Coaching and Mentoring

Chris Brooks and I led a lively facilitated discussion last night at AITD’s NSW professional development evening. It was inspiring to hear the level of knowledge and experience in the room. Lots of bright ideas and tons of interpretations, views and ongoing questions.

One of the pervading issues revolved around trying to tease coaching and mentoring apart.  Perhaps one of the great learnings from the evening were:

  • coaching and mentoring are about the learner, not what we call the initiative
  • fundamentally we still need a needs analysis to identify the issue and the best approach
  • mentoring involves coaching conversations and coaching may use mentoring
  • there are more similarities than differences
  • each organisation needs to contextualise their own definition of coaching and mentoring
  • coaching and mentoring need a structure and process to enhance effectiveness
  • evaluation is likely to be soft (eg feedback and observation) unless there are specific outcomes which are measurable
  • the stickability and practicality of the learning is dependent on defining clear outcomes and expectations, the level of commitment of the parties and the capability of the mentor/coach to empower the learner
  • educating the coaches and mentors is critical to the success of the program

In terms of the hoary issue of ‘which is which‘, opinion diverged from Sally-Anne Cotton’s metaphor of it being a dance and the end result is what is important, to Margaret Dix’s reiteration that defining it at the outset is critical to ensuring clarity of agenda and approach.

There were no conclusions drawn but I’m confident from the feedback received on the night that it stimulated debate and further discussion will continue.

Ann Rolfe donated her e-book for the evening. (PDF file – Right click on the link to save it).

See if you can identify which rail track is a metaphor for coaching and which is for mentoring …. (click on the image below to advance through the presentation)