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You Only Learned This If It Was Done To You: How CIOs Close The Talent Gap

Mentoring isn’t often taught in CIO leadership development. Four skills are needed: assessment, coaching, training and support.

I was visiting a summer camp when I saw a leader I respect corralling a group of kids together, obviously their camp counselor. I asked, “What are you doing working a week of summer camp?”

“Raising leaders.”

That was a remarkable leadership moment for me. I’ve known him now for years. It’s no surprise he became a college president. He bleeds leadership development.

Last week, I went on a rant after reading a comment by Ryan Tannenhill, current quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. After the team drafted a young quarterback, he said, “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him. But if he learns from me along the way, that’s a great thing.”

You can read my rant here. Basically, I called him out on his shortsightedness and selfishness. 

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my consternation. Kurt Warner, hall of Fame quarterback, also responded: “I will never understand the ‘I’m not here to mentor the next guy’ mentality…so for all you young QBs that need a mentor, DM me & I’ll be that guy.” 

I would take him up on that offer if I was a young quarterback. Just like young employees in your company would take you up on the opportunity to be mentored.

It seems that every other article I define the difference between coaching and mentoring: Coaches draw out, mentors pour in. I’m a coaching junky, but I wouldn’t be where I’m at or have raised the leaders I have if not for mentoring.

Did you take a course on it? Have you had one?

The talent you need is in front of you. Of course you will need to go outside of yourself too, but to win those you seek they need to know that they will be mentored once there.

So How Do You Do It?

  1. Give them an assessment in three areas
  1. Conduct the assessment around four questions for each area:
  1. Identify the themes, prioritize the areas of development, and implement a coaching plan.
  2. Conduct coaching sessions around five questions:
  1. Connect the employee to training or resources that address the issue they are tackling. You may be the resource if it’s in your area of expertise.
  2. Provide ongoing support.
  3. Let them “live” with you. Wisdom is caught and taught. Involve mentorees in meetings, trips and events with you. (I once contacted a mentor, asked when he would next be on a plane, and asked if I could be his seat-mate for the flight. He not only agreed, he let me accompany him to his meetings).

No Excuses

I devote myself to seeing technology leaders soar in executive skill sets. So much of what is struggled with is ultimately a people-issue, and therefore, a “how to work with people “issue. Developing leaders is the starting point. 

Prove yourself as a mentor, and you will manifest yourself as an indispensable leader.

We are here to help. We can coach/mentor you, or we can help you build a rocking, superstar coaching/mentoring system. Want to talk about it? Contact me here

You Only Learned This If It Was Done To You: How CIOs Close The Talent Gap
Photo by:
Brooklyn Morgan

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