Erna Vanden Wyngaert

Erna Vanden Wyngaert

  • Industry

    • Consultancy
    • Engineering
    • Manufacturing
  • Functional expertise domain

    • Change Management
    • Learning & Development
    • Strategic Management

Business Mentor profile

  • 30 years of experience in Consultancy, Engineering & Manufacturing
  • Leadership experience in diverse multinational environments
  • Seasoned change manager
  • Active coaching & mentoring experience

Unique Erna

Pilates, skiing, and extensive traveling are some of the things Erna likes to do most. Except for Antarctica, she has 'sniffed culture' on every continent and learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Her reading list is ridiculously long, mostly phantasy and SF books. Management books do not make her list anymore unless they are practical and instructional.

Erna is motivated by purpose and vision, objectives, and ambitions. Standing still is a slow death. The movement she craves can be a sprint but a marathon as well.

No heroes for Erna, though she admires people who gracefully achieve their goals, almost like a dancer. A Richard Branson, i.e., who handles things more lightly, step by step, with a belief in progress.

"Start with yourself" is her motto. Every change starts there. The parallel with corporate change management programs is obvious: if you, as CEO or sponsor, do not embody that change, it will not succeed.

Young Erna, she'd give the advice that's it's okay to be a little rebellious. You don't always have to be obedient and follow the rules.

Erna was mentored early in her career by her N+1. She gave her a lot of freedom to experiment, encouraged her to do things differently, find her way and take on challenges. She asked the right questions and gave tips without taking over.

Sometimes, people are stuck in patterns and a fixed worldview. When faced with matters that don't fit the pattern, there are two options: coaching by asking lots of questions or mentoring by giving advice. Sometimes people are better helped with advice and need to hear the shared experience, inspiring and speeding up the learning process. This encourages them to try things that they otherwise would not dare. Mentoring gives a push as a source of inspiration. A good mentor listens well (and talks only 30% of the time), analyzes, dares to put the finger on the wound to make progress.

Expert by experience, Erna concludes that coaching and mentoring is heavily underrated as a tool in career building.

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