The Context of Coaching or mentoring practice.
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Both terms are processes that enable individuals or even corporate clients to achieve full potential. Although the terms are often used in the same sentences there are differences as well as similarities between the two. It is true that both are used to facilitate the exploration of needs, skills, motivations and thought processes. They are both designed to assist the individual or organisation in making lasting and tangible change. As mentioned previously there are differences between the two and here I have highlighted a number of them. Coaches do not need to have first- hand experience of the coachee’s line of work. In contrast mentoring is normally where a more experienced individual who has knowledge and skill in the same field of work is paired with a less experienced person.
To explain this further I have included definitions of both: Coaching is…
"A process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve. To be a successful a Coach requires a knowledge and understanding of process as well as the variety of styles, skills and techniques that are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place” Eric Parsloe
"off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking” Clutterbuck, D and Megginson, D.
As a line manager I could use coaching techniques either in a formal setting or a more ad hoc way to successfully develop individuals within my team. The role of a mentor is one that does not normally have line management responsibility for the mentee. In regard to the process, a Coach asks probing and often thought provoking questions and would not normally offer advice/guidance. A mentor on the other hand can provide guidance, taking a more directive approach. – Questioning techniques will often facilitate the individuals own thought processes in order to identify their own solutions and actions rather than been directed in an approach. This in turn encourages the individual’s commitment to their own development, change and growth. There can be a number of barriers to effective coaching for individuals and organisations. There can be a lack of understanding of the benefits of coaching and what coaching can achieve. There can be the perception about the validity of coaching and cost-effectiveness by senior managers and team members and questions being raised in relation to the actual benefits of coaching. Businesses may not prioritise any implementation of coaching as part of their overall learning and development strategy. Therefore not ensuring that it is part of the wider change needed to implement coaching as part of the workplace. With organisations not seeing the value to the business. Organisational culture which can be full of red tape and process does can add additional barriers to embedding coaching practice into the workplace. Coaching is a process to allow individuals to work out issues for themselves rather than be told what and how to do something. If the existing leadership style is one which focuses on short term results and a culture of individual achievements it may not consider the benefits of supporting and improving practice in all. The lack of vision may stifle the development of underperformers and even good performers to improve further. The lack of longer term investment could restrict longer term sustainable performance. The organisation, managers and individuals could all see that coaching is something that is just for underperformers. The example needs to be set from the top down and at times senior managers are reluctant to utilise the strengths of their staff as the coaches themselves. There are many benefits to introducing coaching to an organisation. With one key benefit being an increase in performance. It can promote...
References: Eric Parsloe, The manager the coach and the mentor(1999) page 8.
Clutterbuck, D & Megginson, D, Mentoring Executives and Directors (1999) page 3
Kenton and Moody (2001) Barbara Kenton, Diane Moody Roffey Park Institute Ltd, Jan 2001
Myles Downey in his book "Effective Coaching" Effective Coaching: Lessons from the Coach 's Coach, Oct 2003.
Bachkirova, T. Stevens, P and Willis, P (2005). Coaching Supervision (online). Oxford: Brookes, (http://brookes.ac.uk/schools/education/macoachment- pgcert.html)
Blucket, P (2004) Coaching Supervision (online). Bingley: peter Bluckert Coaching. (http//www.pbcoaching.com/articlecoaching-supervision.php)
Hawkins, P and Smith N (2006) Coaching, mentoring and organisational consultancy: Supervision and Development. Maidenhead: open university Press.
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