February 17, 2021 – Few executives would deny the powerful role that mentorship plays in providing opportunities for personal and professional development. Indeed, most have experienced these benefits firsthand. Yet when it comes to understanding how mentoring operates – let alone how it could be harnessed to support, develop and retain talented people – most of those same executives have little grounding in data or experience beyond their own.
Houston-based executive search firm Allen Austin, parent company to Gaines International, recently released a new service offering: executive mentorship. The service connects talented new executives with qualified external mentors, providing a confidential space for learning and development. “We practice search as a specialized form of management consulting and are known for helping clients get clear about exactly what they are trying to accomplish and who and what they need to get there,” said Danielle Mairs, managing partner of leadership advisory at Allen Austin. “We want candidates and clients to be happy together for many years to come. We match new hires with mentors who have been in their shoes, who know what it takes to succeed. It’s an investment in talent for the long term.”
Allen Austin, in partnership with Executive Springboard, engages a diverse group of more than 80 mentors, representing 15 functional areas, 10 countries and decades of experience in Fortune 1000 companies. Each mentor has a minimum of six years of experience as a senior officer and a long history of service as an internal mentor.
“When they’re already at the top level of an organization, where are new leaders supposed to go for guidance? Too often, there’s no answer to that question,” said Steve Moss, president of Executive Springboard. “Even when there is internal mentorship available, it can be hard for executives to be vulnerable with their coworkers while establishing themselves as new leaders. We see external mentorship as the solution to that problem.”
Baby Boomers, Millennials and the Value of Mentorship
Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers in the U.S. as the largest living generation, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. One result of this has been increased mentoring between Millennials and Baby Boomers, which many see as an effective way to impart knowledge from one generation to the next.
“While that’s certainly a benefit, there are many more advantages that you might not consider when pairing off your seasoned employees with promising young talent in your organization,” said Mike McDonough, CEO of Chicago-based executive recruiting firm General Search & Recruitment.
In Allen Austin’s program, mentorship is confidential. Mentees, not mentors, report on their progress. This lets employers understand the return they get on their investment. It also leaves mentees free to ask questions they may otherwise avoid, receiving expert advice from an impartial perspective. Mentorship programs are available at both the vice president and C-suite levels, and it is offered either as an add-on service to a search engagement or as a standalone service.
Allen Austin is a global management consulting firm specializing in retained search and leadership advisory. The firm are advisors to boards, CEOs and senior leaders of companies small and large, public and private, family-owned, private equity, venture-backed, domestic and international.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media