Why Mentoring or Coaching?

Why Mentoring or Coaching?

Sometimes people use the words “mentoring” and “coaching” interchangeably, but they do not describe the same type of working relationship. Both share specific goals including employee learning and career development that leads to peak performance, and the realization of full potential. However, the definition, focus, role, approach, and tools of each are different.

You want to develop your employees and help them reach their full potential. So, should you offer them coaching or mentoring? Before you can answer that question, you need to understand the difference between the two.

Definition and Focus

·       MentoringAn informal association focused on building a two-way, mutually beneficial relationship for long-term career movement. In a true mentoring relationship, a mentee and mentor work with one another over the course of Months sometimes nine to 12 months. The mentor's focus is on the overall development of his or her mentee. In this scenario, mentoring is transformational—for both the mentor and especially the mentee—because it is a long-term relationship that involves both the professional and the personal. In many ways, mentoring is like counseling.  

·       CoachingThe International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as "a partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership." Coaching, on the other hand, involves a content expert working closely with an individual so that this individual learns a particular skill or piece of knowledge. In other words, coaching is about skills and knowledge acquisition. Although coaching may involve the personal, the primary focus is professional. In many ways, coaching is akin to teaching.

Role

·       Mentoring: Talking with a person who has identified their needs prior to entering into a mentoring relationship. The emphasis is on active listening, providing information, making suggestions, and establishing connections.

·       Coaching: Listening to a person, identifying what they need, and helping them develop an action plan. The emphasis is on the person or client finding the solution, not instructing or leading them.

Approach

·       Mentoring: This is a self-directed (modus operando) whereby participants have choices. This approach can begin with a self-matching process and continue throughout the relationship using a committed timeline to determine how often and where individuals will meet, identify goals, and so forth.

·       Coaching: Some structured (modus operandi) is more frequently used whereby participants are working within a narrower perspective; their agenda is more specific, for a short period of time, and oriented toward certain results. Usually, a coach is assigned to an employee within an organization.

Tools

·       Mentoring: The most important tool is the Mentoring Agreement—developed, completed, and signed by both participants. This document formalizes commitment to the mentoring relationship. Items include individual goals, learning content, a meeting schedule, and communication methods.

·       Coaching: A coaching agreement is used to set the ground rules for the partnership. Within organizations, 360 assessments sometimes precede the coaching sessions. Skills assessments are sometimes used depending on the nature of the coaching program.

 

·       Coaching is task-oriented. Mentoring is relationship-oriented.

·       Coaching is short-term. Mentoring is always long-term.

·       Coaching is performance-driven. Mentoring is development-driven.

·       The mission is to meet both individual and organizational goals.

An organization is not required to choose between mentoring and coaching relationships. Each one enhances an individual’s ability to contribute to the organization’s goals. Consider how these two activities can fulfill the expectations of individuals, managers, and senior-level executives, while simultaneously accomplishing the organization’s employee development and succession planning goals. Additionally, consideration for the level of the value that these programs bring to the table and the benefits people feel will be gained.

Do Your Employees Need Coaching or Mentoring?

Choosing mentoring or coaching

Here's an important point that many organizations miss: it doesn't necessarily need to be an either/or scenario. Your employees could likely benefit from a long-term mentoring relationship and short-term skill-building in specific areas.

But if you feel you need to decide between one or the other (for budgetary reasons, for example), here are guidelines to help you make the best decision.

Consider coaching when:

·       You are seeking to develop your employees in specific competencies using performance management tools and involving the immediate manager

·       You have a number of talented employees who are not meeting expectations

·       You're introducing a new system or program and employees need to become proficient

·       You have a small group of individuals (five to eight) in need of increased competency in specific areas

·       You have a leader or executive within your organization who needs assistance in acquiring a new skill as an additional responsibility.

Consider mentoring when:

·       You are seeking to develop your leaders or talent pool as part of succession planning

·       Your organization want to more completely develop your employees in ways that go above and beyond the acquisition of specific skills/competencies

·       You need to develop your diverse employees and remove barriers that might hinder their success

·       Your organization hope to retain the internal expertise and experience residing in your company's Baby Boomer employees and nurture Gen X and Gen Y employees in the process

·       Your organization wants to create a workforce that balances the professional and the personal.

Remember, coaching and mentoring are both effective approaches to talent development within an organization. A company’s specific needs should provide guidance on which option to choose. Making the right decision for the right reasons will help lead to more positive outcomes. NICE Tanzania we are dedicated to offering mentoring and coaching skills and supporting the Mentoring and Coaching in the various strategic and management need of your organization. Contact us we will offer free need assessment and demand screening to offer you the best customized coaching and mentoring knowledge and structure. 

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