The CIO Mentoring Scheme has been fully operational for two years. By mid-summer we’ll have around 70 graduates. That is 70 hand-picked, next generation corporate technology leaders, chosen and sponsored by their companies to work with external big company CIOs in mentoring. Response to this development opportunity from the vast majority of mentees and their mentors has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Is CIO mentoring the answer to everything then? No. Other forms of business coaching and leadership coaching are also vital and leadership training courses are as valuable as ever.
The Scheme now contains a big enough talent pool for us to take a more detailed look at the development needs of the next generation we have not addressed in mentoring. For example, we’ve had enough feedback to suggest that many mentees still feel the lack of leadership presence in dealing with C-suite stakeholders; we can do something about that through leadership coaching and training and we should.
Leadership training courses come in two main types: those which focus on leadership skills and those which focus on the leader’s character. Skills are more suited to mentoring and character is definitely more suited to coaching.
Business Coaching – CIO Development
So you can most easily find support in the soft skills of leadership (such as influencing, communicating, relationship building, etc) either through attending short skills workshops or through business coaching courses that focus on specific skills.
Character development takes longer and more dedication. Leadership guru Professor Warren Bennis famously compared the process of becoming a leader as parallel to the process of becoming an integrated human being. He was in no doubt that leaders are made and not simply born that way. This is good news for everyone.
The leader’s environment can also be critical. Our world of Corporate IT is rapidly changing, and the change is accelerating. Over the last two years we have put more than 60 senior IT executives through a 4-months digital academy programme, which is a leadership training course. This evolved very quickly from awareness of what is happening in digital to preparing for business leadership in an integrated corporate technology function that includes digital specialists. The pace and the reach of the new technologies, evolving methods and business models is unprecedented.
So, we have a developing body of outstanding corporate technology talent in business coaching and leadership coaching, and we face a rapidly evolving corporate technology environment, riddled with uncertainty and opportunity. This is what we want to look at more carefully in the coming months and we’ll be hoping to bring you along with us on this exciting exploration.