From the desk of the CEO
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From the CEO’s desk

Being a Director requires people to exercise judgement and apply themselves thoroughly to act in the best interests of the company, and its broad range of stakeholders.

The director skill-pool in South Africa is small, with many young directors appointed to meet the drive for diversity. The business environment is simultaneously becoming more complex, information flow is accelerating, and social expectations are evolving at a rapid pace. The IoDSA has had many requests for older and/or more experienced directors to provide mentoring to assist directors in managing this dynamic situation. Such one-on-one mentoring is an intensive process, requiring time, dedication and commitment from the mentor and the mentee.

In response to this need, the IoDSA launched the Mentoring Circles in 2014 (formerly called Directors Circles). The topics for the Circles were based on the outcomes of the 2012 Courageous Leadership Conference, and subsequent research. The topics for the current cycle of Circles are based on the King III requirements, and on the personal and social competencies of the Chartered Director development path. The feedback from the Circles has been overwhelmingly positive.

At each Circle, up to 15 current or aspirant directors discuss one of topic, with input from two experienced mentors. The discussion is facilitated by a qualified coach to assist in gaining maximum insight and learning. While some technical aspects are discussed, such as the appropriate application of King III, it is mostly the very human issues relating to being a director that are discussed and mentored. Topics of discussion have included how to raise difficult issues without being ostracised by peers; how to manage destructive board directors; how to speak out against unethical practices; how to manage fears relating to job security, reputation, and not fitting in. Short personal exercises at the start of each session help participants in deepening their awareness of their motivations, drivers and values – aspects all crucial to powerful, effective, emotionally intelligent and courageous leadership.

Every Circle is evaluated by participants. Constructive suggestions for change have also influenced the Circles.  Mentors and participants report gaining meaningful insight into how to manage the problems discussed. Participants have noted that the Circles are the most valuable course/event they have attended.

The Mentoring Circles run approximately twice per month, from 16h00-19h00, and each is limited to a maximum of 15 mentees and two mentors. Criteria have been developed to become a mentor (click here for criteria). If you are interested in attending the next Circle, click here to book.

South Africa needs courageous leadership across all sectors of society. The IoDSA is proud to be assisting the business sector to produce better directors, better governance and better boards through the Mentoring Circles.


Angela Oosthuizen

Chief Executive Officer