How can IDN’s mentoring programme help your board career

How can IDN’s INsights 2021 Director Mentoring Programme support your director journey?

By Karen Loon IDP-C, IDN Board Member

Starting out on a board career is not easy, even for the most seasoned C-suite executives.  In fact, many people would argue that being a board director is not an extension of your career, but an entirely new one!

To support our INSEAD Directors’ Network (“IDN”) members, our INsights Director Mentoring Programme (‘the “Programme”) which is now in its third year supports IDN members to achieve their specific goals.

This unique programme encompasses one-on-one mentoring by an experienced mentor, peer learning with fellow mentees, as well as optional single mentoring sessions on a specific topic.

We recently asked Helen Wiseman, IDN Board Member, professional mentor and an experienced board director who facilitates the programme to share more.

Can you share a bit about the Programme?

The INsights Director Mentoring Programme is a structured six-month programme offered by IDN that is aimed at members of the IDN who are early in their board careers and who are seeking support from a highly experienced mentor based on a specific set of goals. These goals will be related to their current board roles and/or may be designed to further develop their board career.

Whilst in an ideal world, mentors and mentees come from the same geography, our mentors and mentees “meet” at a distance in keeping with INSEAD’s global positioning. What is key that the mentee can access mentoring support that will help them achieve their goals for the Programme.

The Programme structure is designed to ensure that mentees get the maximum out of the Programme and are not left to “drift”. The Programme is also in line with best practice mentoring programmes, whilst being delivered remotely.

Our mentors, who are experienced board directors volunteer their time and expertise in a way that maximises the value of their contribution and respects their time.  They have the opportunity to expand their networks and get exposure to a potential talent pool.

The role of the Programme Facilitator is to ensure that the programme is on-track through a series of monthly facilitated group sessions (“INsights Peer Mentee Calls”).

What is the time commitment of the Programme?

The INsights 2021 Mentoring Programme will be offered online.  It comprises:

  • Mentee and mentor applications and onboarding
  • Six monthly INsights Peer Mentee Calls (via Zoom)
  • Programme exit – Personal Development Programme, Survey/Feedback/testimonials
  • Programme follow-up, gather 2021 mentee/mentor referrals – “Pay it forward.”

A unique feature of the Programme is that mentees are part of a cohort of peer mentees who go through the programme together and share their insights and learnings with each other on monthly (facilitated) basis.  Subject to preserving confidentiality of mentees and mentors, the mentees get the benefit of a much wider set of insights compared with one-on-one mentoring.

What are some of the benefits to mentees?

Our mentees from the 2020 Programme have shared that they have benefited immensely from the programme in a broad range of areas including:

  • Opportunity to network with similar minded professionals, enhance personal brand and director style
  • Gaining fresh perspective, new ideas and different ways of thinking
  • Providing feedback on practical challenges in the area of board dynamics
  • Knowledge sharing

One of our mentees has shared that “Normally it takes years to come up the NED learning curve…and a few mistakes along the way. My mentor saved me a year or two easily”.

“Board roles can be lonely: you can’t always turn to the other board members to discuss your ambitions, hopes, challenges and doubts. Who provides you with the necessary diversity in perspective? This IDN programme answers that question, with a mentor, and with a community of peers from all over the world” IDN 2020 INsights Director Mentoring Programme mentee

Can you share a bit more about the profile of the mentors?  Why should I volunteer as a mentor for the Programme?

We draw upon our pool of highly experienced IDN members to be mentors.  Some of them are willing to be a one-on-one mentor for the programme duration and some are happy to be called upon for single-session mentoring based on their specific expertise or experiences. This ensures that there is a wide pool of mentors and who are able to share a broad range of experiences with mentees.

In addition to broadening their networks, many of our mentors have shared that they have learnt a lot as mentors, and that they have found the experience of supporting the lifelong learning enjoyable.

“I always find the mentoring process incredibly rewarding and enlightening. It’s wonderful to feel that I am contributing to someone’s development and there are myriad opportunities to see my own development needs mirrored in the conversations that we have” – IDN 2020 INsights Director Mentoring Programme mentor

I am interested in the joining Programme as a mentor or mentee.  What are the next steps?

Our application process for the IDN INsights 2021 Director Mentoring Programme will open shortly.  Potential mentees should note that selection is based, inter alia, on clarity of their goals and commitment to completing the programme – including joining monthly Peer Mentee calls.

INSEAD Directors Network, IDN – An INSEAD Global Club of International Board Directors.
Our Mission is to foster excellent Corporate Governance through networking, communication and self-improvement. IDN has 1500 members from 80 countries, all Alumni from different INSEAD graduations as MBA, EMBA, GEMBA, and IDP-C. We meet in live IDN webinars and meet-ups arranged by our IDN Ambassadors based in 25 countries. Our IDN website holds valuable corporate governance knowledge in our IDN blog, and we share insights also to our LinkedIn and Twitter  followers. We highlight our member through quarterly sharing of their new board appointments and once a year we give out IDN Awards to prominent board accomplishments. We provide a peer-to-per mentoring and board vacancy service and we come together two times per year at the INSEAD Directors Forum arranged by ICGC. We also engage with ICGC on joint research.

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