You’d like to think you learn a lot on the way to becoming a leader. Much of it is technical knowledge, acquired through working in different functions and roles.
For example, in his 20 years at McDonald’s UK the fast food giant’s CEO Paul Pomroy has been in product development, finance, supply chain and general management. It’s a breadth of experience that’s given him an essential understanding of the “rhythm” of the business, he says.
But there are some things that your own experience can’t teach you. We all have blind spots of one sort or another, which can be harder to address when your name’s on the CEO’s door.
It’s why many leaders seek out a mentor or executive coach with experience at a similar level. But how do you know you’ve found the right one for you?
At Management Today’s Leadership Lessons Live conference, Pomroy explained what made him choose his executive coach of the last four years, former chair of Admiral, Annette Court.
“One of my reasons for choosing Annette was that McDonald’s didn’t have great gender diversity within the leadership team at the time. Having a female perspective that was missing from the business was important to me.
“From a personal side I also wanted someone who understood what being a working parent was, and Annette has a great track record of being promoted from within a company - which was similar to myself.
“I could have gone with a more ‘stereotypical’ option, but Annette gives me the perspective I miss otherwise. She keeps me honest and pushes me to do the external stuff. I knew she wouldn’t let me off lightly and that’s been the case.”
Image courtesy of McDonald's