CEO mentoring

CEO mentoring

17 January 2021
Veerle Seymus
Veerle Seymus
  • Mentoring of a CEO

  • Sigasi is a fast-growing IT scale-up founded 13 years ago. The company has a lot of growth potential at an international level. Therefore, a new strategic direction has been decided.

    Ambits Business Mentor Bart Briers mentors CEO Bob Seghers who joined Sigasi in 2017. Bob is an open-minded, solution-oriented jack of all trades who doesn’t fear challenges. He reached out to Ambits for a sparring partner.

    Bob seeks leadership support to achieve ambitious targets. More specifically, he wants to align all stakeholders on the strategic direction. He also wants to make sure that all team members are fully engaged and motivated to contribute to company growth. Bob needs everyone to give the best of themselves. Knowing how to openly discuss potential emotional burdens within the team removes roadblocks to further growth.

    Bob and Bart briefly discuss their mentoring journey.

  • Bart's tips for mentors

    1. Be truly interested in your mentee and his/her case
    2. Refrain from selling yourself: if you are trying to sell someone you are not, you'll fail to help the mentee
    3. Come prepared and be extremely flexible timewise in every session. Take the time to get to know the mentee, to learn the context. Don't do this in between meetings, but best at the end of the working day, so you have a big enough window to get into depth
    4. Ask a lot of open questions
    5. Dare to voice your opinion: the mentee deserves and expects your advice

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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