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Coaching or Mentoring?

Which should I use?

The last few years have seen a significant increase in the importance of both mentoring and coaching as Business support activities that can be beneficial not only for individuals, but also for organisations.

In today’s volatile Business world, it’s extremely important for organisations to engage employees - both intellectually and emotionally. Through coaching and mentoring, employees identify themselves as a vital part of the organisation whilst creating a heightened level of ownership. It also improves employee engagement and retention, helping a company’s bottom line while also ensuring that employees feel committed to accomplishing their work in accordance to the company’s vision.

However, coaching and mentoring is not the same thing. Although they do share some common principles and processes, the two disciplines are used to achieve different objectives and are based on different types of relationships between the people involved.

They are not the same, but they are both important

Coaching and mentoring use the same skills and approach but coaching tends to be short-term and task-based, whereas mentoring involves a longer-term relationship.

The difference can be summarised as follows:

"A coach has some great questions for your answers; a mentor has some great answers for your questions."

Let’s consider each in more detail:

1. Coaching – a focus on task and performance

Coaching helps another person to improve awareness, and to set and achieve goals in order to improve a particular behavioural performance.

Coaching can help if an individual recognises that they need to develop personally, either to reach personal or work goals more effectively or to deal with current work issues better. The role of a skills or performance coach is to give feedback on observed performance.

Consequently, coaching usually happens in the workplace.

The coach is likely to set or suggest goals for the learner; measuring performance periodically as the learner develops new skills. This needs a good working relationship between learner and coach. However, a coach tends not to offer their own advice or opinion, but help the individual find their own solution.

“The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: to make the most of an organisation’s valuable resources.” Harvard Business Review

A coach will assist, challenge and encourage rather than direct, advise or teach. Coaching is a partnership that helps the individual work out what they need to do themselves to improve and, in the process, what motivates them and what gets in their way (attitudes, prejudices, preconceptions, assumptions).

Recent global research by the Sales Management Association discovered that a quarter of Managers are not personally coaching their Sales teams. Sales coaching was rated the most important of all activities in improving a company’s overall Sales performance, ahead of Sales training, new customer acquisition and cross-selling or upselling. High-performing companies were shown to provide 15% to 20% more coaching than their underperforming counterparts.

When used appropriately, coaching can be a cost-effective approach to development, focusing on specific individuals and their identified development needs. The need to recruit new employees can be reduced by developing the skills of existing employees. Coaching can also improve motivation, leading to a reduction in staff turnover. It sends a positive message to employees that the organisation values its staff, and creates a sense of achievement for both those acting as coaches and those receiving support from a coach. Coaching is most effective when conducted in an atmosphere of trust and respect.

Coaching can help individuals develop their skills in Leadership, self-management and learning, increase resilience and self-awareness. This can improve confidence and Leadership, and most importantly, effectiveness as a Leader or Line Manager.

Coaching can help staff develop empathy with others, see the bigger picture more clearly and consider issues that they may have ignored or failed to identify as important, and learn how to work more effectively with others.

2. Mentoring – a focus on building capability

Mentoring helps to shape an individual’s beliefs and values in a positive way; often involving a longer term career relationship from someone who has ‘done it before’.

The role of the mentor is to build capability. The developmental mentor helps the learner discover their own wisdom by encouraging them to work towards career goals or develop self-reliance. Mentors can be ‘directive’ and provide specific advice where appropriate.

"If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before." J Loren Norris

Corporate mentoring is on the rise - with 71% of Fortune 500 companies offering formal mentoring programs to their employees. Companies are tackling some of their biggest workforce challenges with a variety of mentoring programs designed to produce impactful results within their employee pool and throughout their organisation’s overall success.

The mentoring relationship is off-line — that is, the mentor does not have authority over the mentee — and centres on the learner’s personal goals. Because the relationship is mutually beneficial, strong bonds are often forged. And these may outlast the lifetime of the mentoring relationship.

Research from Development Dimensions International found that 60% of UK Business Leaders have had a mentor and an overwhelming 97% of these have benefited from the advice they received. Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that 66% of Managers have benefited from their mentor’s experience in times of crisis.

Mentoring is a relationship between two colleagues, in which the more experienced colleague uses their greater knowledge and understanding of the work or workplace to support the development of the less experienced colleague.

Many organisations use mentoring when people step up to more Senior Leadership roles for the first time, and need to quickly assimilate the different skills and ways of working needed to perform effectively in the new role.

The value companies gained from employing a learning culture

Successful companies - large and small - use coaching and mentoring to tackle complex human resource challenges, such as increasing employee retention, enabling company succession plans, and improving workforce productivity.

By encouraging a learning culture, companies ensure that employees take an active role in spreading knowledge and best practices throughout their organisation. The collaborative nature of mentoring and coaching develops the interpersonal links between individuals, which increases engagement.

It also helps to create an environment of trust, belonging, understanding, support, and encouragement for a diverse workforce. It gives employees an opportunity to voice their concerns, overcome hurdles, and find solutions. As a result, it inspires employees to perform to their highest ability

Most Managers who struggle with coaching claim to be either too busy to do it, or they don’t know how to do it, or they aren’t expected to coach or want to be held accountable for it. But Managers in organisations where coaching is a fundamental part of the culture – driven from the top down – are the ones that are most likely to coach successfully, and in a way that will boost business results… as long as they are given the right skills and tools.

So as a Manager – when should you be a mentor and when should you be a coach?

If you are a Manager, you will have colleagues/employees who will look to you as a mentor and others who will need your experience as a coach. But are you sure how to engage with each colleague appropriately?

In the mentor and mentee relationship, the mentor is the expert with experience showing the mentee how to see the big picture. Whereas, your role as the coach is to know when to listen, ask powerful questions and give feedback as needed. By providing encouragement, guidance and support, you can help employees learn and improve their work performance.

Regardless of the specific reasons for using either coaching or mentoring (or both), the goal for organisations should be to develop a more skilled and satisfied workforce, and to create a working environment based on knowledge-sharing and professional support. In the longer term, this will result in increased employee retention, higher levels of individual empowerment and improved performance. If you're not coaching as you should, then your entire team will not operate at its full potential and the business bottom line will suffer.

"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." Steven Spielberg

Effective coaching and mentoring requires a customised growth plan that fits the individual trainee. You can learn to become confident in coaching and mentoring through a customised programme from GBS Corporate Training or by undertaking a distance learning qualification with Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM).

At GBS we are passionate about coaching because we know it contributes so much to organisational and individual success. The proven benefits to any organisation that adopts a coaching culture, as well as to the individual are numerous, particularly around employee engagement.

We can create a coaching programme customised to your individual Business requirements, for example, we can provide coaching masterclasses delivered by our pool of accredited Coaches. Our Coaches can also provide 1:1 Executive coaching for your Business Managers and Leaders, or individuals where a need has been identified and in support of an individual’s professional development and career plans.

We can also provide team coaching, which helps people understand how to work better with others. It's an effective method for showing teams how to reduce conflict and improve their working relationships. The team can then focus on its real work, and achieve its objectives.

Other Managers choose to gain a qualification in coaching and mentoring, which you can do via distance learning at Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM). BSBM offer a series of Business Coaching and Mentoring courses, at different levels for Supervisors, Managers or Senior Managers and Directors. The courses are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute and therefore recognised nationally by employers.

Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM), a sister company within the GBS Corporate Training Group, is an international online distance learning College, offering a wide range of UK accredited and internationally recognised Management and Business qualifications, at both graduate and postgraduate levels.

Thursday, 26th October 2017
By, GBS Corporate Training

#Coaching #Mentoring #Strategy @GBSCorporate