Coaching and Mentoring
A lot has been written and debated about coaching and mentoring since I was introduced to it many years ago. During that time I have been challenged to identify my own various styles for communicating, learning, leading and managing which has led to me eventually finding my own style within the coaching and mentoring environment.
What’s the difference?
Coaching can be viewed as a short-term activity (although several coaching sessions can be agreed) and is about helping someone work through a specific problem they are experiencing. The coach should spend around 80% listening to the individual explain their understanding of a specific issue whilst the other 20% is asking questions to probe and challenge allowing them to dig deeper for the solution – most of the time they have the answer within themselves but it’s been overlooked due to pressures and stresses – coaching is providing a safe place to explore and analyse the key issues which leads to the solution!
Mentoring is a long-term activity and is about sharing your experiences with someone in order for them to learn from you and identify the best course of action to take. A relationship is formed between the mentor and the mentee and the mentor is usually available for queries and issues giving advice and guidance as the relationship progresses. The objective of mentoring is to support and encourage individuals to reach their goals and achieve their own successes.
What are the benefits of coaching and mentoring employees?
Coaching and mentoring an individual makes them more valuable to your organisation by developing and enhancing their skills—both professionally and personally – and creates a sense of loyalty in return.
By being interested in the growth of others, you’re showing them that you care about their progress.
Coaching and mentoring shouldn’t just be seen as activities for new recruits or under-performing individuals – it’s for anyone, at any level, who wants to and needs to work smarter and develop their own knowledge, skills and behaviours.
Coaching for Development
Before you can begin the change process, consider the point from which the individual will begin to learn. Consideration should be given to the individuals competence with the subject matter.
Some individuals may know a great deal and others may know nothing at all, yet we cannot expect individuals to progress unless we start from the point they have already reached.
Using the five stages of competence, can give you an understanding of where to begin and can also help to recognise when a change has stuck.
No doubt you can relate to these stages yourself when you think back to learning activities such as: learning to ride a bike; learning to swim; learning to drive and learning the skills you have that have enabled you to become the person you are today.