The 8th Habit – Pete Beaumont
Written by Tracey Duke
With a focus on designing cutting edge learning programmes, for the world’s leading blue chip corporations; BT, Citigroup, Accenture, & Thomson Reuters being just a few, Pete Beaumont knows a thing or two about nurturing talent within high performing teams. A passionate mentoring professional, he has supported leaders, and professionals in over 30 countries across the globe.
I caught up with the former SVP and Global Learning Director of Citigroup, to get to the core of what it means to mentor and the vital importance of taking the time to invest in yourself.
Pete good morning! Thanks so much for meeting with me today; I’m really looking forward to this chat. As usual, we will jump straight in with a little background to your story.
Well, I’m South African, born and bred. I arrived on these shores on 21st January 2000 and I haven’t left! I absolutely love it here in England; it’s a great place to be and it’s where I pretty much started my career. And who needs constant African sunshine anyway.
I spent the first 15 years based in London, a couple of years in St Albans and then recently I moved to the beach in Bournemouth, which I love!
So, a little background; I actually started out working in Harvey Nichols as a sales assistant selling Armani suits; I think they were paying me the minimum wage of around £4 an hour, but I was straight off the boat, desperate for money & needed the work. Things got off to a great start and in my first weekend I sold around six suits; a big deal considering you usually only manage one. It kind of kicked off my career leading to a move from sales to HR and then to learning and consulting.
Ok so straight off, there’s a great talking point that I’d like to jump on. Given that you were working with a luxury brand, what was it that connected you to the customer to secure those hard to get sales?
I’ve worked with numerous luxury brands as a consultant, and when you’re selling or speaking to a market that is perceived to have everything, you have to earn the trust of your customer and understand their deeper values to spot what they are really searching for.
And that’s a big part of mentoring too. Do you really understand the world of the person you’re wanting to help? Do you truly care? Do you have a genuine desire to want to help?
So much of this is about integrity. People are way more perceptive than we think, and will sense when you really want to help them. And then, boom, all of a sudden you have the ability to speak into their lives, because you have a genuine desire for them to grow.
One of the secrets of success, if I were to put is as simply as that, is to let what you do be driven by a mission to help others.
You have to connect with your customer’s values because then you’re talking to their core.
Because you and I both know that it doesn’t matter what your bank balance stands at; it’s how you feel about yourself that matters at a deeper level.
Absolutely! And so you need to contextualise and understand what the customer wants, in the context of their lifestyle. And you’re not there to make a judgment, because at the end of the day we’re all looking for the same stuff.
Coming onto mentoring, a famous counselor and author John Eldredge said that there are two things we all need to know: Am I worth loving? Do I have what it takes?
These are fundamental questions that we’re all asking. And if we can help people to find the answers to those questions, then we’re doing something really important for them.
With mentoring, it’s about understanding the context in which a conversation is taking place and what world they are living in. And then it’s about calling out the potential you see in them. A mentor encourages, shares their personal stories, and helps the mentee see any blind-spots they may have that is stopping them truly coming alive.
Because the focus of your work is now on mentoring and coaching clients.
Yes. I have a real interest in behavioural psychology, coupled with a want to help people grow. I recently felt that the time was right to try something really different and so I’ve joined Interactive Workshops. Essentially, we design & facilitate learning experiences for Blue Chip clients and some of the biggest brands around the world. Part of the success of our work is due to us focusing not just on surface layer performance, but on the underlying mindsets of the talented professionals and leaders we train. Understanding how people think and then giving them the tools that will help them grow and improve performance is what it’s all about. And hopefully they may even like themselves (and others) more.
Most of the dysfunctional behaviour I’ve seen as a mentor is because many amazing people are still posing; they’re pretending to be someone else, because they don’t like themselves. As a result, they say and do things that they don’t really mean.
If we can learn to value the unique way we’re wired, we’ll find a new ease with which to do life and tap into a pot of creative energy that we never could before.
So how do we tap into and renew energy, given how much an average day can zap it?
It’s a combination of nurturing, replenishing and protecting it. A simple thing like going for a run or a walk in a beautiful place, or spending time by the sea could renew your energy.
What many of us don’t realise, is one of the main things that saps our energy is unhealthy dialogue in our heads. If you’ve got constant chatter in your mind worrying about what someone else thinks, or chastising yourself constantly for that one mistake, it will drain you before you’ve even done any kind of work.
One of the great things about mentoring is that it helps to bring perspective, insight and hopefully encouragement to others; by helping someone see the truth in who they are and build genuine confidence, it helps to bring those voices under control. That puts you in a position where you can be fully present, you can be fully yourself.
Just imagine if every day you could wake up with a healthy disregard for what people think about you. Just imagine how awesome that would be! You could walk into work knowing what your purpose is, knowing what you can do and execute it with conviction. Then leave at the end of the day knowing how well you’ve done, go home and be fully present there without any of that energy zapping dialogue in your head.
When you no longer have to pose as someone else, you will be in a position to truly live and give to others, because you’re doing it out of a place of contentment and fulfillment.
So being mentored well can impact your entire life; business, personal and family life.
And you’ve hit the nail on the head; at the end of the day, we need to be there for those around us, without the distractions. We can’t do that unless we’re in a good place ourselves.
And you can get to that place; it is possible. And here’s the big thing; some of the things we believe about ourselves, are not true. If we can help people to understand that, then they can free themselves up and not become a slave to emotions or perceptions of events that are wrong and that just steal joy and energy from us. I think that mentoring is about that, just as much as psychology. It’s about having an opportunity for those beliefs to be challenged in a really healthy environment, so you can be yourself.
As a mentor shares from their own experiences, it often validates the feelings of a mentee. So often we think that we’re the only ones struggling with challenges and insecurities. When we discover that someone we respect has gone through the same stuff it can change a lot.
Those perceived truths are, very often, the thing that holds us back from taking the next step and, very often, overcomplicate or potentially destroy opportunities for us.
Exactly and that’s why it’s so important to choose your mentors well; they have to have the right personality, be someone that inspires you and has the patience to help you to dissipate untruths. A mentor can be anyone who is in a position to give advice, wisdom and encouragement. They need to be great listeners and, above all, have a desire to champion you.
You can read a thousand books, but the fact of the matter is that when you talk, you process things and that’s when the noise in your head starts quieting down. The noise is there because you have unresolved questions and issues. When you articulate and bring those things into the light you’re able to find, and resolve them, with a lot more peace. You can then focus all your energy on being creative and doing whatever it is you do.
Helping others to find their voice and come alive, is what mentoring is all about. And that, as Stephen Covey says, is the vital 8th habit.
Pete thank you so much for your time today; it’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Connect with Pete on LinkedIn or check out his company website http://interactiveworkshops.com