Coaching and Mentoring Cartoon
When we think about people’s development, we tend to think about training or a fairly structured process in which a group of people are offered information on a particular body of knowledge (such as what is emotional intelligence?, how to set up a well-structured budget, etc.) or on how to develop a specific skill (such as how to listen more effectively or how to give a good presentation). This works well when there are a number of people with a common need at approximately the same level in terms of readiness. However, when people’s needs and readiness varies, training is often a poor choice and coaching or mentoring is a much better option.
Coaching is an open-ended process in which an individual obtains expert input so as to achieve better long-term performance and results than may have been possible by operating alone. Coaching may be given by an expert internal or external person but in both cases, this individual should be experienced in broad-based management terms and have a facilitation-led approach. This means that he or she needs to be highly skilled at asking insightful questions and offering steering type guidance to the person being coached, when he or she needs it. In some cases, and usually after some formal coaching has been offered, this kind of role can be performed by an internal organizational mentor. The main difference here is that the mentor provides an independent “sounding board” for an individual’s ideas, perhaps helping the person to see opportunities to get things done that he or she may have missed.