Nurturing Internal Talent: The Art of Growing Your Own Leaders
As a practice owner or clinical director, you might recognise the potential of someone in your team for leadership and aspire to help them morph into a leadership role. However, the journey of growing a leader can be challenging and multifaceted.
Challenges in Growing a Leader
- Skill Development: Moving from a vet or a nurse to a leadership position requires more than just expertise in animal care. Soft skills like communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution play a significant role. These are skills that often don’t come naturally and need to be cultivated.
- Emotional Challenges: Stepping into a leadership role can bring to the surface a range of emotional and psychological challenges for the mentee. From wrestling with imposter syndrome to confronting deep-seated limiting beliefs, this phase can get intense. However, it's crucial for mentors to recognise the boundary: while offering support is important, they should be aware of the risks of venturing into the territory of acting as therapists.
- Time and Energy: Nurturing an emerging leader demands considerable time and energy. It's a commitment to guide them through their highs and lows, ensuring they come out stronger.
- Team Dynamics: A shift from a team member to a leader can disrupt existing team The mentor has to ensure a smooth transition, safeguarding the team's morale.
The Mindset of a Practice Owner
For the mentorship to be effective, the practice owner must embrace certain mindsets and beliefs:
- Patience: Leadership growth is an organic process. It's essential to allow your mentee to grow at their own pace.
- Trust: Believe in their potential, even when they falter. Your trust will instil confidence in them.
- Open-mindedness: Be receptive to their ideas and methods. Every leader brings their unique flavour to the table.
Why an External Coach Can Make a Difference
While in-house mentoring is valuable, there are areas where an external coach, like myself, can be a game-changer:
- Depth: Being a third party, I can delve deep into areas that might be uncomfortable within an employer-employee dynamic. Honest discussions and addressing concerns that might be avoided in an internal setting ultimately leads to more genuine growth.
- Safe Space: The aspiring leader is more likely to express their concerns, apprehensions, and challenges in a space where there’s no fear of repercussions. This enables them to address and resolve issues more effectively.
- Regular Checkpoints: With regular coaching sessions, we can map out clear goals, track progress, and draw insights from real-life challenges. These consistent touchpoints provide structure, allow for timely feedback, and creates a sense of direction.
The Cost of In-house Mentoring vs. External Coaching
Beyond the time and energy, the financial implications of in-house mentoring can be hefty. Consider the time you invest in mentoring – time that could be spent on other critical business operations. Hiring an external coach can be more cost-effective in the long run, not just in monetary terms but also the mental energy you save.
In conclusion, while the aspiration to grow leaders from within your team is commendable, recognising when to seek external assistance is equally crucial. A blend of in-house mentoring and external coaching can ensure that your future leaders are well-rounded, confident, and ready to help you steer the ship.