Dr Lubna Somjee takes an interesting approach to the concept of mentors. She suggests that you can go a step further, by creating a personal board of directors.
When she works with her clients as an executive coach, Dr Somjee suggests you choose a group of people to help you in your career. She advocates you find “…a group of people you can turn to and discuss various career or business issues, obtain advice, and gain new perspectives.”
She suggests the group be as diverse as possible and include both champions and people who will be candid, or even blunt. You can choose someone from within your own industry or someone from another industry to bring a fresh perspective. You can also choose an explorer who “…forces you to stretch your vantage point on yourself and career, and helps you be more self-aware.”
Dr Somjee recommends adding people you find to be knowledgeable or inspirational as virtual board members. She believes that “Assembling one’s own board can be one of the more valuable things you can do if you are wanting to strengthen your career or business…”.
Why not consider your coach as a member of your personal board? Executive coaches can bring objectivity and an outsider’s perspective to the process. They can take the roles you assign to them – explorer, provider of candid feedback or champion. By helping you build your self-awareness, they can also help you choose the right people for your other board positions. Executive coaches can help you end up, long term, with your best personal board of directors.