Our client, a young entrepreneurial plc with 3,500 employees was enjoying a benign phase of uninterrupted growth, and had a pressing need to build up the leadership and management capability of the company.

Like most high-growth, commercially savvy businesses, managers historically become managers at the client’s organisation as a consequence of growth, and being technically able within their function, not as a result of being selected, or prepared for, a managerial position.

This created a shortfall in management competence which was then compounded as functional managers were promoted to business leadership roles.

The Challenge

The challenge for the client was to find the most effective combination of learning and development approaches for the company to employ to optimise the development of the leader and manager population.

As well as investing in ‘management 101’ skills training for all managers, leadership development for more senior people, and executive coaching for selected business leaders, the client sought a stronger self-directed element for building up the business leadership capability.  Leaders needed to be held accountable for achieving their own desired results.

Morgan Clarke’s Approach

One answer, which built self-reliance, more focus on talent development, and improved the internal coaching capability immeasurably, was to establish an internal Mentoring Scheme whereby senior leaders with experience supported, guided and challenged more inexperienced mentees.

For this client, the Mentoring Scheme was owned by a programme manager from the Global Leadership Development Team.

Morgan Clarke provided know-how, a process and framework, Mentor and Mentee training and coaching for the programme manager.

A Mentoring Guide was produced which acted as an aide-memoire and provided advice on roles, responsibilities and practicalities, key skills and behaviours and a structure for mentoring meetings/calls.

Finally, potential Mentors were vetted, approved, then profiles written up describing Mentors’ experience and ‘value proposition’ as a Mentor, and placed on the client’s intranet site in an easy to read database of suitable Mentors.  Mentees were tasked with working with their line managers to ensure that their leadership development goals were clearly defined, then selecting two or three likely Mentors with appropriate experience or attributes and then contacting them to find the best fit.

What was Achieved

  • Potential successors for more senior roles were brought on quicker.  1 in every 5 Mentees on leadership development programmes were promoted to more senior roles during their involvement with the Mentoring Scheme or as a direct result of their participation
  • ‘Taking ownership’; people taking more responsibility for resolving their own challenges and issues to achieve desired results
  • Improved commercial acumen; accelerated professional and personal development
  • For the Mentors, the satisfaction of developing colleagues and sharpening their essential skills as developers of others
  • For the client, the internal mentoring approach proved to be a high value/low cost development option, used extensively.

If you face a similar challenge contact Clive Watkins on + 44 (0) 1306 621600 or email him at