Małgorzata Warda is a business practitioner & leadership trainer, accredited executive coach and mentor
In this opportunity, we were lucky enough to interview Małgorzata Warda and learn a little more about her. Read on to find out what we discovered.
What was your first job, and how would you relate it to what you do now?
I was always fascinated by sales. I started to work as a teenager and my first job was obviously related to this area. I worked as a shop assistant in a local florist shop and later in an international retail chain. This was a very valuable experience for me – I’ve learnt that the ability to ask the right questions and listen to the customer’s needs or challenges is really important. And also that the role of the shop assistant is not to just sell but rather be a problem solving support. Having discovered that I started to be very successful in sales. Thus, after my university studies I obviously went to business – I subsequently moved from basic roles in sales to the position of Commercial Director and General Manager in international companies. Nowadays, after over 20 years spent in corporate structures, I work as a business trainer, MBA lecturer, executive coach & business mentor. And I am using my sales, restructuring & management experience to develop managers to real leaders and to make companies thrive. My area of expertise are in-company leadership & sales mathematics trainings, MBA lectures as well as individual executive coaching and business mentoring processes.
Coming back to the initial question, I think that I am still benefiting from the discovery from my teenage years, when I first dealt with customers as a shop assistant. The skill to ask the right questions & listen to the needs & challenges of customers is nowadays one of the key success factors to design adequate customer solutions. Therefore, I am also conducting trainings on active listening and asking powerful questions. On a challenging market those skills are crucial not only for leaders who want to be successful, but also for sales & marketing teams.
Tell us a little bit about your work methodology
I am a fan of experiential learning. Not only kids but also adults acquire new knowledge through experience and skill sharing rather than passive listening. One of my areas of study during university times was teaching methodologies. Having combined them with my learnings from the best management & coaching programmes that I participated in, I developed my own teaching method called LERIS. It is an acronym consisting of the first letters of the words – Learn, Experience, Remember, Implement, Succeed. The participants of my business training value the real-life examples that illustrate the topics we touch upon, but also case studies and exercises that stimulate self-reflection and learning through experience. But the learning does not stop at the level of experimental learning. It still needs to be implemented.
Research shows that even 87% of the knowledge acquired during training by the participants evaporates within the next weeks. Why does that happen? Even after inspirational training, managers return to work, start to respond to the accumulated e-mails and… do business as usual. Therefore, it is important to work on new habits after the training, so that the new ideas get incorporated in the daily routine. How can this be achieved? One of the solutions that I recommend to my Clients is to address individual challenges of the managers via 1:1 business mentoring or executive coaching processes. The difference between mentoring and coaching is the experience that can be shared by the mentor with the Client – for example leadership experience. Therefore mentoring is sometimes called “coaching+” – the plus stands for the relevant experience.
I like to compare mentoring to sports – if you want to perform better you can work on your individual needs with a dedicated trainer. The personal trainer will build on your strengths, provide you with constructive feedback, and motivate you, if needed so that you can reach your best individual results. This way you can build new habits and achieve a real change in your performance.
What makes you different, and why should people work with you?
As mentioned in the very beginning I am trying to listen to my Clients and discover the real challenges. Sometimes they need to be redefined. Rather than selling services, I am designing solutions that respond to their needs. This concerns business training, management skills development processes, optimization of business processes and cooperation processes between the teams within the company. It is also important for me to involve the participants in the preparation process – it helps to decrease the resistance to change and helps to implement new ideas.
As far as mentoring and coaching are concerned, I am an accredited coach but also an internationally certified business mentor. Thus, I usually in a blended formula – depending on the particular needs of the individual person. My approach seems to be successful – you can check the testimonials of my Clients on my LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/malgorzatawarda/. Based on my observations this way of individual Human to Human support proves to be very helpful to managers in the era of hybrid work. Nowadays, the need of having a neutral but experienced sparring partner, who can help to calm down emotions and reduce the level of loneliness in facing challenges, is becoming even more important than it was before COVID-19.
We saw that you were recognized for academic excellence, besides being the first ranked woman during your Executive MBA studies. If you were to give some advice to the people who read us, what would you recommend to them to achieve accomplishments like these?
I really like to learn from others. “If you want something extraordinary, dream, dare, do it with great mentors” –this quote from Shirley Liu, Global Vice President of Loréal describes very much my approach towards learning & personal development. Besides being a mentor myself, I am also looking for mentors who can accelerate my own development.
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
Robert Kiyosaki once said, “If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there”. This sentence quite accurately illustrates the idea of mentoring. It is usually not necessary to reinvent the wheel yourself. It is better to find somebody who has already done it, learn from him or her and build your own ideas on the foundation that already exists. In the challenging times in which we are living now, mentoring is in my opinion one of the most effective methods to accelerate the growth of individuals and companies.
Special thanks to Małgorzata Warda for being part of this excellent interview.