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 into 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 to 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 an 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 teach 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.

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