Peer Groups, Mentors & Coaches: How Stronger Connections Create Better LeadersDec 15, 2022
Mentorship, coaching, and peer groups are crucial resources for professional growth and development. These support systems provide valuable guidance, support, and accountability that can help people navigate leadership challenges and succeed in their careers. In this article, we’ll be sharing insights on what to look for in a peer group, how to develop a mentoring or coaching program internally, and how success and support go hand-in-hand.
Why Professional Support Structures Are Critical
Professional advice is relatively easy to find. You can find any number of books, blogs, videos and more delivering somebody’s experience and insights on how what they’ve been through can shape what you’re going through. And no doubt, there are valuable resources out there. But cultivating real, personal connections at work is more than information transfer. YouTube is an expert sharing their knowledge, but coaching is an expert growing your knowledge. You need a coach and a teacher if you want to learn how to get better at something continuously.
Understanding Professional Mentorship
Mentorship can be an invaluable resource for professionals looking to learn from experienced individuals who have been there before. A good mentor can provide valuable advice and guidance on various topics, from managing a team to navigating office politics. They can also help mentees avoid common pitfalls and make better decisions.
When looking for a mentor, finding someone with the knowledge and experience you’re looking for and who has a good rapport with you is essential. Finding someone willing to invest the time and effort needed to provide valuable guidance and support is also important.
Starting a Mentorship Program in Your Business
When starting a mentoring group in your company, identify individuals willing and able to invest the time and effort needed to make the group successful. Establishing clear goals and expectations for the group or participants and a regular meeting schedule is also important.
It’s helpful to note that mentors often fulfill natural personal or professional characteristics, free of any framework or “mentorship program.” We can all point to somebody in our career who, whether they knew it or not, made a lasting impact or taught invaluable lessons. This speaks to the quality of employees in an organization, both in regards to those who love teaching and those who love learning. In time, of course, the learner – the mentee – becomes a mentor to somebody else. Mentors want to contribute and share what they love doing with someone who loves learning it.
What is the role of an Executive Coach?
On the other hand, coaching focuses on helping individuals develop specific skills and abilities that can improve their performance and effectiveness as leaders. A good business coach can provide personalized feedback and guidance on public speaking, time management, or conflict resolution.
When looking for a coach, it’s crucial to find someone with the expertise and experience in the specific area you want to improve. They must also be a good fit for your personality and learning style.
An executive coach asks questions that help others think about how to serve their company best. This helps those being coached to empower others in their organization, helping those people to think about their business or role in the organization.
Professional Peer Groups: Finding the Right Fit
Peer groups, meanwhile, provide a supportive community of like-minded individuals who can share experiences and ideas, offer encouragement, and hold each other accountable for their goals. These groups can be particularly valuable for those in senior leadership positions, where the demands can be high and the support systems can be limited.
There are lots of options to find the right peer group for you. YPO is a global community of chief executives. Vistage is a CEO coaching and peer advisory organization. Local chapters of groups like these can connect you with geographical contemporaries. Still, there are women’s professional groups, peer groups for young professionals, industry or niche-specific groups, and even Meetups that might have less formal peer opportunities through structured events and networks. Our advice is to try a few that seem exciting or well-aligned with what you’re looking for or what you need most.
Mentorship, coaching, and peer groups are valuable professional growth and development resources. They provide invaluable guidance, support, and accountability that can help individuals succeed in their careers. By seeking out these resources and making the most of them, professionals can become more effective and successful leaders.