Hal Kvisle is big on mentoring. Too bad other CEOs aren’t following his lead
March 19, 2012
Hal Kvisle, who retired as Trans-Canada Corp.’s CEO in the summer of 2010, doesn’t particularly like the word “mentoring.” Yet ask around the corporate Calgary hierarchy about those who have, so to speak, an executive thumb, and it’s clear Kvisle has a reputation as a CEO who freely and generously sprinkled his wisdom amongst rising and established executives in this country.
Maybe he’s just being humble, but Kvisle, 58, says he received more than he gave. And he’s inclined to strip down the word − mentoring − to a more congenial and egalitarian one: “Discussion.”
“I don’t spend a lot of time engaged in formal structured mentoring,” says Kvisle, who took over TransCanada in 2001 and shepherded it far beyond its leading role in pipelines into one of the continent’s largest independent energy producers. In 2008 he was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year.
“To me, the connotation of that word ‘mentoring’ is that some wise man comes into the room and sits down with the victim and presents them with a whole bunch of penetrating questions and then gives them advice at the end of that session.
“I don’t know that that’s a particularly useful process. I think a lot more valuable one is for different people in the industry − perhaps one is more senior than the other − to have conversations about the complex issues that we have in business today, or that we face in terms of leadership.”