Coaching & Mentoring22nd March 2021
Coaching and mentoring serve as learning tools in the workplace that can lead to empowering your employees. The employees who are coached and mentored often receive the greatest benefit, but the coach or mentor also benefits and may feel a sense of empowerment from the relationship. Understanding the dynamics and outcomes of this type of workplace learning strategy helps you evaluate the need for a coaching program in your small business.
Coaching at work is designed to help employees learn or enhance specific skills. It focuses on one individual over a defined period of time, helping them to develop effectively. It can be used to:
- Teach new skills in a focused way
- improve performance in a particular area of work
- build ‘soft’ skills like confidence, interpersonal relationships or planning
The objective of coaching at work is to help an employee make a distinct improvement in an agreed area. That improvement might be measurable through KPIs, or it might be a softer target. To achieve it, the employee receives support and constructive feedback from a designated coach.
Coaching is a powerful tool for employees, but your company will also reap the benefits of a specially trained workforce.
The great benefit of coaching is that you are likely to see quick, positive results as an outcome. This is because coaching is participative and people tend to learn and adopt new habits more easily when they are actively engaged in the learning process.
Mentoring involves the use of the same models and skills of questioning, listening, clarifying and reframing associated with coaching.
Traditionally, mentoring in the workplace is usually where a more experienced colleague uses his or her greater knowledge and understanding of the workplace in order to support the development of a less experienced member of staff.
Deciding if coaching is the right approach
How do you know if coaching will work for your company? In truth, it can depend on the context and the people concerned.
Some employees will respond enthusiastically, especially to the right coach, and will come on leaps and bounds. For example, you could use a professional coach to:
- Bring out the full potential of a gifted employee
- help technical experts improve interpersonal skills
- train managers to handle conflict situations
Although coaching at work is normally very effective, it doesn’t suit every situation or every personality. Other options to consider might be external training, mentoring or online learning.
Coach or Mentor Empowerment
The experienced employee who serves as the coach or mentor is able to show his knowledge and skill in the industry. This added challenge can boost his confidence and give him a sense of empowerment in his own work. In some cases, the employee the mentors push him to learn new skills in the industry. The collaboration between coach and mentor can lead to new ideas and achievements to aid them both in succeeding.
A mentor provides support for a new employee, but the ultimate goal is to empower the employee to work independently with the skills she has learned. The ability to work successfully on her own brings a sense of empowerment as she gains independence in the workplace. While employees feel confident to work independently, the mentoring program creates a sense of teamwork and often boosts morale for your employees. This positive work environment continues to empower employees in their work.
Coaching and mentoring often includes goal setting for the employee. The mentor helps the new employee set specific goals related to the job. The two work together to create a plan to reach those goals. Mentors can customize objectives and support that that employee needs for his particular role. The mentor is also available as a resource if the new employee needs support along the way to be successful. Having a set of challenging goals is motivating and empowers the employee to work beyond the minimum requirements.
Coaching and mentoring gives new employees a hands-on training program to learn job expectations. Instead of throwing a new employee right into the position, he gets a support system and an interactive learning situation that may engender more on-the-job confidence. Mentored employees may often feel a greater sense of understanding of what is required of them in their jobs because they get one-on-one job training, support and the advice of an experienced employee. When an employee receives this kind of personalized training, he may feel empowered to fully perform his job duties.
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