Australian mentors reveal the key skills executives want to develop

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Many successful people have something in common — they all had access to more experienced players to help them on the way up.

While mentors won’t have all the answers, they are a good sounding board and can point in the right direction to advancement and promotion.

The downside is that the right mentor might be hard to find.

Mentorloop, an Australian startup with a cloud-based platform, does the matchmaking online.

Since Mentorloop launched in 2016, the company has facilitated more than 4500 mentoring matches.

From this aggregated pool of data, Mentorloop finds that the skills people want mentors to help with are:

  • Stakeholder Management (40.86%)
  • Project Management (28.57%)
  • People and Team Management (15.63%)
  • Strategic Planning (14.95%)

And their goals they want mentors to help with:

  • Career Progression (27.05%)
  • Enhance My Network (23.81%)
  • Identify Skill Gaps (20.6%)
  • Industry Insights (16.92%)
  • Connect With The Next Generation (6.41%)
  • Pay It Forward (5.21%)

Lucy Lloyd, co-founder and CEO of Mentorloop, says there’s a swing away from technical tasks to people skills.

“As repetitive tasks become automated, there is a greater premium on what are traditionally considered soft skills — but which are management’s bread and butter — critical thought, leadership, negotiation and analytical skills,” she says.

“These are not honed by studying, they are honed through conversation and practice or in other words, mentoring.

“This is borne out in our data, both on the mentee side, when identifying skills they want to develop, and on the employer side, when identifying what ‘success looks like’ for goal setting with mentoring programs.”

Lloyd says many are looking to their peers, or those just ahead of them, to help develop skills they see as important in becoming a better manager or future leader.

“They don’t want to wait for development opportunities to come their way,” she says.

“If they are not self-driving their own development they feel like they are falling behind. In an environment of constant learning, asking for help is the new superpower- not being afraid to step up and seek the answers you want.”

Angel investor Tim Ferriss, the author of The 4-Hour Workweek and Tribe of Mentors, says the best mentors give you the ability to find answers yourself.

“Look for mentors who don’t necessarily give you answers but who walk you through the process of how they might think about making the proper decision given all of your particulars,” he says.

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