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One of the typically tacit roles assumed by you, the BPX, is that of mentor and advisor. Whether you’re an external consultant or internal employee, as a BPX there is an expectation of you to provide knowledge transfer to others as well as advance the development of others’ awareness. But, how is this effectively achieved?

Accordingly, it is useful to review the types of mentoring situations in which you may find yourself:

1. Providing Guidance to Management

Often, one of your primary functions as a BPX is to provide sound recommendations to management on business process and strategy. Your knowledge is sought after in your area of expertise; at times, you may be challenged in areas that are not within your comfort zone. However, you should be relatively confident and comfortable with the context of the advice you provide. Management primarily seeks a strategic view point with clearly-achievable actions for execution and delivery.

2. Providing Guidance to Peers in Differing Disciplines

Your BPX peers, too, look to you for innovative ideas and leadership in your area of expertise. Because of the nature of the BPX skill set, you are naturally a thought-leader in the area of your proficiency. There is an understanding that you will provide the necessary facts and details to your contemporaries who practice their skills in different areas of the business. Your ability to collaborate with others becomes paramount to create synergistic environments for idea generation.

3. Providing Guidance to Recipients of the Outcome

Of course, there are your end users: the beneficiaries of your implemented results. They, too, look for your confidence in the proposed and/or implemented solution. For these recipients of the final solution, you may be required to make a concerted effort to convince any skeptics of new ideas and improvements to business process in their area. Often, this is best achieved also within a collaborative environment, to create the best-suited result for the issue. To best do this, you will need to facilitate an environment of trust and credibility with the users.

4. Grooming up-and-coming BPXs

What about new, potential BPXs or juniors; who have yet to test their wings? This is also a critical mass to whom you will reach to transfer your knowledge and encourage their growth as a BPX. Your own ability to read people may be significant here, particularly as you will need to tailor your personal teaching style to best suit the learning style of your “mentoree.”

The importance of your personal style as an advisor

By virtue of the fact that the listening varies among audiences and that the expectations are diverse, it becomes evident that your skills in communicating are paramount to your success as a mentor. The phrase “trusted advisor”; has been widely bantered about in many circles and expresses the necessity of a BPX to not only “advise” his or her respective clients, but to also present relevant information that can be “trusted”: issue of your credibility and authority.

Your own ability to communicate clearly in a manner appropriate to your listeners is essential to your success as an advisor and mentor. You may consider yourself a guru in your area of specialty, but no amount of sage wisdom will suffice to make up for your lack of ability to communicate well with multiple audiences.

A BPX unequivocally cannot escape the requirement to be a conveyer of information; you will be seen as the authority in your subject area. Learn quickly to develop a signature communication style that dynamically adapts to not only your audience, but also the desired granularity in your message. That is, provide details only as required; express a big-picture summary to garner support.

Helpful Skills of the BPX to promote Mentoring

Some of the critical skills of the BPX which are drawn upon as an advisor include:

– effective, credible problem-solving ability (the proof is in the pudding: your track record of success should speak for itself)
-ability to assume risks outside of your realm of comfort: an indication of confidence in your solutions and your capabilities
-ability to create structured, plausible solutions: proof that you ‘get’ the problem, you understand it
-innovativeness and creativity
-facilitation skills: necessary to bring people together to collaborate and confer
-network-ability: the ability to create and utilize networks of knowledgeable others
-“helicopter-ability”: the ability to hover above a scenario, quickly dive into a problem-area, create a solution, and then soar back up!

Final thoughts

As a BPX, you will always be drawn upon in many situations to provide advice that marries together both your business and technical knowledge. You will be responsible for providing education for others. As a result, you may find it useful to examine the various ways in which you communicate to diverse audience.

Additionally, think about your broader skills as a BPX: how well do you do at managing the breadth of a situation? Do you see the big picture? Are you confident enough in your own experience and perception? Are you comfortable in your ability to create sound recommendations?

It is only with practice and having made mistakes along the way, that you truly test your skills as a BPX in a mentoring role.

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3 Comments

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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    Thanks, Helen.  Having a clearly articulated guide to the BPX mentor and advisor role is very helpful.  And your blog presents the opportunity for the community to add their additional thoughts and experiences.
    Andre Truong will be talking about this very topic at the Business Process Expert Knowledge Table in the SDN clubhouse.
    Hope you and others will join the conversation and continue it here in blogs or in the Business Process Expert General Discussion (Read Only Archive)
    cheers,
    Marilyn
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  2. Michelle Crapo
    “You may be required to make a concerted effort to convince any skeptics of new ideas and improvements to business process in their area. Often, this is best achieved also within a collaborative environment, to create the best-suited result for the issue. To best do this, you will need to facilitate an environment of trust and credibility with the users.”

    Yes – we need to trust you!  I would argue that you need to trust the internal skills of your customer technical team as well.  Sometimes it pays to remember that both the end-users and the technical users know more about some things.  Such as the way the company does business.

    Listen then present the solution.  Be aware that there are a million different ways to do things.  Try to collaborate with the company in a way that doesn’t “turn off” the internal resources.  IE compromise is a good word.

    Nice blog!  I agree with most of it.

    Michelle

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    1. Helen Sunderland Post author
      Hi Michelle —

      Thanks for your comments.  I couldn’t agree with you more!  Everyone has their own credibility and I would agree that acceptance of other points of view goes hand-in-hand with collaboration.

      Your comments are much appreciated!

      Many thanks,
      Helen

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