Avoiding career crash and burn – Part three


In Part three of this article we will focus on the value of having a coach or mentor as a part your risk management strategy.

The role of coaches and mentors

Coaching has a tactical focus with coaches working with managers for short periods with a targeted program based on specific role requirements or capabilities that require improvement. A coaching program may run for as little as a week or for some months and may have break points where the manager has time to implement what they are learning.

Mentoring is more strategic in its intent with mentors working with managers over a longer period of time on a broad range of managerial issues. It is not uncommon for managers to have a mentor or mentors throughout their careers which provides them with the guidance they need to take on roles of more seniority.

Coaches and mentors can be career savers as they provide practical guidance as to how to approach a wide range of issues that can have a significant impact on your career progress.

Working with a mentor or coach

There are times when you need to call on others to help you work through issues in your current role, upskill in a particular area or provide guidance on your career path. Coaches and mentors offer valuable advice providing the guidance to help with immediate challenges and long term career planning as well as alerting us to possible risks and how to manage them.

Coaches and mentors vary in the scope of their services and their relevance to you requirements. It is important that if you consider working with either a coach or mentor that they have not only the requisite experience, they are across critical management issues and have a disciplined and proven frame work.

Not so long ago coaches and mentors had no training and their advice was given on an ad hoc basis drawing on their own experience. This approach may have had some benefit if dealing with practical problems that could be addressed relatively easily. However many were unable to properly address problems with underlying psychological complexity. Behavioural issues including motivation and resilience require a targeted approach with a well thought out methodology supporting them.

While there are a plethora of credible frameworks, Google’s brain science based approach has a methodology that has significantly up-scaled coaches and mentors programs drawing on mindfulness and emotional intelligence to build resilience and a positive approach to leadership. It is an approach that has proven effectiveness in not only facilitating the development of critical leadership capabilities. It also is a powerful framework to help you keep career path on track and manage the significant challenges you will encounter along the way. If you want to learn more about this program take a look at the Google website under the ‘Search inside Yourself’ program or contact a certified practitioner. Jo Wagstaff a former senior financial services industry executive being one of those.

Case Study

A senior executive who had just secured a new role found himself struggling with his new team who had been together for the previous five years and had been loyal to the previous incumbent who had been unceremoniously exited from the company. He found it hard to gain the team’s support and felt that they were doing everything they could to undermine him. On the verge of resigning a friend introduced him to a former senior executive who extensive managerial experience in Australia and the US. After their first meeting the manager walked away with some constructive strategies for building trust in his team and from then on the two met on a monthly basis to review his progress and refine the strategy where required. Three months in to the role the ice had thawed and he felt he was making real progress and in six months he thought that any barriers between him and the team were completely gone.

Career strategies should be seen as a mind map where there is multi-dimensional approach that offers a great deal of flexibility so you can pivot when you need to. Within your career strategy you should make provision for a risk management framework that will help you navigate the challenges that you will encounter along the way.

Read Part one of Avoiding career crash and burn.

Read Part two of Avoiding career crash and burn.



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