Mentoring and coaching in the workplace is a career trend that is on the high right now. Many of us, in general, pay a lot more attention to ‘how we feel’, or in our words, our emotional and mental wellbeing and its correlation with what our livelihood is currently. This is a progressive idea and therefore, a coach or a mentor in the workplace has a big responsibility on his or her hands.
You are there to guide others and show them the right way, without interfering too much in the decisions that they make. Remember that you have a very different job role to a therapist. So to keep the confusion away, and to help you hone your coaching and mentoring skills, we’ve drawn up a concise list of some strategies that you can use in the workplace.
Let’s have a look, shall we?
Delineate Coaching From Mentoring
Just like how many people think that “sales” and “marketing” are pretty much the same thing, they tend to blur the line between coaching and mentoring too. But the two roles are different in style and in substance. If you’re going to designate yourself to only one role, it’s important that you be able to explain where that line is drawn. Coaching and mentoring differ in several crucial ways:
- Coaching emphasises on tasks and performance. It is very specific and concrete. For example, a coach may show a fellow employee how to develop search engine optimisation strategies, design new spreadsheets for your business or make public presentations. The coach will also offer them feedback as these skills are gradually mastered. On the other hand, mentoring emphasises on a productive relationship that results in the mentoree cultivating both professional and personal capabilities. For example, the mentoree may ask to be taught how to complete a specific task, but the nature of the relationship depends on the development of trust, so that issues such as building self-confidence and learning how to achieve a positive work-life balance can be explored. So you see, you are not setting anything in stone. It’s flexible and it depends on your mentor-mentoree relationship.
- Coaching is short term. It ends when the individual you have been coaching champions the task. But mentoring is a long term process. It could come to an end in a year, but some mentor-mentoree relationships that are very well-matched can actually go on for a lifetime.
- Coaching requires the involvement of the employee’s direct supervisor, who provides ideas and feedback to the coach. Mentoring requires no such hands-on involvement from the mentoree’s direct supervisor. In fact, once the mentor and mentoree are matched, the supervisor usually fades into the background (unless a conflict arises, where, they can mediate).
Coaching Strategy: Getting To Know Your Employees
A good professional in any field knows exactly what they are doing. There is no doubt, there are no ifs or buts, they just know. That is exactly how you must be with your employees as well. A good coach should know about their team members. It is an essential part of coaching and mentoring skills. Make a concerted effort to get to know each of your employees on a deeper level. Learn about each person’s strengths and weaknesses and what they excel at. Find out what challenges them; what motivates them and what they find discouraging. Along with formal personality testing, consider having each of your team members complete regular self-evaluations and then, use these results to ensure you are utilising each employee in the most effective way possible. Sometimes the best employees allocated in the wrong task can be seriously demotivated.
(Source: https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/mentoring-coaching-infographics-presenting-information-about-necessary-skills_3792143.htm )
Mentoring Strategy: Develop Your Own Leadership Skills
To begin with, you must know that the most effective mentors improve their own leadership skills consistently. Coaching and mentoring in the workplace is challenging as it is, and if you do not see yourself as a good leader, neither will your employees. As you assist your mentee, you have the chance to reflect on and articulate your own expertise and experiences as well, which is something you probably don’t take time to do otherwise. Along the way, you may see patterns that you didn’t spot before. If you learn about how to become a good mentor, developing leadership skills is one of the core competencies that you will be taught as well.
(Source: https://www.management-mentors.com/about/corporate-mentoring-matters-blog/millennials-and-mentoring-infographic )
Coaching Strategy: Setting Clear Objectives And Goals
Clearly defining objectives and goals is almost virtually impossible without strategic planning. Once you have gathered your team, start with big-picture thinking. Think about how you can encourage members to discuss and brainstorm ways to meet your big-picture goals. This is actually, the perfect time to draw on the individual strengths of employees and ask for the team’s dedication and commitment. Once the larger goals are identified, develop a timeline that includes milestones and benchmarks to help you evaluate your team’s progress and success. You may sometimes have to be flexible, if you think about how things happen in a workplace realistically. But at the same time, a rough outline of what needs to happen, how it needs to happen and by when it needs to happen, is one of the best ways in which you can give your employees empowerment to show results.
(Source: https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/business-coaching-infographic-report_2871065.htm )
Mentoring Strategy: Sponsoring Your Mentoree
This is also another area where mentoring and coaching in the workplace differ from one another. As a mentor you will be opening doors and advocating for your mentoree, opportunities and ways in which they can develop new skills and also gain meaningful visibility through that. You can try to create new opportunities for them and even connect them with people in your network, who you feel can be helpful.
(Source: https://www.coraliesawruk.com/why-mentor-infographic/ )
The Biggest Strategy Of All: Be Like Water
Whether it is coaching or mentoring in the workplace, the biggest strategy of all is this.
Flexibility and perseverance is your key to success.
Be flexible. You may have learnt so much theoretically, but remember that human beings are complex creatures and if your learned theory is to sit within their parameters, you may have to adjust them and redesign them. The next is perseverance. You are working with ordinary people, who have their challenges. Keep at it. Don’t give up and make them feel like they are a lost cause. Remember that water, through perseverance, can carve its way through rock.
So What’s The Deal About Mentoring And Coaching In The Workplace?
The biggest deal are your coaching and mentoring skills. Before you groom somebody else, you need to bring on your A Game, and that’s where your training and education comes in. just think about it. You are influencing the psychology and behaviour of another person, possibly, on a relatively permanent basis. So make sure that you get you’re A – Z right.
We’re here to help!!! Being a coach or a mentor is immensely rewarding. You pretty much get to shape lives, make brighter futures and happier people. Our accredited porgrammes for mentoring and coaching in the workplace can help you become the best. Contact us on [email protected] for more information.