Elite business network identifies top ways to enhance skills for Non-Executive Directors

Manchester-headquartered network for elite business professionals, In Touch, has produced a list of top tips to help enhance the skills of non-executive directors (NED) and leaders in 2020.

In Touch’s award-winning platform provides members with a range of tools designed to further develop and enhance their careers, including executive coaching, CPD accredited training courses, networking events and CV writing services.

Matthew Roberts, CEO of In Touch, said:

“Non-executive directors are vital to any organisation and the expert insights and specialist skills they can bring are invaluable.

“A non-executive’s role is to provide strategic and ‘bigger picture’ thinking, whilst also considering what the company needs and what direction they should go in to get there. Taking a step back and identifying your strengths and weaknesses allows you to become a better calibre of board member.

“Whether you’re already a non-executive director and looking for new opportunities, or you’re thinking of becoming a NED in 2020, our specialist team has rounded up their top tips on things you should consider to help you to succeed.”

(1) Network

According to a recent survey conducted by In Touch, 60% of members sourced their NED role via a referral or through networking. It’s vital that you take the time to form new connections, join specialist networks and groups, make yourself known to the right people and attend key industry events.

In Touch member and portfolio non-executive, Naomi Coxwell, believes networking was instrumental to securing her various NED positions. She advises other aspiring NEDs to “Speak to other non-executive directors” as it can be a “great way to get a grasp of the expectations and challenges of such roles.”

(2) Invest in yourself

A professional leadership and development coach will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to build skills and improve self-awareness. As an impartial and experienced third party, an executive coach will keep you accountable and support you in your continuous development.

Katrina Arnold, an experienced NED and In Touch member since 2017, worked with a coach during her transition to a non-executive career and said, “he really put me through my paces.” Just 12 weeks after starting her coaching, Katrina was offered her first non-exec position and advises others to invest in a coach as it can be a “faster route to where you want to be, with a guaranteed ROI.” She also added “a good coach will be with you all the way and is worth every penny.”

If you’re unsure about a coach then investing in training courses, webinars and events are a great way to up-skill yourself and ensure you’re staying ahead of the curve.

(3) Review your CV & Brand

Your CV is your first chance to make a lasting impression, so it’s incredibly important to make sure you are presenting yourself correctly. Ask yourself, does my CV effectively sell me?

It isn’t enough to simply list your career achievements; you need to demonstrate your personality and ability. Your CV should highlight the wider impact you have had as well as how you have consistently added value through your previous roles.

Ros Taylor, award-winning UK and international clinical psychologist, corporate and leadership coach and founder of RTC Leadership and Coaching, now part of the In Touch group, says it’s vital to work on your brand when enhancing your CV. She says:

“Many people are able to tell you what they do, but a lot of professionals fail to mention their achievements, transferrable skills and what makes them different to other aspiring NEDs.”

Having a poor personal brand can hold you back, especially with key decision-makers at any business. As well as limiting your networking opportunities, a poor and inconsistent personal brand can jeopardise the possibility of securing an interview. Many recruiters will review your LinkedIn profile as well as your CV prior to inviting you to interview, so your brand must be consistent both online and offline.

Your personal brand signals what you stand for, what you’ve accomplished and what you’re capable of achieving. Just as organisations of all sizes are protective of their brands, you should be protective of your brand and use it as a tool to build your career.

(4) Think outside the box

Thinking outside the box in all aspects is a vital part of any NED role. Going out of your comfort zone and communicating with people at other levels will provide you with a better-rounded understanding of the various issues faced by people at different levels. It will also allow you to offer sound advice and share your knowledge and experience.

Don’t be afraid to challenge and influence the views of those around you as this can be a key skill around the board table. Non-Executive Director and In Touch member, Vittorio Pataia, supports this advice and says it can be difficult at times to exert his influence on others as an independent director:

“You know what you would have done, in your time as an executive but you realise that you have to influence others to share your view so they, not you, can take the action and implement the strategy.”

For further information on NEDs, networking events and job opportunities, please visit: https://intouchnetworks.com/