Often combined together and used interchangeably, mentoring and business coaching both have a common aim that is the development and improvement of individuals in terms of their effectiveness in the workplace.
Whereas business coaching typically involves a coach acting as a sounding board and discussing the issues that are holding the employee back from achieving certain goals or maximising their potential at work, the term mentor is usually applied to someone who has more experience of certain tasks or methods and aims to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to another less-experienced person.
By learning with the assistance of someone who has 'been there and already done it', the employee can learn much faster than if they had to make the same mistakes themselves over time and learn from them happening.
Providing mentoring will allow an employee to begin working and solving problems by themselves in a much shorter timeframe. This is usually highly desired by managers as they do not want to be bogged down and have time taken out of their busy daily schedule to answer questions about every minor detail of the task which the employee is currently engaged in.
One of the disadvantages to mentoring is that the person providing the mentoring will be occupied and not be able to do work themselves whilst they are providing mentoring and support to someone. As mentoring is provided by an employee who has a lot of experience, they are likely to not only have been with the company or in the industry for a long time, but also have been specifically chosen to be a mentor because they are good at what they do. This probably means that they are one of the department's top employees who usually works on the most important or complicated tasks, so having them effectively out of action in terms of productivity can have a detrimental effect on the company, at least in the short term.
Mentoring should not be seen as a way to remove problems from employees, as the only way they can be removed is by taking the responsibility off them and onto somebody else, which is not ideal, especially as this person is likely to be you the manager! Instead, mentoring should lead to the creation of a plan or method of working which allows the employee to tackle the problem themselves by using their own initiative.
It is important to remember that business coaching and mentoring are different things entirely to training courses. Whereas training courses are designed specifically to teach people how to do aspects of their job, coaching and mentoring is more concerned with getting the person to offer their own input and contribute to the solution to certain issues and problems, with the support and advice of the coach.
Whilst they may be one of the best employees, they are unlikely to be perfect. Mentors are liable to pass on any bad habits or incorrect techniques to those they are mentoring who will often copy what the mentor does.
So whilst mentoring is highly beneficial, it also needs to be remembered that it is not perfect insofar as mistakes and bad habits can also be passed on as well as all the good stuff.
To combat this, more than one mentor can be used, taking it in turns. This helps alleviate the situation described above in which the contribution of a highly effective employee is temporarily lost whilst they perform this mentoring role, as it will be more spread out with others.
However, there may be a problem in that with many people getting involved showing a person how to do something, they may get confused if different people tell them conflicting information. In some cases, having one person explaining things is better than multiple strategies and opinions.
If you are a manager with a busy schedule, you may be reluctant to set aside time to provide mentoring to your employees. However these short term requirements on your time will usually result in significant benefits in the long term as employees can use the valuable information you have imparted to them from your experiences and knowledge to solve problems themselves rather than having to bother you with every small issue.
The establishment of a mentoring and coaching program in your organisation will help your employees grow, learn and develop new skills, when done under the direction and proper advice of an expert. Additionally, the establishment of a mentoring program will aid in aligning the goals of your company through the professional development of the employees. Mentoring and coaching programs provide various benefits to both the employee and the company.
A qualified coach or mentor can help new employees in the company adjust to the company culture. The coach will provide the employees with the appropriate information on the organisation's culture, structure, and the various procedures in place within the business, which will help them to settle into their new role more comfortably. Furthermore, the company could take a step further and assign a mentor to the new employees, who will assist them during their adjustment period. As a result, this will aid the employees in getting up to speed with the various policies and procedures.
The mentoring and coaching program will provide the employee with relevant real-world knowledge that will be able to bridge the gap that exists between the educational theory and the actual practices taking place within the organisation. The mentor will further grow the employees, honing leadership skills and remaining in touch to ensure that the growth and development of the employee is continuous.
The establishment of a mentoring and a coaching program within your business will enhance and boost the morale of your employees. Accordingly, increased morale within the organisation will increase the productivity levels and career development of each individual. The establishment of a supportive atmosphere will also improve the employee's loyalty to the company; therefore, this will reduce the business turnover rate, reducing the additional costs of providing further training to new employees.
As a corporation, you will be in a better position to align the business objectives with the mentoring program to gain a competitive edge in your line of business. A good example would be when the program could target the new employees in the process of product development. The new staff will be able to bring in fresh ideas to the organisation, and, as a result, gaining that much needed competitive edge. Additionally, the development of employees in the struggling departments of the organisation will benefit the company's overall objectives ultimately.
For more information on our business coaching courses, mentoring provisions and the other areas of our expertise such as team building facilitation and interpersonal skills development, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or contact us online with a brief overview of your requirements by clicking on the button below.
The BCF Group have evolved from the Business Coaching Foundation, which was established in 2001. We have leadership development and business coaching at our core. Having representation from global learning leads, executive coaches and talent development specialists, we deliver accredited people development programs.Find Out More
Please see below for some related courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:
The ILM Level 7 Qualifications for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors are designed for senior leaders/managers (or those working in a training and development role) who are regularly coaching or mentoring at a senior level.
It is for those executive coaches who wish to accredit, validate or enhance their skills with an internationally-recognised executive coaching qualification.
Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors, this ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring programme has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams.
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This two-day accredited management training programme brings together the key leadership skills you need to be an effective manager so you can return to the workplace, deliver tangible results and help your teams reach their full potential.
It covers problem-solving, decision making, workplace communication and leading, and motivating teams effectively, among much more.
This course has been designed for those who are new to management or who are about to take up a management position.
Run over a single day, the course covers a wide range of topics to give new and inexperienced managers a good understanding of the foundations needed to begin their journey as a manager.
It includes modules on communication, managing your team, managing yourself, delegating, setting objectives, planning and personal development.
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