By: Anne-Marie Sorrenti

Mentorship’s Game Changer is Leadership Coaching

Over the past few weeks I have been honoured to work personally with each of our mentees in the magnificent and inspirational atrium of the Aga Khan Museum. Before meeting, the girls completed the Birkman Method® assessment. In our private consultations, we discussed the results generated by the questionnaire, which allowed the girls to talk about their interests, and to describe the productive behaviours, the needs, and the less productive (or stress) behaviours that are unique to each of them. We also considered leadership styles, potential work environments, and career choices that align well with their interests and needs.

The girls were so excited to get their feedback. Many were initially skeptical about whether the reports would accurately reflect their personalities, but most were surprised by how well their interests, behaviours, and needs were captured. “I do react that way when I am stressed,” said one GEMgirl. “I do love detail work,” said another. “I do prefer to work in groups!” said yet another. They came away from our consultations not so much focused on the career ‘titles’ as on the type of work environment that would best suit their leadership style, the way they interact with others, the type of activities they enjoy, and their thinking patterns. In a world where new types of careers are emerging at a rapid rate (social media specialists did not exist until a few years ago, for example!), the value of a creative and flexible approach, even within the bounds of the traditional professions, cannot be underestimated. The key message is that environments that allow our underlying needs to be met will in turn encourage energized, productive and satisfying work situations.

I have urged all the girls to share their reports with their mentors, and I have enjoyed speaking with these incredible women about the ‘mentoring approach’ that might work best for their respective mentees. For example, some GEMgirls prefer a more direct and frank communication style while others prefer a more diplomatic approach in their one-on-one relationships. Knowing some of these personal preferences accelerates and enhances the mentoring process. All GEMgirls and mentors are welcome to contact me over the course of the program with any questions they have relating to our consultations. Remember, self-knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence is contagious!

Anne-Marie Sorrenti is a leadership consultant with a special focus on women’s advancement and empowerment. She is a certified Birkman Method® consultant who offers workshops, leadership forums, and individual coaching services. She holds both a law degree and a PhD from the University of Toronto. She serves on the Board of Directors of GEM.