The Blog

Coaching and Mentoring in the Workplace

Mentoring or coaching? Why are they important? Which will be the most beneficial to your business? What techniques are commonly used?

In this blog, we answer these questions and explore coaching and mentoring specifically in the workplace.

The meaning of mentoring and coaching

Before you determine which one is best for your business, it’s important that you understand the meaning of both. Coaching is used to describe the process of delivering training or development to a person to help them reach their goals. The aim of the task is for an individual to discover their motivators and what hinders them from achieving their targets, such as attitudes and preconceptions.

Mentoring is slightly different. Those providing it are perceived as more of a ‘role model’. They offer guidance, along with knowledge and expertise, to help the mentee succeed in their aims.

Whilst they sound very similar, they’re not the same. A mentor takes an ‘advisory’ position, whereas a coach is one of helping and encouraging. Mentors offer specific advice and opinions, whereas coaches help an individual to come up with a solution.

The importance of coaching in the workplace

Both coaching and mentoring are important in the workplace. Coaching can be particularly beneficial for developing employees. For example, you may have hired someone with a suitable educational background, but they lack real-life experience. Or, it may be that they have worked within a few companies, but none quite like yours. Coaching will help them fit in and succeed.

On top of this, coaching can also reduce staff turnover and the likelihood of negative employee morale. Workplace coaching also helps managers to identify high potential employees and can help a company to achieve its organisational goals.

For the employee, they can develop skills in leadership and self-management. It’s likely to give them a confidence boost and make them more resilient and empathetic as well as self-aware.

The importance of mentoring employees

Workplace mentoring can be beneficial because it can also prevent problems from occurring. Not only can it improve the quality of work and increase productivity, but it has also been proven to boost retention and create a positive work environment. Mentored employees will also possess a stronger skill set and are typically able to bring more creativity to the table.

Employees will also feel more effectively prepared for tasks in the future. It could be particularly helpful to those team members who are quieter or new to the workplace environment. It will help them to feel supported and ensure they’re not isolated. And with the right mentoring, it will improve their confidence too.

Like coaching, with mentoring, staff are more likely to be loyal because they will feel more valued. In fact, you might find it easier to attract new talent to your company. Mentoring may be the benefit that draws them in.

Mentoring versus coaching

Mentoring and coaching both have their benefits and importance in business, but which is better? Ultimately it will depend on the needs of your enterprise.

The relationship between a mentor and mentee is long-term, whereas with a coach it’s usually a set, short period of time. Coaching is generally quite structured and will have specifically arranged meetings – mentoring takes place whenever it’s necessary.

Typically, coaching is set in the present with a focus to achieve immediate goals that are often related to personal development. It’s much more task-oriented and performance-driven. Mentoring works towards the future.

Mentoring and coaching techniques

Typically, mentoring and coaching techniques are very different. A common mentoring method is using force field analysis – this is where arguments for and against action are considered, and a proposal decided on after. Career scenarios are also used to plan various paths alongside realistic timescales. Also used in the ILM course is the “Clutterbucks Model” which encourages the mentored employee to become self-reliant and to take ownership of their personal and professional development.

With coaching, one method is to establish SMART goals. This ensures team members have clear targets and are accountable for them. Another technique commonly used is constructive feedback and progress evaluation. The focus is also put on effort, rather than ability, and celebrating any achievements made – no matter their size. Additionally, techniques such as the GROW and OSCAR models are used to develop plans, goals and problem-solving skills.

Occasionally, mentoring and coaching use similar methods. For example, they both use active listening, ask open questions and promote effective communication. However, you might not have the necessary capabilities to provide mentoring or coaching. This is why it’s a great idea to undertake a Leadership and Management apprenticeship.

At Bright Direction Training, we do much more than teaching the essential abilities. There’s an element of practical coaching too. Plus, we align these leadership coaching and mentoring apprenticeships with ILM qualifications.

To find out more about what our qualifications entail, get in touch with our friendly team today. Call us on 01204 859 859, email us at info@brightdirectiontraining.co.uk, or fill out our contact form here.

The Difference Between Transactional And Transformational Leadership

Two of the most popular types of leadership are transactional and transformational. But if you don’t know what the real difference is, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

We’ve previously answered ‘why is leadership important?’ And now, in this blog, we delve into not only the difference between and importance of both of these leadership styles, but the benefits, drawbacks, and key competencies that underline them.

Transactional leadership 

Transactional leadership describes a style where leaders promote compliance using a system of rewards and punishments. This transactional relationship is the more traditional form and typically follows existing processes and policies. Transactional leaders measure their team’s performance closely, monitoring daily progress.

In this type of leadership, goals are also used for individuals – rather than collective aims. It’s very much a case of extrinsic motivation. Issues tend to only arise if practices aren’t complied to, and with such explicit guidance, this is rarely the case.

The transactional perspective takes the stance that any problems are reacted to – rather than the leader being proactive. Constructive feedback is important in this type of leadership.

Transformational leadership

 Transformational leadership, on the other hand, is much more proactive. Transformational leaders motivate, inspire and encourage staff to innovate. New ideas are expected, and with these the business will transform for the better – hence the term ‘transformational leadership’.

The leader’s vision and values are followed by employees, but not because of a reward. Instead, they are motivated because the transformational leader inspired them. It’s a case of ‘lead by example’.

 Whilst the transformational theory of leadership looks to appeal to the entire group’s interests, there is still an individual focus. Their strengths and weaknesses are assessed, and the approach looks to enhance these capabilities, plus hear their views.

Transformational and transactional leadership characteristics

As there is such distinction between the two types of leadership, the behaviours they exhibit are different too.

Transformational leaders are typically seen as a mentor, attending to their team’s needs and being empathetic. Often, they will create an interpersonal relationship with each one. With inspiration playing such a huge part in transformational leadership, leaders encourage staff to leave any comfort zones. The influential leader will be a driver of change, delivering their vision via effective communication. It needs to be clear, meaningful, powerful and engaging. Motivation leadership skills are also essential.

Transactional leadership competencies include being pragmatic. They are also results-focused, so they can reward performance when necessary. Their way of working with employees is quite directive – they will make decisions and provide the instructions for work. They are more like a ‘manager’ whereas transformational leadership aligns more closely to leadership in management.

Transactional leadership vs transformational leadership

 Now you know the difference between the two and the variation in their characteristics, you might wonder, which is better? Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

The strengths of transformational leadership include the promotion of positive feelings, which in turn increases motivation, engagement, and ultimately, productivity. This style of leadership also takes a long-term view – working to keep employees invested in the business not just for rewards, but to achieve organisational success.

A disadvantage of this style is that because it has a lack of structure, it also lacks the necessary detail. On top of this, its dependency on passion may mean that visions don’t actually align to reality or logic.

Transactional leadership is beneficial because it promises recognition and reward, thereby providing employees with the necessary motivation. And, as it has clear structure, goals are clearer and easier to achieve.

However, this rigidity might prove ineffective for some employees. Not only does it restrict creativity, but it can result in employee dissatisfaction, due to the dictation of policies.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and which is most effective depends on the type of business. Transactional leadership has proven to work well in sports teams, whereas transformational has seen success in innovative start-ups. However, they don’t have to be disparate. There is ‘blended leadership’, where a leader uses a mixture of each style to suit the business’ needs.

Effective leadership skills with Bright Direction Training

You might not know the type of leader you want to be or have the necessary skills. Thankfully, there’s the option to do a Leadership and Management apprenticeship. You’ll learn the essential competencies like communication and problem-solving, plus benefit from practical experience too. At Bright Direction Training, we offer such apprenticeships – and they’re aligned to ILM qualifications.

To find out more about how our qualifications will benefit you, get in touch with our friendly team today. We can also tell you more about why leadership development is important. Call us on 01204 859 859, email us at info@brightdirectiontraining.co.uk, or fill out our contact form here.

Looking for training but not sure which courses are right for you or your business?

Call 01204 859859 or email info@brightdirectiontraining.co.uk

Or click here to visit our contact page

Education & Skills Funding Agency
Eu Social Fund
Disability Confidence
Matrix QM

Menu

European Union Social Fund