How to build your personal advisory board

by Nov 6, 2018

What to consider when you create your own personal advisory board

A personal advisory board is essential to help you at every stage with your career strategy. Here are some tips on how to find the people you need.

Career transition, and even daily career management, can be challenging. Research from 3Plus has found that women are less likely than men to have a career strategy beyond the KPIs given to them by their boss. This puts them at a significant disadvantage in times of career crisis. They have to react to circumstances because they have not been proactive on an ongoing basis.

One way to get around this is to create a personal advisory board; an inspiring source of personal and professional advice. It serves as your “vision board”. You can bounce ideas and create a safe environment to test any off-the-wall ideas, without fear of judgement.

Finding people to participate in this is never easy, especially if you are trying to put together a cohort of mentors to act in this capacity. There is a professional myth that we should have only one mentor at a time, but there is no need for this. Research suggests that there are advantages to having multiple mentors who can each play an active role in supporting the individual’s career and personal development.

Nor does it have to be a formal situation where all members sit down at a meeting, physical or virtual. This is an ephemeral structure which you tap into from time to time in an informed and strategic way. It can be via personal meeting, email, phone or even social media. The key element is ongoing communication.

Composition of your Personal Advisory Board

Personal Advisory Board

How you choose your personal advisory board will depend on your specific needs. It can be made up as follows:

  • Career management advisor – Someone who is familiar with the challenges of developing your career, in line with your goals.
  • Personal/life advisor – An old wise friend can quite often fill this gap, or else a professional who has walked in your shoes. This is very helpful to women in particular, who tend to be juggling many challenges.
  • Sector connection – Someone who knows the sector well, especially if it’s a new one. They will be full of insights into developments and trends, as well as the key people involved.
  • Technical specialists – One contact even put her hairdresser in this category! It will depend on you – what sort of specialist knowledge do you lack? Financial, communications, soft skills – all of this knowledge is vital.
  • Curators The person who has great reach and can help you with the “who and where” questions. This is even better if they can facilitate introductions.
  • Mentor or role model – This is great for your current role. It should be someone who really knows what is going on for you.
  • Sponsor/’Door-Opener’ – It is really important to have someone in this role, although it may take a while to position yourself strategically in order to be connected to the key influencers.Think of it as a long game. If you are mid-level, you might be lucky to come to the attention of a Board member. But in general, think of two levels above your current role as a place to aim for.

3Plus has a wide array of coaches and mentors, with a wealth of different expertise.

Tips to create a Personal Advisory Board

1. Personal insight

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” said Aristotle.

When you kick off any mentoring relationship, it’s important to have done your inner reflection work. You need to be clear on your goals, values and visions. This will give you clarity around your expectations for the relationship. Download our Career Reflections Worksheets if you need help.

2. Aim for diversity

Broadening the depth and reach of your Personal Advisory Board will add enormous value to the options you might consider. Make a list of your top 10 trusted network contacts and check how homogenous it is. Look for a mix of gender, age, disciplines, and even ethnicity. A diverse board will enrich your experience and help you grow. Don’t look for an echo chamber. Try and enlist a devil’s advocate; someone who brings a different outlook and will challenge you.

3. Stay flexible and dynamic

Your Personal Advisory Board should not be static. You will need to enlist different people for different reasons at each stage of your career. Because it’s a notional construct, there is never a question of letting anyone go. Out of courtesy, you may wish to thank someone who has helped you and tell them you need more support in a different area. They may even be able to recommend someone new.

Find out more about the mentors and services that 3Plus has to offer with a complimentary 30 minute phone call:

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3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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