101 - The Essentials of Coaching and Mentoring

Managing Director
Chilli Fruit Web Consulting
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The idea of coaching is that the coach isn’t directive in their approach towards the coachee. You should show inquisitiveness towards the coachee making them think for themselves and solve their own problems through their own thought process, acknowledging and simply allowing them to open up and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) objectives. The relationship is usually more official than mentoring and is set out for a certain amount of time whereas a mentor can be an ongoing unofficial relationship.

A mentoring relationship is usually slightly different from a coaching relationship as it is from a colleague who has had more experience within their profession, being able to pass on their industry knowledge and ways of coping within their company as they have a higher understanding of the organisation. Mentors should help fill in any issue areas for the mentee along with, clarifying motivations and assist in removing mental obstacles to long-term success within the company. Ideally, this relationship would be suited for a new starter who’s looking to develop and a mentor who’s willing to support and promote their own personal and career development. Similar to coaching it is not a directive method and is not to be used by the mentee as a solution to be told the answers, it must be a way of probing out answers.

Another learning and development method that can be used in comparison to coaching is shadowing, this is an observatory method for a more experienced employee to expose their skills and methods throughout their working day for an inexperienced member to learn off, similar to mentoring. It could be seen as a more directive style as it’s a more hands-on approach than coaching, as the inexperienced staff member may just see it as a way of telling the newbie what to do but you should just offer and give advice in how they conduct their work.

Executive coaching is conducted with senior management, where the coaches are usually external professional coaches who set a specific time to coach an individual on helping any personal issues as well as performance and business of the company. As the coach is externally brought in the approach would usually be a non-directive approach.

Personal coaching is regarding a more personal issue for the coachee, needing help how to solve this through maybe self-reflection and thought-provoking questions. This is also a non-directive approach as the coach would not have the specific skills needed to overcome the coachee’s personal objective.

Presentation coaching involves someone who wants to specifically develop their skills in presenting. The coach may need a more directive approach in this as there are clear ideas that can be set through SMART objectives of how a presentation should be conducted. But you can operate this as a non-directive approach when presenting coaching says Paul from PWD.

The style the coach takes during the session can range from directive to non-directive. Coaching should be a non-directive style, allowing the coachee to reflect, learn to understand for themselves pulling them through open qualitative questions as to why and how they can optimise their performance. Whereas a directive style would be telling, instructing and giving advice, which is pushing someone not allowing them to fulfill and unlock their own potential as coaching is defined.

The stages of a one-to-one coaching process are firstly to establish the relationship between coach and coachee. Some do a chemistry matching session to see who is more suited with who (this is used more for executive positions). If you are lower down within the work environment this is usually just chosen at random or through a speed dating session. For example, for a life coach it is important to identify who is best and why.

The next step would be to plan and agree on objectives for the sessions set out by the coach, encouraging objectives and laying out expectations. They must be prepared to take responsibility. This can be enhanced by getting them to sign a coaching agreement so they take ownership and are committed to complete the outcomes agreed, being completely receptive and motivated towards the session.

Moving forward with this exploration, the coachee must be prepared to actively listen and gaining trust from the coachee, understanding both roles so the relationship is established. Explaining we are there to listen as well as encouraging problem solve.

Once the session has ended both can discuss the overview and clarify what steps are to be taken before the next session. The coachee should write down their action points from the session and what will be the next stage.

The benefits for coaching as a coach are you are developing your skills as well as allowing you to gain more experience, which will in turn also look good on your CV. This would also give you personal satisfaction. The idea that you have successfully helped someone through your coaching methods, allowing someone to be able to cope better within their profession is highly fulfilling and motivating. If you are coaching through a managerial role this will benefit you and your department by creating and enabling a high performing team. It will also allow insight to different roles and understanding how there are diverse ways of thinking and interpreting information due to people’s different circumstances.

Regarding the benefits of a coachee during a coaching session is it can increase career progression as well as enhancing confidence. It makes them aware of different methods of coping with difficult or stressful situations, as they process their thoughts and develop a way of solving the issue without the coach directly instructing and telling them says Ciaran from Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd. It can finally give them the satisfaction of reaching their goals as well as meeting the organisation’s expectations through a non-conflictive or confrontational method. Another benefit is it allows exploration, as the coach asking inquisitive questions/open qualitative questions will raise awareness.

The concept of mentoring is for a mentor to share their knowledge to a less experienced staff member in a supportive learning relationship. It is ideal for an individual (mentee) who is willing to learn and benefit from a caring individual whose also eager to share knowledge, experience and progress their career by advising, guiding, giving impartial advice and promoting their career development.

Mentoring involves primarily listening with empathy, sharing experience (usually mutually), professional friendship, developing insight through reflection, being a sounding board, encouraging  David Clutterbuck.

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The process for mentoring would firstly be for the mentor to self-assess whether they are ready to become a mentor, if they feel they have enough knowledge and experience within the organisation to share as well as being willing to do so and prepared to make time for this with the mentee. The mentee must decide what they are wanting from the session and must be prepared to cooperate with a willing desire to learn and personally develop in the organisation to meet goals and standards.

The mentor must then set the foundation to the relationship as to how often they will meet, any obstacles that may occur, establishing goals, as well as maintaining expectations with a mutual trust and respect. As well as agreeing on how you will come to closure when you first negotiate, checking to see if all objectives have been met and then can evaluate achievements.

Once this is established the mentor can then share their knowledge and experience with the mentee through trust, as well as promoting a constructive development plan to be in place by setting challenges for the mentee to reach their full potential, allowing them to progress within their role in the organisation and gain confidence in sketchy areas. The mentee must be willing to do so, preparing for the sessions, keen to participate, take on responsibilities and action agreed progression plan.

The closure of the relationship is usually due to goals and objectives being met, and the mentee feeling the sessions have been successful through the actioning of relevant outcomes. During the closure there is usually a reflective assessment where the mentee identifies the achievements and any further development they need within the organisation.

The potential benefits for a mentor is that it can enable development in certain areas, acknowledging personal gaps as well as enhancing self-confidence through supporting other people and creating better working relationships. For the mentee it is a great way to gain your knowledge along with getting to know your peers as well as increasing confidence and motivation.

It is a good idea as the coach to get the coachee to create their own action plan and for which they would want to have achieved this by, this is more motivating as they have full ownership of it. Having a coaching form is highly important as it shows the discussions taken place and what steps they are going to take next, also illustrating the timescales to when it will be complete by. It allows a strong representation on their strengths and weaknesses. We can also use this document in the sessions, to easily review what was discussed and the outcomes to evaluate what went well and what may need to be reassessed.

Many Thanks to Nicole Payne from BlueBird Accountancy for her invaluable insights on this topic.

About Milosz

Milosz Krasinski

Growth marketer. Digital strategy maker at Chilli Fruit Web Consulting. New age leadership advocate.


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