virtual business mentoring failure

Failure In Leadership: Is It Your Best Teacher?

Let’s face it: no one wants to feel that they have failed, but sometimes failure in leadership does teach valuable lessons that perhaps can only be learned when things don’t go as they should.

Failure gives growth opportunities, which benefits and shapes how we manage ourselves and lead others.

Failure as a lesson for the future – some key takeaways

  1. Don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
  2. Understand that failure, while uncomfortable, allows you to raise your self-awareness.
  3. Failure provides opportunities to stop, take stock and reinvent.
  4. It improves flexibility of thinking, and those who learn from their failures will do better in the future, but only if they use what they learn productively.
  5. No one ever gets everything right all the time. Allow yourself the compassion you would show others, then move on.
  6. Don’t blame others or become a victim yourself. Spend time working on solutions based on what happened. Solutions and planning will help, but becoming stuck on apportioning blame won’t.

As a leader, you may feel expected always to be right and never fail, but it’s almost guaranteed at some point, something will not work out as you wish, and that could be through simple circumstances that you or your team had no control over. What will make you rise and shine is how you handle that failure. You have the perfect opportunity to learn, as do your team and your company. This is where leadership skills and learning how to build from failures are part of the coaching and mentoring services we offer here at EL Mentoring, helping you to grow as a leader.

Learning to tackle hurdles productively is vital to moving forward. Successful leaders are not those who always get it right. They are the people who work to handle the situation, move on and learn from it for the future.

Using failure to grow

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘change is the only constant’? This is something successful leaders understand. They realise that staying flexible will allow them to accept the need for change and be adaptable. This positivity helps them channel positive energy into finding solutions, rather than wallow in negativity that can quickly grow when things don’t go as planned. Your mindset as a leader will influence those around you. If you panic, they will panic, and that achieves very little. It’s okay to admit when you don’t have all the solutions, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It can open up a whole stream of ideas and innovative solutions from a broad spectrum of people, one of whom could be sitting on the perfect answer. 

Look forward. If you keep looking back, you will focus on the obstacles and forget to strive for outcomes. Watch, look and learn. Being prepared to take risks will show you how far you can go. Sometimes, ‘no risk’ will equal ‘no reward.’ as a successful leader, you must sometimes take a risk. Successful leadership is about getting it right, not being right.

Our last words

‘Don’t complain about failure’. Use the valuable lessons as a road to success.

home-office-couple Effective feedback

The Art of Effective Feedback

Feedback that is constructive can often be difficult to receive, and is just as difficult to deliver. Whilst research indicates that we want feedback, it also shows that we are not comfortable or not willing to deliver it. However the better the feedback that people receive the more successful an organisation can become.

Effective feedback is something that we need to practice. It is little wonder that constructive feedback is something of an art. When done properly, constructive criticism can help to offer clear expectations, a fresh perspective and also improve employee performance and morale. It can also reduce any conflict and toxicity that may exist in a team.

Be direct

The most effective way of delivering good constructive feedback is to do so in person. It is best not to be given in the written form. Delivering feedback to a person directly shows a level of respect for team members. When this is not possible there are alternatives. For example, zoom could be used as a form of face to face feedback delivery. The key point is that both parties should be able to see each other during any feedback session,

Be specific

One of the hallmarks of constructive criticism is being specific and offering actionable insights. A good employee wants to know what they are doing well in their job and what they could do to make their performance better it is the responsibility of the person giving the feedback to provide them with the tools with which they can do this stop

It also matters how feedback is timed whilst many busy managers may prefer to wait for an annual review to offer feedback it is in fact better for it to be done in real time when issues almost irrelevant. The context of timing is also important, to be truthful and stick to facts, many unfortunately turn to jokes as a way of trying to make negative feedback easier.

Focus not on people but on actions

Too often people are uncomfortable giving feedback because they feel it is personal and do not want to hurt someone’s feelings however not offering constructive feedback is avoiding conflict and this can undermine your team.

Good constructive feedback focuses on the product and not the individual with criticism never being personal. An employee who misses the deadline is not necessarily lazy incorrect work does not signify incompetence. Focus your efforts on actions rather than perceptions use the “I” technique, “I recommend,” “I believe” to underline this.

Offer solutions

A good leader is someone who focuses on solutions and can get to the heart of any constructive feedback. It is important to offer specific problem solving recommendations or examples that will help to improve things. The feedback that you give is not a call to action but the solution that you offer could be

Make it a conversation 

Empathy is important to good feedback; it is not just about you are telling someone what has gone wrong and giving them feedback it is also about listening to their feedback to you. There should always be a conversation involved in good constructive feedback.

choose a mentor leadership and trust

Leadership And Trust – The Basis Of A Successful Business

For a business to thrive and become successful, having an effective leader in place is critical. Whether that’s you or you have a leadership team in place, how they motivate, inspire and build trust will affect the success of your business. Gone are the days when leading with a rod of iron gets it done.

A strong business relies on trust in managers. Whether between leaders and team members or the business with clients and suppliers, you must work openly and honestly. That way, you can build valuable, lasting relationships to achieve sustainable success.

A lack of quality leadership and trust will eventually cause problems. It does not matter how good your products or service are. Your staff will be less keen on taking risks or feeling able to give feedback, stifling creativity and business growth opportunity. Morale is likely to be low, and productivity is affected. It could also lead to higher staff turnover rates. In fact, if your business is suffering from high staff turnover, one thing to consider is your leadership style. If you require assistance with developing a leadership mindset that works for you and your team, then training and mentorship programmes can help.

Trust gaining leadership

There are several facets of trust gaining that you will need to embody. These include:

Open, honest, clear and concise – always be as honest as possible, clear and transparent to avoid confusion and uncertainty. Even when news is unfavourable, getting it out in the open will reduce the need for speculation and rumours, which fuels distrust, and such feeling can quickly spread and have even the most ardent supporters becoming sceptical. 

Clear expectations – leaders must ensure that team members understand their roles and responsibilities. Leaders should set good examples with their own behaviour, offer and accept feedback regularly, allow team members to have a voice, and feel empowered to support you.

Be accountable – this is one area that will gain you respect, always take responsibility when things go wrong and be responsible for your actions and decisions. If you show accountability and how to handle getting things back on track, your staff will see your leadership as a commitment to getting the best in place, even when things haven’t always worked out.


Trust is driven by open and honest communication with team members. Being a part of a team with strong leaders who understand the challenges and celebrate the successes as part of the team, yet know how to guide, lead and model expected behaviour through their own actions, are more likely to build a team that will work harder and make a more significant contribution to the success of the company.

A leader who can inspire and motivate a team is essential. However, not all leaders can get this commitment in a way that will ensure long-term success. A team that works with you rather than for you will fair far better. They will trust you as a leader and be more likely to go that extra mile when needed. Learn the difference between simply managing people and being an effective leader, and gain those skills to help you and your team make a positive difference.

Key skills

How to Develop a Leadership Mindset – Cultivating Key Skills As A Leader

Whether you are a team leader in a company or you are in business for yourself, you will at some point find yourself in a leadership role. How you develop your leadership mindset makes all the difference when it comes to your successes and failures. If you want to develop a good leadership mindset, then you need to ensure that you have the right key skills to be a leader.

What Key Skills Should A Leader Have?

Plan for success

Planning for success helps to make a good leader. It is essential to understand the ideas and concerns of your team to ensure that everyone is in alignment. When you present ideas, you can also defend any decisions by illustrating how they contribute to the overall plan. This ensures that it is easier to work with any concerns. 


A good leader is someone who listens to their team. It is essential to understand their ideas and concerns. The members of any team matter so listening to what they have to say will ensure that it is much easier for others to want to follow your leadership. Good communication skills, both listening and speaking, are essential tools for every single person in a leadership role. 

Willingness to face challenges

As a leader, challenges will undoubtedly arise, and in the position of leader, it is your responsibility to assist your team in overcoming them. Having the right leadership mindset means that you will look on problems as opportunities and recognise the fact that every challenge brings with it the opportunity to not only learn but also to grow. 

Keep your team focused on these outcomes and make sure that they avoid becoming weighed down with issues. Difficulties must always be faced head-on and make the best of a situation rather than running from it.

Be decisive

The right leadership mindset is one that requires the ability to make quick decisions, communicate them with confidence and stand by those decisions whilst still having enough flexibility to adjust your path when necessary. 

Be humble

People like a leader who has confidence, but they won’t easily follow someone who is aggressive or arrogant. They want to see humility and a leader who admits when they are wrong and helps to put things right. More importantly, a leader who is humble will value the skills and contributions of the team who for them and will apportion credit where it is due. 


Leadership mindset means being comfortable with change. When a leader has a fixed mindset, they can begin to miss those important developments and can easily fall behind. It is important to not just look at the present but anticipate the future  in order to make sure that you are prepared for what will be coming up. 


A true leader is someone who has empathy for those around them. They want to see everyone succeed. This empathy, however, needs to work for the best of the business as well, and this means dealing with situations where someone is not able to deliver the required results.

diverse team of leaders

Benefits of a diverse team of leaders

If a company wants to offer its workforce equal opportunities and provide the best service to both clients and customers, then hiring and managing a team of diverse individuals is essential. It is not, however enough to employ workers from different backgrounds. It is also essential that the leadership team of a company also reflects diversity. Here are just some of the benefits to be gained from having a diverse team of leaders. 

Greater breadth and depth of perspective and experience

When your leadership team has diversity, then there is a great breadth and depth of experiences within your organisation. This allows for a better ability to relate to clients, stakeholders and employees. It can even facilitate innovation, which is essential in capturing and then maintaining your market share. 

Greater chance of positive change taking place

Executives from backgrounds that are more diverse are more likely to make the kind of decisions that will be agreed upon by top leaders. This can help to put positive changes in place. 

Increase in awareness

Life experiences help to give a powerful filter which assists in seeing and engaging with those around us. When the diversity filters in a leadership team are increased, then awareness of the landscape that you need to navigate is also increased. This helps to improve everything from customer experiences to global opportunities. 

New opportunities

Diversity in your leadership team helps bring perspectives that can aid in pressure-testing judgements and assumptions. This promotes new ways of thinking, improves a growth mindset and enables an organisation open to new ideas. This can help with better employee engagement and empowerment. It also improves speed of decision-making. 

Attract and retain top talent

Putting together a diverse high-functioning team can take effort. However, this is rewarded by the ability to attract and then retain the top talent, which will improve your business strategy. End users are much better represented when their point of view is shared by someone at the table.

Valuable perspectives

Diversity can bring you disaster or success. It depends on the level of inclusion and cultural intelligence within the team. Differences in perspectives allow a situation to be viewed from a number of different angles so that better decisions can be made and ensure that all voices can be heard. 

Better relationship between customer and employee

When a leadership team is more diverse, then an organisation is better able to understand and also build better relationships with both customers and employees. A workplace who are engaged is the foundation for a good organisation. Such a good organisation will go on to provide a service to its customers that is exemplary. This, in turn, will keep customers coming back. A diverse workforce makes it possible for an organisation to meet and serve the wants and needs of its customers in a much better way. 

A Diverse Team Of Leaders Fosters Greater Innovation 

A leadership team that is more cohesive and diverse, one where the members can have candid and open conversations, can help to promote innovation and appeal to customers who are inclusion focused. 

choose a mentor leadership and trust

How to choose a mentor when starting a business

When you choose a mentor, it can be something that can help you make a real success of your business. There are a number of challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily or even hourly basis. These opportunities and threats that they face each day can have a real impact on the future of their business.  This is just one of the reasons why developing a relationship with those who have already been through this is vital if a new business wants to have the best chance of navigating the difficult roads that might be ahead of them. A mentor can also help by providing essential networking opportunities for their mentee within the relevant industry and has the potential to tip the scales in favour of success. 

What qualities should your mentor have?

Good qualities to look out for in a mentor include a passion for the industry, active listening skills, honesty, empathy and a dedication to learning. The relationship of mentoring is all about giving back and then paying forward. Mentoring should be mutually beneficial, with both mentee and mentor bringing something to the table. 

For some mentors, the idea of offering a new perspective on something in addition to making future business connections is the motivation for mentoring, whilst for a mentee having support and gaining experience are the main reasons to look for a mentor. For these reasons, it can be a good idea to choose a mentor who has a simillar work style. This will make the partnership more beneficial for both parties. 

A good mentor is one who will challenge and motivate whilst still allowing their mentee to make their own decisions and mistakes along the way. 

How can you find a mentor?

Finding a mentor may happen by chance, but it can also occur systematically. The best way to find a good mentor is to consider what your immediate and long-term goals are and makes sure you are visible in circles where you should meet the type of person who will help you to achieve this. This might be through conferences, tradeshows or even word of mouth. There are also professional mentoring services that can assist you. 

Potential mentors are everywhere, and you may find the perfect mentor for your business just about anywhere. Keep your mind and your eyes open to the potential, and you may even find them whilst going about your daily routine. 

Many mentors are incredibly active people both in the office and out of it and often give back to their communities

The relationship with a mentor is one of the most beneficial and important ones that can exist for any aspiring entrepreneur. Whilst finding a business mentor can be a challenge, if you approach the process with an open mind and some creativity, you can significantly improve any chances of finding the right mentorship that will help you and your business.


Resolving Conflict In A Mentoring Relationship

Successful mentoring relationships happen when both parties have the same expectations and a route in place to get there. This means the early setting of ground rules; both parties must understand what their mentoring relationship is expected to achieve and set boundaries for time and behaviour expectations. A good mentor can share information, support the mentee, and encourage them to develop their own views. The mentor should be able to give advice and guidance to assist the mentee with clarifying their ideas and reaching the goals set. 

The mentor/mentee relationship is a two-way process that succeeds when the parties have mutual respect and can listen and develop trust to establish a productive two-way dialogue. The mentee must be able to contribute substantially to create a mutually beneficial relationship. However, conflicts within mentoring relationships can happen. After all, you have two individuals that, without successful boundary setting, could have very different expectations of what the mentoring partnership should achieve.

Areas that may cause mentoring conflict

  • Cancelling or postponing meetings – one party is not fully committed to scheduled meetings, which leads to resentment, and the relationship can quickly break down.
  • Wanting more time investment – where the parties have different need levels. Meeting schedules can seem excessive to the other party, leading to conflict if it doesn’t settle.
  • Excessive expectation or over-dependence – a mentor can expect the mentee to become a clone and overload them with information and expectations. The mentee may also expect more direction and support than is reasonable or become overly reliant on mentor approval. Mentors may also excessively seek mentee validation, not allowing the mentee to develop their path.  
  • Lack of responsibility or manipulation – the mentee may hide behind the mentor and not take responsibility for their decisions or actions, blaming the mentor because they took their suggestion. Mentors may overly manipulate the mentee to carry out their workload in the name of learning.
  • The wrong pairing – sometimes, the mentor/mentee relationship is simply a matter of wrong pairing. Learning styles, experiences or expectations don’t align sufficiently to benefit either party.

Overcoming mentoring relationship challenges

  1. Set clear boundaries on time and expected outcomes for the relationship. Results must be measurable so both parties know when the job is done. Set behaviour boundaries that must be observed regardless of conflict.
  2. Mentors need to understand the role and limitations they have as a mentor. Mentorship training is worthwhile, as the skills required for effective mentoring go beyond job knowledge. A mentor needs to be able to pass on their skills to others.
  3. Identify whether the conflict results from behavioural or personality problems requiring different resolution approaches.
  4. View conflict as an issue of joint responsibility to avoid the blame game.
  5. Recognise when mismatched personality issues, such as the mentee’s over-confidence or the mentor’s domination, make the relationship unworkable.
  6. Accept that some issues may require outside mediation if no suitable conclusion can be reached. 

Mentoring relationships should be a positive experience for both parties, and when they work well, both the mentor and mentee will grow. Handling conflict is another lesson on the path to successful mentoring partnerships.


The benefits of networking with other business leaders

When it comes to career growth, active networking on a professional level is essential. There might be some off-putting connotations to the idea of networking. However, creating good professional working relationships is essential. 

Why is networking so important?

It is essential for business leaders to master the skills involved in networking. This is the same across all industries and regardless of your level of experience. Good industry networking is the difference between having an okay career and a fantastic career. 

With the right approach, networking can help you to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial with other professionals within your industry. With a solid network of professionals in place, you will be one of the first to hear about new and exciting job opportunities within your industry. You’ll also know when people with the right skills are looking for a new role and would fit nicely into your team and reap a whole host of other benefits. 

Who should your professional network include?

You need to make sure that you have the right contacts in your professional network. This is something that will help you to maximise your learning opportunities and career growth. You should consider building your industry network to include the following groups of individuals:

  • Former and current colleagues
  • Study peers and classmates
  • Friends in the industry
  • Members of the appropriate industry-related associations
  • Peers from other digital networks like LinkedIn
  • Recruiters who are specialists in your field

The type of networking that you do may vary but could include everything from informal chats at social events to attending events that are specific to your industry. The goal of networking is to open up the lines of communications and begin to make network relationships

The benefits

There are many benefits to be had from networking, and if you are not doing your networking effectively, then you could be damaging your career prospects. These benefits include:

  • Strengthening your business connections within your network
  • Tapping into your network when you need ideas and perspectives
  • Raising your professional profile
  • Helping you to grow your own personal brand
  • Getting access to job opportunities
  • Exchanging best practice knowledge with members of your network
  • Getting support and career advice
  • Boosting your confidence
  • Gain a perspective that is different
  • Develop long lasting relationships that can also be social as well as professional
  • Get answers when you have questions
  • Find your ultimate dream job

How do you start networking?

Building networks is incredibly beneficial for your career but for many individuals the work that is necessary to build up a network is not something that comes naturally. Not everyone is comfortable starting conversations with individuals that they do not know and even the idea of sitting next to a stranger at a conference can fill them with dread.

You can prepare for such eventualities by planning ahead and making sure that you have a couple of relevant points for discussion in your arsenal so that when you find yourself making small talk with new people you have something to discuss. Not all discussion points need to be about work, they are simply ways of getting conversations started. 

Leadership 2023

Leadership And The Workforce – 2023 Hurdles And Opportunities

The coming year is shaping up to be very different from previous years as far as workplaces are concerned. The challenges of hybrid working or full WFH, coupled with advances in AI and other big tech plus global skill shortages, loom ever closer on the horizon. Factor in the global economic downturn, higher energy costs, rising inflation and squeezed budgets too. What this all means is that the need for effective leadership in 2023 which engages fully with the existing workforce has never been more important.

The Rise of AI in Addressing Talent Shortages

Supply chain issues and economic uncertainty will continue to hinder the hiring process for many businesses. It is possible that rather than try to hire new talent, businesses may have to instead reorganise and/or re-train their current workforce. They can do so to fill skill gaps and meet growing demand. To this end, the accelerated adoption of AI and machine learning will become the norm. Data sharing, digital technologies and smart algorithms will become part of the automation of end-to-end processes across multiple agencies. 

Data Breaches May Become a Bigger Problem

Cybersecurity will continue to become even more crucial in 2023. However, cybersecurity specialist recruiters report an estimated 3.1 million positions waiting to be filled globally. Therefore, the hiring and retention of cyber talent is bound to become ever more competitive. This is particularly within the public sector.

According to statistics from gov.uk, 39% of UK businesses reported a cyber-attack in 2022. These are mainly from denial of service, ransomware or phishing attempts. This was down slightly from 2021 when 41% of cyber attacks on UK businesses were successful.

The sheer scale of attacks coupled with the cybersecurity skills gap means not only that companies are going to have to look at offering new recruits and existing staff greater incentives to join or stay but also that team leaders and managers must up their game to prevent the steady leaching of talent by improving working conditions and by fully engaging, developing and leading more effectively the workforce they have and the talent they need to recruit.

Diversity Will Become Essential

It is clear that as the cybersecurity skills gap is steadily increasing the onus must be on training, recruiting and retention of staff in this area. Plus, accelerating training programs throughout the education and higher education systems. Training of the current workforce must trickle down to junior level as well. This is in order for managers and leaders to better understand the capabilities of existing workers and how these can be quickly deployed into different areas of the business as needed. What is clear also is that workers must be encouraged to develop diverse skills such as design, marketing, communication and even psychology. That way, they can support businesses in staying ahead of rivals and threats from cyber-attacks.

Working From Home Will Present the Greatest Challenge for Leadership in 2023

As home and office morph into one and the same, this will present problems. Issues surround not only around data security and employee motivation but also effective leadership and the potential for burnout.

Leaders dealing with the coming challenges must remember to lead themselves by practising self-care. They must also create a good example of sound leadership.

Leadership development strategies

Leadership Development – Strategies to Consider

You might think that being a leader comes naturally and that the way it happens has been the same forever. Yet times have changed. Developing leadership skills throughout the company will reap benefits for you and your organisation.

Why Leadership Development Strategies Are Beneficial

A leadership development strategy is a place to start. Our guide to strategies will help you set a framework you can follow to set up your leadership development process. Be flexible to adapt to your business needs and nuances. Then you can find a strategic approach that suits how you want things to work. 

Leadership development strategies are underpinned by knowing your business challenges. As a leader, ask what the most significant challenges the business will likely face in the next few years. What is the most worrying thing the business faces? How can new leadership and management skills help? What skills are likely essential for your leaders to know and implement? And, how do their current skills match up? Don’t be afraid to consider business coaching and mentoring. This can help grow skills and strategies, whether you are the boss or a leader.

Do more than assess training needs

Of course, knowing what qualities you have onboard will help. However, discussing with your team to identify the implications for leadership development is essential and somewhat tricky. Work through your business objectives and hone in on the specific skills your leaders need to develop to achieve your aims.

If you have a leadership development team, have them create a vision statement for future accomplishments. It should show current and future courses of action to give clear direction and inspiration to inform action planning and goal setting. If you don’t have a team, it can still be achieved. Leaders can set about developing measures and action plans for each specific goal. They can track progress with critical metrics that work across the processes.

Set up a leadership competency model to align your leadership programs and processes. Identify what the perfect leader must know and be able to do and what training they may require to succeed.

Getting Feedback

Once you have your findings laid out, it’s time to present them and get feedback. Review with executives, and show them what you heard and your proposed response. Ask for the help you need, and be prepared to verify and modify. Once you have them onboard and committed, put plans in place to get the resources required and involve those who can make it happen. If you can give specifics to each of the executives and CEO, you will show you believe in what you are proposing and have your closure prepared and ready for a quick move.

Also, brush up on the skills required to be recognised as an authentic leader, show your commitment to your organisation and improve job satisfaction and workplace happiness to get the best out of your team. Being motivated, strategic and relevant is key to developing an effective leadership development strategy that will serve you and the business well. Remember that as times and technology change, there is always a reason to review and update processes to remain on top.