Professionelle resources

Trusted Advisors

By Galia Barhava-Monteith

We know the importance of having a good romantic relationship, good familial relationships, good friendships, etc but have you ever stopped to think about having a different kind of relationship, a relationship that is career-oriented? This is not about gaining more clients, or business leads, but instead about having people that you can turn to when you want a different perspective on life, or advice, or the ability to tap into someone else’s wisdom.

Enter the concept of trusted advisors – people you meet throughout your life, largely in a professional capacity, for whom you have a great deal of respect, but who aren’t exactly day-to-day friends.

Invest in finding your trusted advisors

We find that while many career women have female friends they’ve known since childhood, many of the friends don’t understand the reality of working in large and complex organisations. As a consequence, the professional women can feel very lonely. This feeling of loneliness is exacerbated when they work in male dominated environments, which are very achievement-driven. Women’s desire for deep, meaningful relationships are sometimes difficult to establish when working under pressure. That’s why we coined the term ‘trusted advisors’ for this context.

Successful Women and Their Trusted Advisors

When we asked successful women who work in male-dominated environments for their secrets, one of the key themes that came out was ‘keeping it real’. By not taking themselves too seriously, and staying connected and grounded, these women remind themselves what it was like when they were starting up which enables them to have empathy and understanding for other young women starting up in the same environments. Of course, there is a role here for friends and family to provide perspective and reality checks.

Where trusted advisors can really add something more, however, are those times when successful women feel under pressure and maybe feel like they’re not good enough. Trusted advisors can help give them vital perspective by reminding them of their achievements, how they’ve handled difficult situations in the past, and how far they’ve come. Trusted advisors are also the ones who are most likely to give tough feedback which the women take because the trust and respect is there and there are no ulterior motives.

Where and how to find trusted advisors?

Here are four suggestions:

  1. At work! It’s about being mindful of the people you work with. They might not be your immediate colleagues but you enjoy being around them and you have a great deal of respect for them. Have that coffee that you’ve been planning to. Don’t make excuses, see where the coffee leads.
  2. Through new mums networks – many of us turn our noses up at the idea of those coffee
    groups but you’d be amazed to learn the number of professional women I know who’ve made some great friends, and met some great trusted advisors, through those ‘mum’ activities. The key is to have an open mind.
  3. Through Professionelle! The main reason we launched Professionelle was exactly that – to bring professional women together to forge these relationships. We keep hearing about women who met at one of our seminars and have gone on to form wonderful professional relationships.
  4. Through experimenting with lots of different networking organisation and events. Yes, we’d like you to come to us, of course, but we personally find we meet amazing women who become our trusted advisors in many places.

Take Stock

If you’re still not clear, ask yourself, who would you turn to if you needed a fresh pair of eyes to help you get perspective on a work situation? If you can rattle off 5 names, that’s great, you’re there. But if you can’t, then get cracking!

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  • Self-insight for success
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  • Successful working mothers
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If you would like to find out more about Professionelle and how we might benefit you or your organisation, please contact our Director, Jayne Chater on or 021 779 967.