The importance of a mentor in business can never be understated. Learning from someone who has built a successful career can help make the difference when forging a career of your own. With this in mind, we see Arsenal visit Villa Park this weekend – and it’s the first time that Remi Garde will face the man often cited as his mentor; Arsene Wenger.
Garde’s career has followed Wenger’s almost hand in hand. As an 18-year-old, he started his career in Lyon’s youth team, making the first team aged 22. After six years he moved to RC Strasbourg, just as his soon-to-be mentor Arsene Wenger had done 15 years previously.
He then signed for Wenger’s Arsenal as a player in 1996 and immediately struck a bond with the manager. Former Arsenal defender Adrian Clarke recalled “It was almost as if he was there to teach the rest of us what Wenger wanted in terms of his passing, movement and attitude… I think most of us saw him as a virtual player-coach, even though he wasn’t part of the coaching team.”
It was clear that Garde was destined to be a coach and wanted to mould his style on Wenger’s. As he played out his days at Arsenal, he continued to learn his trade under Wenger, preparing for a management career of his own. Even after his retirement in 1999, Garde would stay close to Wenger, commentating together on French TV – continuing his studies under his mentor.
He returned to his boyhood club, Lyon, as a coach in 2003 and graduated to his dream job of manager eight years later. And despite a limited budget and a young inexperienced squad, he drove Lyon to Champions League qualification. See any similarities?!
We now have Garde at Villa and we’ve already seen the impact, with points starting to come through noticeable results against the likes of Manchester City. But this is a real test. Not only are Arsenal flying high in second place, but it’s a chance to see two similar ideologies bump heads in a battle of master and apprentice.
Whatever the result, Garde’s career is true testament to using the experience and advice of a mentor to build an exceptional career. While Garde is very much his own man, the parallels are clear, and it is an example that all businesses can learn from.
Intuit QuickBooks is the official main sponsor of Aston Villa Football Club.