Testimonial mentee Laurent

Testimonial mentee Laurent

06 May 2021
Veerle Seymus
Veerle Seymus
  • Laurent is a manager at a well-known food production company in Belgium. He decided to take a mentor under his wing because he wanted to grow as a team leader.

    His mentoring journey ended successfully after six months Laurent testified.

  • Good morning, Laurent. Thank you for taking a moment to make time for us.

    Laurent, you spent about six months doing a track with one of our Ambits mentors. And I'm particularly curious about how you experienced that. I always start at the beginning of the trajectory, in the fall of last year.
    What were your expectations at the start?

    Good morning, Gerrit. Yes indeed, those six months went by quickly. My expectation? I was mainly curious. I had looked up something about what you did. After our introductory conversation together, the conclusion of that was: okay, now how do we get a fresh perspective on certain things? And so those were actually my expectations.

    Getting input from outside our company for once. We also have a lot of great people here who can help us along the way, but it was really refreshing to have someone who came from a different sector. That was important. Admittedly also someone who has worked in an international setting. Different cultures, different communications, and so on. But that was really my expectation, to see how we can look at certain things from a different angle. That's what it came down to.

    And how did you experience those six months, those different sessions with your mentor?

    Well, that became... You'll have to ask my mentor, of course, but I pretty much had the impression that the relationship went beyond mentoring. Those became very amicable sessions, actually. Those conversations took place in a fairly informal way.

    We laid out a few themes that we were working on, and then I would tell my story and that mentor would come up with certain.... Sometimes he would interrupt me and say, wait, did you think about that and think about this? And so that which at first seemed minuscule as input.... In the first sessions, I was rather wondering: how is this going to teach me anything? And suddenly I realized that those little things, that little feedback, and input, made me think differently. It showed me things that were already there, but that I somehow didn't think about.

    One of the main things we worked on was stakeholder management. And again, it's not that I didn't have experience with that, or I wasn't aware of that, but that comes up a number of times throughout those conversations: have you thought about involving that person in that? And indeed, once you have a very conscious plan for that, you can get results.

    Okay, that's good to hear. And now you've come to the end of that process.
    Where are you now? What is your feeling now?

    Well, at the end? Yes and no. We are indeed officially at the end of the trajectory, that's true.

    But, first of all, we discussed also larger, long-term projects. So, a lot of those things still need to be worked out. And so, with those, as I say, small inputs, I can go a long way.

    And my mentor has also let me know that he's always available, should there be any questions or any issues that need help.

    Okay, thank you Laurent for your open and transparent testimony. Thank you.

    You are welcome, Gerrit. I wish you the best of luck.

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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