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Coaching and Mentoring

Updated: Jan 1, 2019

If you have read my other works you know I’m big on coaching and mentoring. Throughout my career I felt this was one of my most important responsibilities. Coaching is the act of helping another develop or improve abilities, knowledge, and/or skills. Whenever I took on an assignment, one of my first actions was to begin to either select my possible successor or prepare others for equivalent positions. Coaching requires a set of skills that many may consider contrary to their survival instinct when leading or managing. If you are intent on protecting your own turf, coaching may not be for you. Coaching is simply helping others become all they can be. It helps if the person being coached is motivated to seek new knowledge, has a positive attitude, is willing to examine their values, and behave in concert with those values.  

Coaches refrain from doing a task themselves (even though there is a high probability they can do it better, at least initially or telling someone what to do and how to do it. Instead the coach focuses on how to support and encourage another to accomplish the task on their own. In some instances, modeling the expected behavior may be instructive. These tasks may focus on the organization or the individual needs. They may include short or long-term objectives. They may be strategic or tactical. In a business environment, the emphasis may be career development. Whatever the purpose, the process cycle is the same.

The intent of this pontification is to provide a primer on coaching and mentoring. There are many resources you can use to extend your knowledge on this subject. One to get you started is The Coaching Tools Company. Lets cover a few of the skills an effective coach should practice.

Assess: Identify the knowledge and/or skills required to accomplish the intended task.

Set Goals: Plan specific manageable steps you and the person being coached need to follow to achieve the desired outcome.

Prepare: Identify the essential resources and people needed to obtain the knowledge and skills to implement your plan.

Implement: Review, and if necessary modify, the first three steps. Put your plan into action. Observe the process and collect any data that will help future decisions.

Reflect: Evaluate the effectiveness of your process and plan any next steps

Make a committment today to asess your coaching skills and develop a plan to improve your them. You owe it to yourself and the people who count on you to help make them better.

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