What is the strategic purpose of coaching and mentoring?

Organizations use advice and mentoring to increase accountability for implementing changes and improve performance by quickly discovering and realizing hidden potential. They also help maintain staff turnover by increasing a sense of loyalty, commitment and pride in the workplace. Your role as a coach or mentor is to help your clients achieve their full potential. Since everyone has a set of inherent strengths, whether recognized or not, you must identify, extract and take advantage of the strengths of your customers.

Executive mentoring often addresses the larger context of your life and career. Executive mentors can help you achieve immediate and long-term goals, including goals that extend into the future. If we think that executive coaching is about improving your skills and expanding them, executive mentoring focuses on imparting wisdom about how to deploy and use your skills. Every business executive has their own leadership and management style.

Traditional styles are more based on authoritarian and transactional styles, where a clear hierarchy and duties are detailed. Depending on the leader, these styles can become harsh and unrealistic expectations can ruin employee morale. Considered a friendly leadership style, the training and mentoring style allows you to create effective teams. While there should always be a clear chain of command, coaching helps foster employees' skills and mentoring prepares them for higher-level responsibilities.

Coaching is a skill (learn more about training skills for managers). The result is a more motivated staff, with members who also end up training each other in many cases, sharing tips and tricks that are taught to them. The starting point for implementing a training program of this nature must be to develop a clear framework that begins with the strategic plan. Because humility is based on vulnerability, this allows the coach or mentor to present themselves as the “real” person and paves the way for an authentic connection.

People are now also much more willing to admit that they are receiving training as a sign of being self-aware, rather than a sign of failure. For this style to be successful, the coach must not only criticize mistakes or deficiencies, but also be willing to point out successes. Because its scope is considerably broader than that of executive coaching, a mentoring relationship usually lasts at least nine or ten months. With its focus on discrete, short-term objectives, executive coaching is structured to achieve optimal results in a minimum period of time.

It's important to understand this, as coaching and mentoring are important roles you play as a manager. Executive coaching focuses on results that can be achieved in a relatively short period of time (generally three to six months). You'll also learn about coaching and mentoring, and how these two activities can bring out the best in your employees. As you can see, coaches don't offer solutions on their own, they don't insert their points of view into the conversation, but they encourage the coach to explore the topic for himself and to take responsibility for developing the solution.

There are many similarities between coaching and mentoring, but there is also a fundamental difference. You have to believe that the coach has the gold, you have to believe that he can find the solutions on his own.