my most valuable qualities and develop what I consider the necessary transferable skills in building the competencies to effectively coach and mentor as a leader.
The bottom line is this; mentors are the real superstars. They are not there to babysit you and gaining the most from the collaboration also requires a good effort given to the relationship. It's also never a case where you'll have one mentor, and that's it. I've personally found myself surrounded by incredible minds throughout my travels and some do stand out. One such person is Mr. Kuno Fasel former COO of COMO Hotels and Resorts. An extraordinary human that isn't afraid to educate.
At different stages of one's career or growth path, we are often challenged with the right circumstances that further push our capabilities yet again. At that moment you may find yourself faced with moments of significant learning and moments where your insight is required to transfer and transform someone else. Take on the challenge.