Coaching and Mentoring Terms
Defined by ICF (International Coach Federation) coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential (ICF, 2015).
CIPD (2018.) states that coaching aims to produce optimal performance and improvement at work. It focuses on specific skills and goals, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s personal attributes such as social interaction or confidence. The process typically lasts for a defined period of time or forms the basis of an on-going management style.
Mentoring is a relationship between two people with the goal of professional and personal development. The “mentor” is usually an experienced individual who shares knowledge, experience, and advice with a less experienced person, or “mentee” (Mindtools, 2018.).
Mentoring in the workplace tends to describe a relationship in which a more experienced colleague shares their greater knowledge to support the development of an inexperienced member of staff. It calls on the skills of questioning, listening, clarifying, and reframing that are also associated with coaching (CIPD,2018.).
Differences and Similarities between Coaching and Mentoring
Both coaching and mentoring desire to improve and develop professionally, and in practice it happens that they may be overlapping usually due to some new forms of mentoring – for example transformational mentoring. In order to develop employees, managers should remember that they need to be both – coaches and mentors.
Detailed views of differences and similarities are briefly described in table 1 below.
|Focus||Receiving structured support to develop awareness and find own solutions||Giving directions and instruction|
|Context||Depends on requirements (i.e., individual or team…)||Usually personal or professional development|
|Intention||Asking questions and discovering solutions||Giving solutions to problems|
|Progress||Defined at the start of coaching||Defined at the start of mentoring|
|Expert in Content||Client||Mentor|
|Expert in Process||Coach||Mentor|
|Level of Accountability||Medium to high||Medium to high|
|Client’s commitment importance||High||High|
|Main skills of coach and mentor||Listening, providing feedback, questioning, building trust, goal setting, action planning||Listening, providing feedback, questioning, building trust, goal setting, action planning|
|Formality level||Formal – contract and ground rules||Informal to formal – depends on intention|
|Level of contact||Usually 4-12 meetings over 2-4 months||Usually unspecified number of meetings,relationship spanning 3-5 years|
|No of Participants||Individual, team or organizational coaching / no depends on it||Usually one-to-one|
Table 1: Differences and similarities between coaching and mentoring
As can be seen from the table above, there are many differences between coaching and mentoring and some of the main ones are the duration of process, number of meetings, focus, etc. Looking at the differences we can also come to insights about the purpose of these two processes shown on picture 1.
Picture1. Purpose of coaching and mentoring
Recommendations for Implementing Coaching and Mentoring in Organization
Some of the factors to consider before implementing Coaching and Mentoring in an organization are:
- Business strategy – when implementing coaching and mentoring programs, we must consider business needs and make sure that our programs are helping in delivering business value. Also, we must have ways to see how to measure these programs, to see if we have a budget for going forward, etc.
- Systems perspective – we must be able to understand which obstacles may be standing in a way for implementing these programs. Top management support must be ensured, and also leaders must be positive role models.
- Implementation – define good criteria who can be a mentor, train them, assess who is coachable and who is not, and take care of communication to stakeholders.
- Continuous development – make sure that mentor and mentee have proper trainings, introduce them to programs, expectations, support them in the next months, provide opportunities for advanced coaching skills, create a platform for sharing…
- Rewards and recognition – employees who are showing good coaching and mentoring skills, as well as willingness to support these programs and want to be part of them, should be recognized and rewarded.
If possible, coaching and mentoring programs should be implemented as a project with a project charter and a dedicated person who will be the project manager.
The project manager should be somebody from HR, and responsibilities for implementing the program are as follows:
– HR Director – Responsible for the program on a company level. Assigning tasks to the Head of L&D.
– Head of Learning and development (if it exists) – Takes care that the program is conducted properly. Chooses Project Manager from the team.
– Project Manager – Takes care of all phases of the project: design, development, analysis, evaluation.
– Mentor/Coach – Working with a mentee/coach in order to accomplish goals set with him/her. Meets with mentee/coachee to monitor the progress, discuss open topics. Provides feedback on how to improve the program.
– Mentee/Coachee – Actively participates in the process and has regular meetings with mentor/coach. Provides feedback on how to improve the program.
The goals of the project must be realistic and understood by all project members and participants.
The goals of the program should be:
– Supporting company strategy by developing needed skills.
– Making stronger connections with other HR processes and practices, which should result in stronger support to business needs.
In order to provide full support, the system’s perspective must be in place. One good way to assure this is to have at least one member of the program who is in top management, who has been seen as a good role model and who will be the promoter of this idea.
Some of the criteria for good mentors are: supporting mission, vision and values of the company, being accessible and committed, good listener, positive role model.
Criteria for mentees are: willingness to learn, openness to improve knowledge, has a need to ask questions and listen, is ready to hear feedback, stays committed to the program.
Afterwards, selected mentors and mentees are divided into couples. In the first phase of introducing this process in the company, the optimal solution for matching the couples will be for HR to do it, based on all previous assessments they have done with these people in previous years. In the future this approach can be changed. Also, if it is possible, Mentoring software can be introduced as a tool.
Mentors and mentees should have a specially designed training program before being set in couples. The idea of separate training is to bring participants closer to their role of mentor/mentee. Also, we want to teach them about the characteristics of learning and development of adults, as well as different approaches to development at the workplace, to familiarize them with the basics of the directive approach (mentoring, counseling, input), explain the importance and techniques of monitoring the execution of tasks through: observation, check lists, reports, etc., improve the quality of giving corrective feedback, as well as highlight generally a two-way constructive communication in the process development (and cooperation in general), etc.
Coaching process can have few ways of proceeding, for example:
– For Level 1 managers, the intensive 3 days program can be organized and run by an external coach.
– For all others, one day training can be organized in order for them to get to know basic techniques of coaching. The GROW model for example could be used.
– If the company does not have internal coaches, few people selected by HR can be sent to a certified education for becoming a coach, in order for a company to have in-house sources who will then be able to support implementing coaching culture and making sure the people on all levels in the organization are engaged in coaching. Internal coaches must also have some kind support and supervision in their work.
When choosing external coach, the several factors must be considered:
– Relevant qualifications and training
– Appropriate level of experience in coaching
– Relevant business/industry experience.
In this entire process of implementing mentoring and coaching there are a few things to pay attention to:
– Ways of communication (stakeholder management must be handled properly) and ensuring that the organization understands the purpose and the meaning of these programs.
– Set clear expectations and realistic goals for the first year of implementing the program.
– Evaluating the effectiveness of the program – it can be done in several ways, for example:
- For mentoring there can be mentoring tools containing several parts: Personal development plan and follow up questionnaire. After completing the process there will be a short survey in order to have inputs form participants on how to improve the program.
- For external providers satisfaction can be measured through post-training surveys. Feedback from the participants is very important to have a complete picture together with analyses of all other factors for obtaining maximum results.
Achievement of objectives set at the start of programs can be followed through employee attitude/climate surveys. Also, it is very significant to find a way to check the impact on business performance after the implementation of these programs.
- ICF (2015.), Code of Ethics, [Online]. Available at: https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics, (Accessed 7 July 2018)
- CIPD (2018.) Coaching and mentoring, [Online]. Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/development/coaching-mentoring-factsheet, (Accessed 5 July 2018)
- Mindtools, Mentoring – A Mutually Beneficial Partnership [Online]. Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_72.htm (Accessed 5 July 2018)
Ivana Sudar, Head of Human Resources