Coaching and mentoring within the context of an organisation has been defined as ‘The potential to transform individuals’ performance and organisations’ success…Coaching enables managers to find business solutions using their own resources and as such it can be a powerful tool for organsational development. (Institute of Leadership and Management, 2011)
Suzanne Faure describes mentoring a ‘long term relationship that meets a development need, helps develop full potential, and benefits all partners, mentor, mentee and the organisation’1
The University of Leicester Coaching Acadamy defines Coaching ‘the coachee has all the resources required to be able to solve his or her own issues…Coaching, as we see it, is not about giving advice and the coach does not need to be an ‘expert’ in the coachee’s area of work. Nor is it counselling, although occasionally personal issues may be considered when necessary. There are boundaries in coaching and the coach promises to work within the limit of his or her knowledge and competence, focusing on work-related issues’
In summary these quotes suggest that coaching and mentoring are both important areas for organisations to have to support the development of staff and leaders to reach their full potential.
There are many similarities between coaching and mentoring practices as listed below;
• Both require a confidential environment to be established and maintained throughout the interactions and outside of the interaction.
• For both practices this is achieved through contracting at the start of the coaching or mentoring and maintaining trust.
• Also established when contracting are the professional boundaries and framework that will be worked within although the role of each differs.
• Coaching and mentoring are practices that support the individual to improve in a working environment, however may also be used for personal development too.
• Questioning and listening skills are required in both practices
• Being supportive and non-are important factors of both practices
The table below illustrates the differences between coaching and mentoring.
Coaching Mentoring Explanation
Short term Medium to longer term Coaching would normally take place for about 4 sessions of 1 ½ hours over a couple of months whereas Mentoring may happen over several months
Used to improve abilities and performance in the coachees current role Used to supports career progression/aspirations Due to the shorter-term nature of coaching, in organisations coaching is used to improve people’s current development and performance needs. For example, time management and motivation, whereas mentoring supports people to excel in their aspirational career through learning from an expert.
Little or no knowledge of area/role Highly knowledgeable/skilled in role or has an aspirational role It is best when coaching to have little or knowledge of the person’s as this aides with the need to not provide advice, whereas mentors are normally highly skilled and experienced in their role and offer advise based on experience.
Answer comes from within the person Answer provided by sharing experience Coaching is a non-advisory practice which requires coaches to work with individuals to gain answers for themselves through questioning, time to talk and time to reflect. Mentoring as a practice however is about passing on knowledge and sharing own experiences.
Outcomes developed through interactions Outcomes developed from the start This area is linked to the above. In coaching practice due to the thinking that answers come from within outcomes are made by the coach through the interactions because of effective questioning. In mentoring however, outcomes are developed at the start to support both mentor and mentee to understand the direction of what specific advice and discussions may need to take place.
1 .Coaching Network – Articles ink http://www.coachingnetwork.org.uk/information-portal/articles/ViewArticle.asp?artId=54 – Accessed 17th March 2018