Q: What Is the Distinction Between Coaching and Mentoring
It is easy to become confused about coaching and mentoring. To add to the confusion, it is important to distinguish between coaching as a management skill set and professional coaching performed by a professional outside your company.
The similarities have more to do with the required skill sets that mentoring and coaching share. Both the mentor and coach use strong interpersonal and communication skills as well as intentional coaching skills. The objectives of the mentor and coach can be similar--to increase personal work-related effectiveness within the work/organizational culture. Both are organizational resources that can greatly enhance one's professional and personal learning and development and achievement of goals.
|1. Primary location||Internal||Internal or external|
|2. Primary role||Senior-level in authority or expertise within the company. Longer-than- average tenure in company. Can be on technical track with an interest in coaching or a management track with an interest in helping develop talent for his/her organization.||Professional coach with specific training applicable to professional coaching. Certified in the use of work-related personal assessment tools.|
|3. Experience and knowledge required|| Broad organizational perspective around the company's structure, policies, processes, politics
Similar future career direction
Has broad, multiple work experiences related to person's interests
| Past successful business experience
Formal education/experience in organizational psychology and coaching
Certified in the use of personal work-related assessments (behavioral, personal values, soft skills, job competencies, etc.)
|4. Goals|| Support success and advancement
Support and advise on career development
Serve as a personal advocate
Advise the person on best ways to maneuver the political waters of an organization and open doors
Provide advice about strategies for best way to accomplish work goals
| Support success and advancement
Create greater self-awareness around strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for learning and development
Help people identify personal goals that support work goals
Maintain focus on desired areas/objectives
Help people accomplish personal development faster than if left on their own
|5. Methods|| One-on-one face-to-face meetings, lunch or dinners
Tells, advises, suggests, instructs
| One-on-one phone or face-to-face meetings
More formal structure with informal conversational tone
Measurable goals established
Personal talent/personality/soft-skill assessments
Periodic meetings with boss
Use of provocative questions to expand the person's universe
|6. Involvement of others||May be directed to others to accomplish work||Typically includes boss of person being coached to articulate work-related goals and key accountabilities|
|7. Scope||Organizational and career maneuvering within context of current job and future potential||Personal and professional development within context of current job and future potential|
For more on mentoring, please seeMentoring Matters.
SOURCE: Carl Nielson, principal, the Nielson Group, Dallas, April 24, 2006.
LEARN MORE: An outline of eight steps in the coaching process is found here. Also, some companies are finding that group mentoring can be a cost-effective alternative to the old one-on-one style.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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