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“Business Coach of the Year” & “Inspiring Leader”

This week, Miklós Palencsár, a contributor here at Decision, won yet another prestigious international award. Mr Palencsár was named as one of the world’s Inspiring Leaders at the 2021 Inspiring Workplace Awards; he is the only Hungarian to win such an award. In honour of Mr Palencsár’s success, we are publishing portions of the interview from when he won another award this year: CEO Today Magazine’s Business Coaching Leader of the Year Award.

CEO Today: Please introduce yourself, your role, and your organisation.

I am the CEO and founder of Mentors & Partners Group, a leading Central European business mentoring and consulting firm, and also a founder of the RISE Human Development System, the international developer of the world’s most modern and premium assessment solutions.

CEO Today: What inspired the beginnings of Mentors & Partners?

For 21 years, I have been the private mentor of CEOs, company presidents, business owners, head coaches, sports general managers, and university rectors/presidents. This role combines traditional business coaching and consulting, because teaching and mentoring someone requires prowess in several key fields. These fields include creating business strategies, building up product concepts, re-organising teams, companies, and management, sales and team development, image and branding, communications, etc. I built up an international network of high-level experts across these different professions to better serve my private mentoring partners. This process led me to turn private mentoring—which is individual, independent, and only grows by way of personal recommendations—into an organised, “firm shape” where consultants can introduce our products —the modules of private mentoring—and sell them to potential clients. My main inspiration was to mentor people inside my company and show what we can do to a wider target group. And of course, to emerge from the corporate “hamster wheel” and to find new, interesting projects and create new success.

CEO Today: What are the things that set you apart from other consultancies in Hungary and the rest of Europe?

Business mentoring is the methodology that stems from private mentoring. We always focus on the main decision-maker’s real goals, both personal and professional. Every cooperation starts by establishing an understanding of these goals, because that is the one and only way you can develop businesspeople who are not only successful/rich, and in sports not just successful/winning, but who are also happy and satisfied people, people who can actually enjoy their work and life. Because of that, we create very long-term partnerships, and if we start to collaborate with a partner, most of the time, it is a never-ending connection where we can reach more and more success together. To produce this methodology, our style is also totally different from anybody else on the market. We are direct and totally honest. We do not say nice things to our partners just to launch or continue a project. For me, I was successful as a private mentor when I launched the firm, so money was not a motivation anymore. So, we always make decisions and modify our advice based on objective facts, not based on the income that we can earn from a project. The third difference is that we have an exceptionally strong international network, so we have the advantages of a multinational company, but we are locally focused too, which makes us much faster and more dynamic than a larger firm.

CEO Today: What have been Mentors & Partners’ main achievements over the past 12 months?

This is difficult. We began as a small firm just five years ago, and I promised myself that I would inform my team about every significant success. This past year, there were weeks when I needed to write a celebratory or congratulatory email every single day. Maybe that we doubled our revenue and profit? Or that one of our startup partners, who built their entire company up with us over the last few years, was able to earn 24 million EUR revenue in 2020? Or that the RISE Human Development System and its assessments have become the main HR tool for many international companies to develop their top management? I can also say that we are using RISE to prepare 12 national teams and 56 individual athletes for the Tokyo Olympic Games, teams that we have been advising since the qualification stage. And I definitely need to say that receiving prestigious international awards, like this one, that we earned. Because just receiving an award does necessarily mean much, but it does if you can earn prestigious international recognition from a small country like Hungary, especially in a field like business development.

CEO Today: How do you stay motivated?

I created business mentoring, our special business development methodology, so that I could love my work. And I really do love it. Our clients keep me dynamic, and I love success. For me, success comes in many forms. It can be an owner of a small, local company earning enough money to buy their first home. Or it can be an Olympic gold medal with a team that we mentally prepared for the Games. But it can also be an athlete who may not win any medal, but who reached their maximum performance with our support. Or we can change a multinational company’s culture with a re-organisation project that affects the lives of thousands for the better. It is a big sentence, but I am really lucky that I can say that, many times in my life, that somehow I did something good for the people, and a few times I can say, I made this world to a better place, of course in my own little area.

CEO Today: What are your most important tips for success?

I know it is kind of cliché: stay true to yourself. Based on our RISE methodology, I am a strong Expert character, which means I can be harsh, overly critical, and someone who wants to reach his maximum and wants everybody around me to reach their maximum. For a long time, I thought it was not good that I always needed to act nicer towards others and hide my real opinions. No. I just needed to find those people in my private life, and those in the business world, who like the person I am. I have a favourite TV show, and there is a sentence that stuck in my mind: “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love anybody else?” I am not saying that this sentence follows me, but it definitely keeps me successful.