Coaching Versus Mentoring

Topics: Coaching, Mentorship, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 9 (2858 words) Published: August 15, 2006
Critical Comparison of Coaching ‘v' Mentoring

The scope of this assignment is to critically compare and contrast the two approaches, reflecting on the relevance and value of each, to apply this to my organisation where possible and to offer recommendations where appropriate.



Coaching can take many forms, life coaching, business coaching, performance coaching etc. As with mentoring and counselling it is about helping the individual to gain self awareness, but it is goal focused and action is required so that the individual can move forward. The goal setting process has two components: skill development and psychological development. The outcome sought is that the "coachee" will achieve the goals set, and will thereafter feel able and confident to set personal goals for themselves (Passmore 2003, p31).4ed

The CIPD defines Coaching as; ‘developing a person's skills and knowledge so that their job performance improves, hopefully leading to the achievement of organisational objectives. It targets high performance and improvement at work, although it may also have an impact on an individual's private life. It usually lasts for a short period and focuses on specific skills and goals.' Mentoring

The word "mentor" comes from the The Odyssey, written by the Greek poet Homer. As Odysseus (Ulysses" in the Latin translation) is preparing to go to fight the Trojan war, he realises he is leaving behind his one and only heir, Telemachus. Since Telemachus is only of primary school age, and since wars tended to drag on for many years, Odysseus recognises that Telemachus needs to be coached on how to be king whilst he is off fighting. He engages a family friend named Mntor to be his sons tutor. Mentor is both wise and sensitive-two important ingredients of world class mentoring (Chip. R. Bell, 1998). Mentoring is a process whereby one person acts as a counsellor and friend to another, usually to support them as they enter an organisation and have to familiarise themselves with its culture and processes, or as they take on new responsibilities in an unfamiliar part or level of an organisation…The agenda is the mentee's and mentoring may have both an organisational and an individual focus (Garvey, 2004, p8).

Where Does This Fit Within My Organisation?

I have always felt that we were more of a coaching organisation, that we supplied coaching throughout all levels with a common goal and understanding. The more research that I carry out, the more I come to understand that my organisation leans more towards a mentoring approach. For example; when a new member of staff is engaged, we will assign somebody (usually their immediate superior) to show them around the Company until they find their feet and then we expect the "mentor" to be there to advise and guide the employee throughout his time with the Company.

Even when I have started down the path of coaching performance enhancement within the team, I can see that this coaching very quickly turns into a mentoring situation.

Critical Reflection on Relevance and Values of Selected Approaches


Coaching should be job specific, individualised instruction. It involves enhancing the performance of an individual who is already competent rather than trying to create competence in the first place.

The first step in the coaching relationship is for the coach to share his/her vision of what future success looks like. Before the coach can build commitment and enthusiasm around the vision, however, four fundamental building blocks must be in place: •The coach has to have a fully formed future picture of successful performance. •The picture must be specific enough for the coach to be able to compare real-time behaviour with his/her vision and from the comparison orchestrate insightful and appropriate interventions. •The coach must through his/her overt behaviour present an emotional commitment to the enunciated vision. •The coach must...
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