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Executive peer support groups – it doesn't need to be lonely

The journey to the top of an organisation or indeed building your own business, can be uncertain, challenging and lonely –  the ambitious often have to walk the ‘road less followed’.

Whilst these overworked executives, ambitious managers or enthusiastic entrepreneurs (let’s call them ‘aspirants’) may well be unconditionally supported by loving family and friends, or by employees and staff who share the business goals (it is their livelihood too!), they will still have some dreams or doubts and fears that they are not able to share.

Today’s business environment is dynamic and unsure, yet, even with such support, successful executives and business entrepreneurs are usually driven for success by a vision that not many others can understand, let alone appreciate or even be able to suitably cope with when the aspirant experiences doubt.

This often leads the aspirant to internalise their thoughts around business issues, which can result in a spiral of faster, more complex thinking, normally at the end of a busy day in which there has already been lots of interactions. Such a thought processing approach rarely results in the just clarity that the aspirant is seeking.

The reality, as experienced executives have learned, is that no entrepreneur, regardless of how bright, insightful or visionary, can possibly know all of the answers when it comes to clearing a path for business success. Therefore, effective entrepreneurs find ways to break out of their solitary “thinking trap,” and engage in good conversations with peers who can challenge their assumptions and ideas. This is because such “thinking allowed and aloud” provides the power to transform individual thinking by highlighting subtleties, identifying complexities, and suggesting new perspectives. All such activities are necessary to sensibly address business challenges.

When sensibly structured and facilitated, groups provide an effective process for stimulating both individual and group thinking, especially when they meet regularly and are chaired by an experienced executive with coaching and mentoring skills. In effect, a guide who has already travelled that way.

Sometimes these expert groups are called ‘communities of practice’. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘executive peer support’. Either provide the professional and challenging opportunity for aspirants to practice in a supportive environment.

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