Coaching and Mentoring – Putting things into practise: part 1

mentoring - putting things into practise

Coaching and mentoring – Putting things into practise: part 1

In order to appreciate how coaching and mentoring – putting things into practise can be successful we now examine the topic from a practical perspective.

If you can, hire the best

In mentoring – putting things into practise means that you need to hire those individuals who continually seek knowledge and are eager to develop new skills and who won’t accept the current way of doing things when they believe that they can offer better solutions.  Seek those individuals who want to know the whys and wherefores of things and won’t accept anything without due explanation and who are dissatisfied with not being challenged.

In hiring the best also ensure that those individuals are also suitably orientated towards the new work force.  To kick off the process, talk about the individual’s job responsibilities.  Review your assessment to identify skills gaps, knowledge and attitudes and discuss relevant training programmes, either on-the-job or offsite in order to help close those gaps.

mentoring – putting things into practise and the orientation process

Part of the orientation process after the new hire has commenced is to introduce departmental or organisational missions, strategies and tactics.  To get the most from your employees induct them quickly and as far as possible into the corporate culture, which should include information about the organisation’s financial situation.  Whether the news is good or otherwise it is better to ensure that people are informed to avoid negative speculation.

It is a good idea to introduce corporate values since these need to be discussed with mentees with respect to how such translate into behaviours that will increase visibility.  From a coaching perspective employees will be better able to understand and accept feedback that they receive when they are fully apprised of how their role plays out in the bigger picture of the organisation.

Coaching and mentoring meetings should be held frequently and never be limited to a one-time conversation.  Ideally, coaching sessions should be held on a monthly basis.  Mentoring sessions should be held more or less frequently depending on the needs of the mentee.

Creating the right climate

Coaching and mentoring can only exist in a climate that encourages a free-flowing open exchange of ideas and opinions.  In light of this, provide feedback, not criticism.  Be assertive and specifically demonstrate the validity of your comments.  When giving feedback try to do so in a manner that communicates that any errors in performance are learning opportunities.

Becoming a role model

This rule applies to those who act as both coach and mentor.    Always bear in mind the axiom, “Do what I say, not what I do.”   In your role as either coach or mentor, it is not a good idea for your staff to associate this type of statement to you.   One needs to also bear in mind that when one is constantly visible to one’s employees, these individuals will be emulating you and watching your behaviour.  Make sure that what you do is also what you would want those you coach or mentor to do.  And most importantly, keep your promises.   In particular, ensure that you keep your promise to maintain open and honest channels of communication with those whom you coach or mentor in order to provide them with the opportunity to reach their full potential, personal empowerment and recognition and rewards for performance excellence.

Address training needs is an ongoing process

Often, employees’ training needs only become evident after a few weeks or months into the job or a job changes as technology progresses and procedures or rules change.  Whatever the reason, as coach or mentor, one needs to see training as an ongoing process and regularly address skills discrepancies through training that bridge the gap between actual performance and optimum performance.

In addition, as coach and mentor one needs also to look beyond the current skills needs of employees in identifying those skills that will contribute towards the individual’s potential for advancement.  If classic classroom training is not an option due to limited funds, consider alternative training methods such as online training.  Assignment as assistant on a project can also provide a learning experience for individuals who learn well from example.

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