The Characteristics of CEO Mentors

We live in an era where customers demand personalised, tailored products and/or services, delivered by highly adaptable frontline people. New products today can be replicated and duplicated by the competition well before the close of business tomorrow, and newly acquired skills become obsolete almost overnight. 

Successful companies realise that they need to learn fast if they want to stay ahead of their competitors. ‘Pivoting’ is an overused term but there’s a reason why transformation businesses and consultancies are the most sought after.

They’re finding and nurturing creative, adaptable and skilled associates who view change with enthusiasm rather than resistance and in-turn becoming mentors for change. When working with CEO’s, it is essential to be an empath but it’s also key to challenge often fixed mindsets with a view to opening up their limitless potential. 

What Are the Characteristics of a CEO Mentor?
Google and Netflix, for example, place a premium on innovative leadership compared to the old-school faceless corporate machines evident throughout history.

Whether it can be boiled down to improvements in our education systems or the generation of young talent that’s emerging, employees nowadays are demonstrating that they are capable of operating in their roles without large amounts of supervision, leaving the higher tiers of management to focus on the bigger picture.These CEO’s couldn’t possibly excel in their roles without these qualities; 

Humility and Vulnerability
We have moved away from the dictatorial approaches of the past towards more of an open network leadership style. Whether you’re a parent or a CEO, there is only one demand. Be human. Many of us grew up in an environment where emotions were considered a weakness, being wrong a flaw and demonstrating fallibility was frowned against. This need to be perfect created distance between leaders and their teams and this in turn impacted culture and communication. 

CEO mentors have a willingness to learn and understand that being honest about knowledge gaps is the first step to effective mentorship. Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, is an advocate of employees taking risks, on the proviso that employees learn from these mistakes of course and as such is accepting of any realistic issues that occur from said risk.

Remember Carl Sagan’s old quote?  Theres “no such thing as a dumb question” ?  That remains as true as ever especially when it’s coupled with the above vulnerability quality. We need to create environments where it is safe to question, to demonstrate curiosity, and to offer feedback both downwards and upwards. This level of open communication will only stand a business in good stead.

A CEO mentor will generally ask more questions than his entire leadership team.   They will create a forum for safe, confidential, open and honest conversation. They will dismiss imposter syndrome, they will eradicate loneliness and they will re-energise their clients giving them purpose and a clear direction.


These days, being a CEO means being brave.  Having the ability to tackle new product lines, industries and  technologies is part and parcel of the new age CEO.  We’re not talking about investing heavily into something that makes no sense whatsoever – we’re talking about what is perceived as a calculated risk.

Jacob Morgan wrote a great article on why great leaders are risk takers.  He spoke about Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream, who grew into her high profile role by taking risks.

Shellye told Jacob this: “Those who learn and are able to take the best risks will drive the best performance. With all these things changing around you, unless you’re a risk-taker, you’re just not going to be able to capitalise on the opportunities that exist out there.”

In this time of technological advance, the need for strong leadership has never been more of a necessity.  Business needs innovation and employees need strong yet creative leadership to follow and aspire. And that aspiration is driven by shared values, aligned purpose and human character. The time has come to truly open up which leaves the door more than open for a strong CEO like you to flourish.

If this article resonated with you, then ask yourself these questions;

  • Do you own a company and are looking to take it to the next level?
  • Are you suffering from imposter syndrome or loneliness in the workplace?
  • Would you like to confidentially discuss your business goals and potential exit plans with a view to living a more fulfilling life?

For advice about how the arc can help with CEO mentorship feel free to contact us today for a free consultation.


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