Unique Cross-Mentoring - Learning From Each Other

August 31, 2020

For C-level executives, high potentials and experts

Our economy needs leaders with a high level of emotional intelligence, managers with digital know-how, and innovative experts who drive change in their companies. The coronavirus crisis has left no doubt about this need, if there were any doubts to start with. But what is the best way for executive education to address this need?

This is easily answered: by bringing people together to learn from each other. That is exactly what is happening in the new cross-mentoring program developed by INAMERA in cooperation with the WU Executive Academy. From January 2021, high potentials and top-level executives as well as experts from different fields will have the chance to learn with and from each other based on a mentoring concept that is matchless in Austria. The program centers on digital skills, personal development, and a love for innovation and creativity

Banner pic of the cross-mentoring program
The unique cross-mentoring program brings together high potentials, top executives and experts.

Former top manager and multiple board member Gerlinde Layr-Gizycki has recently started cross-mentoring programs through her company INAMERA, aiming to close knowledge and competence gaps by bringing people together to learn from each other. Her motto is: one person’s knowledge is another one’s development.

Cross-Mentoring Revisited

The Cross-mentoring Program developed in an exclusive cooperation between INAMERA and the WU Executive Academy is unique in Austria. Participants go on a 12-month learning journey, sharing in-depth knowhow and developing an appetite for innovation and change before receiving their final certificates.

Helga Pattart-Drexler, Head of Executive Education at the WU Executive Academy, loves the idea of bringing experts and managers of varying levels with a wide-ranging area of expertise together to benefit from each other.

Portrait Helga Pattart-Drexler

Helga Pattart-Drexler

  • Head of Executive Education at the WU Executive Academy

Cross-mentoring is a wonderful opportunity to get people thinking and stepping outside their realm of experience. Learning from each other on an equal footing is essential for driving innovation and digitalization as well as developing as a leader.

"In our program, not only young leaders benefit from experienced managers, but also top managers from the digital natives and experts from a wide range of industries from each other. It offers the perfect matrix for the development of emotional intelligence, digital intelligence, and opportunity intelligence, i.e. the ability to use change as an opportunity. The coronavirus pandemic is only the most recent reminder that these are the competences executives need to strengthen in order to support necessary transformations within their companies”, says Gerlinde Layr-Gizycki.

But the benefits are not only great for the participants, but also for their employers: They support their managers in professionalizing their leadership skills, promote retention with the company and establish themselves as an attractive employer. 

An important innovation factor is the exchange between different companies and industries – realized in a confidential way, of course. “Often problems a company grapples with have already been resolved by other industries, sectors, or markets,” says Layr-Gizycki. Participants stand to gain a lot from this treasure trove of experience – and that is true not only for the mentees but also the mentors, as 20 participants per round make for more than 50 business contacts.

Pic of a cross-mentoring session
Many new business contacts are guaranteed, with 20 participants each with different experience, from different industries.

Career Boost, Exchange Among Experts, and Digital Change

Starting January 2021, three part-time programs will be offered to different target groups:

  1. The “Future Leader” program has been particularly designed for executives and high potentials who seek to evolve into leaders and are currently planning their next career move. As a part of Career Mentoring, top executives will be assigned to them as their mentors, sharing their experiences with mentees and giving them pointers. In the course of impact workshops and deep dives on topics such as “Digital Leadership,” “High-performing Teams,” and “IoT and Digital Networking,” they will receive suggestions and know-how.

  2. For motivated experts of any age, the “Impact Exchanger” program is the perfect choice: in the course of Peer2Peer Mentoring with experts from other companies, they can review their experiences and expand their know-how. Impact workshops and deep dives will focus on, among other topics, “Participation Processes,” “OKR,” and “Expert Organization.”

  3. The “Change Maker“ program offers innovative Digital Reverse Mentoring for top executives. An exchange with digital natives is set to make them ready for a digitalized world and collaboration across generational borders. Impact workshops and deep dives will provide insights into current topics such as “Rapid Prototyping,” “Digital Customer Journey,” and “Growth Marketing.” An exclusive round table will tackle the issue of “Neuroscience.” “Especially when it comes to digital skills, we are lucky to be able to draw on the wide-ranging expertise and the handpicked network of Talent Garden. The experience provided by Stefan Bauer and his network benefits all of our participants directly,” Layr-Gizycki adds.

Portrait Gerlinde Layr-Gizycki

Gerlinde Layr-Gizycki

  • Founder of INAMERA

All three programs aim at enabling the participants to combine existing with new knowledge, thus developing and implementing innovation within their companies.

Individual and personal power dialogues between mentors and mentees as well as impact workshops and content-specific deep dives on the topics of leadership, agility, creativity, innovation, and digital skills will connect the participants of all three groups and give them the opportunity to enhance both their emotional and digital competence. What is more, they can use additional exchange offers outside their chosen programs in order to expand their professional network. The online journey “Agile Leadership” by the WU Executive Academy and a workshop in which mentees can demonstrate their creativity will top off the range of offers. Online tutorials and webinars will teach participants everything they need to know about agile leadership.

Pic of a cross-mentoring session
Besides individual mentoring sessions, workshops about agile leadership and creativity round off the offer.

The Best of Different Worlds Combined

Not just the programs themselves but also the story behind them is special. They are the results of joined efforts by various cooperation partners: the WU Executive Academy together with INAMERA is in charge of organization, academic quality management, and the online learning journey. Talent Garden runs the show with regard to digital skills and choosing digital natives. Artist Melanie Eckl-Kerber from Art Adventure has agreed to join as a creativity and team-building coach. Gabriele Lang from the consulting company Create Success Consulting will be teaching in the area of innovation and emotional intelligence. The online evaluation InnoSparker of UP'N'CHANGE, which she co-developed, gauges the creativity and innovation potential of participants and is the basis for matching mentors and mentees in the best way possible. Michaela Mayrhofer from A1 will shed light on the dos and don’ts when it comes to successfully implementing an agile organization based on her own professional experience. Which brings us to Gerlinde Layr-Gizycki: as the mastermind, inventor, and initiator of the programs she will use her large business network to attract high-level and innovative mentors. Together with the program’s advisory board consisting of Barbara Stöttinger, Dean of the WU Executive Academy, Monica Rintersbacher, Managing Director of Leitbetriebe Austria, and Michael-Viktor Fischer, Managing Director of SMATRICS, she is in charge of finding the right mentor for every mentee as well as developing and assuring the quality of the programs.

The programs will be launched at the WU Executive Academy and at other choice locations from January 2021 and, in case the pandemic requires it, be offered digitally. Participants can also join at a later point during the 12-month program. Applications for mentee spots from companies are already being accepted.

 For more information about the Cross-Mentoring program, please click here.

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