How Both Coaching and Mentoring Can Best Support Your Staff

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Coaching

What it is:

If you’ve managed others for any length of time, you’ll be familiar with what coaching is. Simply put, it’s about supervising a staff member’s performance and providing direction to help them do better. This may involve giving specific instructions on how to complete some aspect of their work. Coaching also requires working closely with the individual to monitor their progress and continually giving guidance and correction about the tasks they’re completing.

When it helps:

There are certain circumstances where coaching can bring the most value. Employees who are new on the job, understandably, require a fair amount of direction and advice. They need to be shown the ropes, so to speak, and they are bound to have lots of questions about their job duties.

How to use it:

When and how to coach someone can be a bit of a judgment call. Some supervisors may be reluctant to use it since they don’t want to be perceived as a micromanager. As a result, they may take more of a hands-off approach and leave coaching until an annual performance review.

Implementation tips:

To get the most mileage from coaching an employee, it’s essential to get to know them a little. This includes finding out what they like most about their job and how they enjoy working for the company. Express faith in their abilities and remind them that there are no silly or insignificant questions. This builds trust, and it will help you better assess when coaching is needed.

Mentoring

What it is:

In the context of the workplace, mentoring is about building a supportive relationship with someone that’s based on what career goals they’re striving to attain. The mentor seeks to comprehend what personal growth the mentee is hoping to attain and how they believe meeting with the mentor can provide value.

When it helps:

Mentoring can be very effective when an employee wants to learn a new skill set and needs some assistance in sorting out how to begin and/or navigating some of the steps along the way. It can be especially useful if they lack sufficient confidence. In this case, having someone in their corner who is interested in seeing them do well will give the mentee a boost.

How to use it:

As with coaching, mentoring relies on first developing a good level of rapport. Having said that, the mentoring relationship is on a different footing since the mentor is not acting in a supervisory capacity. When reviewing an employee’s performance, you may notice those who could benefit from a mentor and identify someone to fill this role.

Implementation tips:

Formal mentoring programs are a great way to go. These involve structure and regular opportunities to monitor the initiative’s effectiveness. Depending on the employees involved, a novel approach is to set up a co-mentoring program (perhaps pairing staff from different departments, for example).

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Eugene Chrinian

Eugene Chrinian

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Eugene Chrinian is the CEO of Ashley Furniture HomeStores in NY and NJ. Eugene Chrinian's mission includes an emphasis on Leadership and Christian Values.