“The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.” — Plutarch
In Mahabharata, Krishna performed the role of Arjun’s charioteer throughout the battle, but he was much more than that. He was Arjun’s mentor, gently guiding and advising him at every step. This relationship stands as exemplary even today when we talk of mentoring.
Just before the onset of battle, when Arjun was plagued with doubts and apprehensions, the Bhagvad Gita narrated by Krishna served to give him the right perspective about his values and duties.
Throughout the battle, Not once did Arjun ever doubt the veracity of the advice given to him by Krishna, and Krishna also remained steadfast in his confidence in Arjun’s abilities.
“What is the difference between a coach and a mentor?” While the skills required are similar, and both are used as professional development tools, the structure and the outcome are quite different.
Coaching and Mentoring are philosophically very similar as it is the relationship between two people. The methods might differ between coaching and mentoring, but both are about helping people get where they want to go by leveraging the experience of the coach or mentor.
In this blog, we’ll explore the difference between Mentoring & Coaching and what are its key benefits.
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Competence (ISO 9000: 2015, Cl 3.10.4): Ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results
Skill (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.30): Learned capacity to perform a task to a specified expectation
Knowledge (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.25): Human or organizational asset enabling effective decisions and actions in the context
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Coaching and Mentoring both play a vital role in the human resource development of an organization. All individuals need supervision and support at various stages of their life whether it is about their performance and efficiency or career and effectiveness. The ultimate goal is development must be there or else they will lose their morale which will result in a decrease in their efficiency and effectiveness. So, at periodical intervals, coaching and mentoring should be provided to the employees of an organization which will benefit the employee as well as the organization too.
Mentoring: A mentor is someone who shares the knowledge, skills and/or experience, to help another to develop and grow or an experienced and trusted advisor
Coaching: A coach is someone who provides guidance to a client on their goals and helps them reach their full potential
Coaches: Generally, receive special training to guide people in any field towards achieving their goals.
Mentors: Generally, do not have formal training in mentorship. Their main focus is passing on specific skills and expertise to another person so they can be more successful.
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|The relationship is more likely to be short-term (up to 6 months or 1 year) with a specific outcome in mind. However, some coaching relationships can last longer, depending on the goals achieved.
|The relationship tends to be more long-term, lasting a year or two, and even longer.
|Coaching is more performance-driven, designed to improve the professional’s on-the-job performance. Example: Increase the sales by 10% in the next 12 months
|Mentoring is more development driven, looking not just at the professional’s current job function but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to career development. Example: Grooming someone to take up a leadership role in the coming 3 to 5 years
|Traditionally more structured, with regularly scheduled meetings, like weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
|Generally, meetings tend to be more informal, on an as-need basis required by the mentee.
|Coaches are hired for their expertise in a given area, one in which the coachee desires improvement. Examples: Presentation skills, leadership, interpersonal communication, sales.
|Within organization mentoring programs, mentors have more seniority and expertise in a specific area than mentees. The mentee learns from and is inspired by the mentor’s experience.
|The coaching agenda is co-created by the coach and the coachee to meet the specific needs of the coachee.
|The mentoring agenda is set by the mentee. The mentor supports that agenda.
|Asking thought-provoking questions is a top tool of the coach, which helps the coachee make important decisions, recognize behavioural changes and take action. Example: When a patient meets a psychologist, the psychologist asks questions from the patient and helps the patient to find solutions
|In the mentoring relationship, the mentee is more likely to ask more questions, tapping into the mentor’s expertise. Example: If a mentee has a stage fear, the mentor helps the mentee in finding ways to overcome that fear
|The outcome from a coaching agreement is specific and measurable, showing signs of improvement or positive change in the desired performance area.
|The outcome of a mentoring relationship can shift and change over time. There is less interest in specific, measurable results or changed behaviour and more interest in the overall development of the mentee.
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When to Use a Coach
- Develop raw talent with a specific new skill
- Enhance the experienced professional with a new or refreshed skill
- Help individuals who are not meeting expectations or goals
- Assist leaders in coping with large-scale change through a merger or acquisition, like managing new “blended” work teams and adapting to the merging of company cultures
- Prepare a professional for advancement in the organization
- Improve behaviour in a short period, like coaching an executive to address the media on a specific topic
- Work one-on-one with leaders who prefer working with a coach rather than attending “public” training programs
When to Use a Mentor
- Motivate talented professionals to focus on their career/life development
- Inspire individuals to see what is possible in their career/life
- Enhance the professional’s leadership development
- Transfer knowledge from senior to junior professionals
- Broaden intercultural or cross-cultural ties within the organization
- Use the mentoring process as an entrée to succession planning
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- How often the top management feels the importance to have a structured approach to coaching and mentoring?
- Wherever coaching and mentoring are implemented, how often the organization develops a methodology to gauge its effectiveness?
ISO 9001: 2015
ISO 9002: 2016
ISO 9004: 2018
IATF 16949: 2016
This is the 166th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.
Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.
- Deserve First, Desire Later: Beyond Instant Gratification
- Human Resource Management Life Cycle: Clause 8.0: ISO 30415: 2021: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Positive Emotional Detachment: Friend or Foe?
- Why Employee Resource Groups (ERG) are Important: ISO 30415: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Mistakes: The Stepping Stones to Leadership Greatness