The Why and How of Coaching and Mentoring Programs
Life is like attending school every day. In other words, while living both our professional and personal lives, we learn continuously. Yes, there are extremes at both ends of the learning spectrum. There are those so busy learning new theories that they forget to learn the commonsense lessons in life, like how to come in out of the rain. Then there are those who think they already know everything and refuse to learn anything new. As with everything, there needs to be balance. Businesses can create learning cultures with balance for both the employee and the organization. How and why do they do that?
According to one study, in the International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, internationally, companies include mentoring and coaching in their employee development programs. As A. O. Ojedokun with the IFE Centre for Psychological Studies, suggests, not only do coaching subjects benefit, but so do the coach and mentor. Managers, however, while suggesting that mentoring and coaching are effective for individual success, feel that it is not necessary to make the time to do it.
Further, while coaching and mentoring may be a success for the individual, what about the organization? One reason, organizations fail to appreciate the ROI of coaching and mentoring, is because they often fail to put measurements in place at the beginning of programs. There are many tangible ways to measure the benefits of such programs.
Applying real numbers to each of these areas can help you determine the effectiveness of coaching and mentoring programs.
- Customer service
- Training and development
- Succession planning
- Communication debacles
You can, no doubt, think of other areas where successful coaching and mentoring programs can not only increase individual success, but organizational profitability.
The Strategic Why
Part of the why for developing and implementing mentoring and coaching programs is your strategic plan. What do you want to accomplish strategically? One way to do this is to analyze the gaps in management, knowledge, training, skills, etc. Analyze where the organization is losing or increasing revenues. Both are important to your overall strategic plan. Once you have this information, then you can begin to create your coaching and mentoring programs.
Ensure that coaches and mentors have sufficient training in areas such as:
- The ability to observe and understand human behavior and communication styles
- EQ (Emotional Quotient)
- Job knowledge of the person they are coaching/mentoring
- Organizational policies and procedures, including HR elements
The coach/mentor need to have the ability to work together. Using assessments, or at the very least, some form to complete can help you make good coaching and mentoring matches.
Building and structuring your programs carefully is essential. In doing so, you will better understand the difference between mentoring and coaching.
Mentoring is more about transferring knowledge involving a more seasoned employee using his or her own experiences within an organization or industry in helping an employee in developing their understanding of a job or industry over a long time.
Coaching helps an individual through a self-discovery process and can often involve goals, career building, personal development, helping the individual to understand how to create ways to see blind spots, leverage strengths, and develop ways to solve problems and make better decisions. Coaching may last for a period of only about three, six, or twelve months.
As with any project or program, there must be check in points or benchmarking established up front to ensure that the program is on track and being effective. As an example, when coaching an individual, the coach and the person being coached must enjoy a complete level of confidentiality. This, of course, does not apply if the employee makes threats, intends to do harm to self or someone else, or some other similar behavior. However, the employee and his/her manager can meet weekly or bi-weekly and discuss the program. Doing this helps ensure the employee is making progress, and that the organizational strategies are also on track.
The expectations of the organization, the subject, and the coach are important elements requiring addressing up front. Coaches are not miracle workers. People require time for self-discovery process and practice to implement new ways of thinking and developing new habits. However, three must be some way to measure progress.
Thank you for reading this blog. For more information on coaching and mentoring programs, take advantage of a no obligation 30-minute consultation. Let's get started