Coaching & Mentoring At Work

Coaching and mentoring are both helping strategies that develop an individual. The intent of both coaching and mentoring is the same, namely to help the individual learn using a variety of helping activities. Utilising such interventions can be crucial tools in contributing to personal and organisational performance.  

The purpose of coaching is to stimulate the thoughts and ideas of the coachee to figure out their own way of achieving things, to help them find solutions and a way forward. Therefore, the coach is the instrument that helps the person navigate, using their own internal compass, to reach their potential. 

“Coaching is the art of facilitating the performance, learning
and development of another”

(M Downey 2013)

So, the coach carries out a facilitative role, is coachee centric, working to the
coachee’s agenda. In an organisational context, coaching can be a suitable
intervention to focus the individual on achieving optimal performance in their job;

KPI’s, objectives, tasks, projects, etc. It allows the individual to examine what they
need to achieve, and how they can achieve it. It provides an opportunity to self
assess and improve interpersonal skills e.g. handling conflict, communication etc.

Coaching also serves well in areas such as professional and career development, identifying personal aspirations, exploring opportunities and possible resources to facilitate self-development.

In summary, coaching is about providing the opportunity for the coachee to self-reflect, review and then respond by taking meaningful action to move forward.

Mentoring is sharing expert advice and guidance to an individual to help them learn.
The mentor is the ‘go-to’ person providing counsel, wisdom, expertise and experience. They act as a sounding board, allowing the mentee to shape their thinking while gaining insight and views from the mentor.

The mentor gives support by providing information, advice and assistance in a way that empowers the mentee

(J Starr 2014)

The mentor's approach to the relationship can affect the learning outcome, in the
way they ‘empower’ the mentee. They can choose to use a facilitative approach in
that the mentor encourages the mentee to review their own experiences, be intuitive
and learn their own lessons. Or, they can offer advice and opinion, therefore
learning from the mentor’s experience. In an organisational context, mentoring
can be a suitable intervention that provides longer-term focused development of an
individual. The mentor can open doors, create contacts and point the mentee in the right
direction. The mentee may want to discuss personal issues or obstacles and gain valuable insight from the mentor on how to overcome them.

In summary, the mentor provides insight, advice, guidance and direction to help the mentee learn and develop.

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