What leaders should know about sponsorship, cultural DNA and mental toughness

Welcome to the latest Madston Black e-news on executive coaching and leadership development. In this edition we talk about the value of sponsorship particularly with regard to women’s careers, we review a new book from Gurnek Bains of YSC and we link to some inspiring leadership principles from former Amgen CEO, Kevin Sharer. Additionally, we announce a new service offering in Singapore on the concept of developing mental toughness.


Why career sponsorship matters

Our CEO, Louise Kovacs recently gave a talk at a women’s networking event hosted by law firm, Hogan Lovells. The topic of her talk was The importance of sponsorship for career success. With the numbers of female leaders across the region still lagging, this topic is one of interest for leaders who are serious about supporting the careers of their talented women. Sponsorship is a form of mentoring but goes beyond the typical advice-giving and support. Sponsors are senior executives who are in a position to advocate for their mentees and provide them with career opportunities.

Read more about the research that supports the importance of gaining and providing sponsorship at our blogpost Read more ».


What we’re reading: Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization

This new book from Gurnek Bains claims that it will change the way you look at the world. We found the book to be an interesting and well-researched read that takes you on a wide-ranging journey through behavioural genetics and cultural evolution complemented by data from the extensive psychological testing undertaken by the author’s consultancy, YSC. Overlaying the science are many anecdotes from Bains’ travels to all corners of the globe.The book’s chapters cover seven regions of the world and each builds a detailed and nuanced picture of the culture of that region. The book will be useful for those who already have an appreciation of cross-cultural challenges but are curious about the reasons for the differences, as well as those who may need an introduction to a particular region to prepare for a new engagement.

For a detailed review of the book, click here to download the PDF.


On becoming a self-aware leader

In previous editions we have referenced CEO interviews from Adam Bryant’s Corner Office column and for this issue, we go back to one conducted in 2009 with Kevin Sharer, former CEO of the biotech firm, Amgen. What’s so valuable about this interview is hearing from someone who took a mature and balanced perspective on his role as a leader and how he actively sought constant feedback. What stands out is that his focus was not on particular tools and techniques but more on the conversations and interactions he had with his team. Some highlights of the interview are how he de-politicized the leadership team, how he worked closely with the HR team, and how he insisted people follow Rule 6.

The full interview can be read at the New York Times site Read more » (rule 6 is explained).


Developing Mental Toughness

As a new service offering in Singapore, we are pleased to partner with The Wholebeing Group to provide workshops and coaching on developing mental toughness. The programmes consist of an online self-assessment backed by workshops and follow-up coaching. The assessment instrument is the MTQ48 which originated in the UK and was co-developed by Peter Clough, former Head of Psychology at the University of Hull. The programme is designed to assist individuals to thrive in complex and uncertain environments. For more details on how the MTQ48 might fit with your talent development programmes, download the brochure here.