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Why Coaching and not Mentoring?

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

In a previous blog, Why Mentoring and not Coaching? the case was made for choosing mentoring over coaching subject to the need of an organisation. It was said that comparison of “mentoring and coaching is more pronounced in training and academic exercises” and that whilst in practice, “professional coaches are often equipped with mentoring skills”, organisations are prone to a choice of wrong process due to perceived blurred lines between the two. A wrong turn of choice impacts individuals, teams or groups engaged in coaching process, denying them of confidence and prerequisite qualities to undertake the responsibilities of driving business goals.

Why choose coaching therefore? Coaching, like mentoring, is a people development tool. A tool ingrained into the qualities of a person with responsibilities or part responsibilities for business goals. Some of these qualities harness the ability to think outside the box with objectivity.

Coaching is more of an external process than internal; however, organisations are internalising coaching more whilst not losing focus on independence from internal business and personal challenges.

The coaching framework enables the coachee figure out solutions or what to do in support of business goals as they are reflective than instructive. The framework eschews direct views or opinions of the coach. It also disallows the coach’s involvement in an organisation’s internal politics or make subjective judgment. It is unacceptable for the coach to be tainted by these factors so that the outcome of the coaching process can be as objective as possible. Organisations with internal coaching have this balance to strike to achieve a proper coaching culture.

A coach guides the coachee for confidence and competence to define business goals through their own personal empowerment opened up in the coaching process. The coachee sets the goal of the process and leads the discussion in attaining those goals. This is one reason that a coach is not expected to be an expert in the subject matter. The outcome of a professional coaching process is therefore deemed authentic. These are what mentoring is incapable of.

To get to this point, an organisation should understand that coaching process includes a dynamic and flexible framework yet with a formal agreement. An absence of a formal agreement is unethical. Such an agreement should define the ground rules as well as time frame which usually last a minimum of four sessions or one month. Agreement should encompass understanding between the coach, the coachee and of course the sponsor or the organisation.

Coaching processes, which are more of knowledge sharing than knowledge transfer, could be used not only individuals but also teams and groups, with focus on performance with a short-term specific goal.

In conclusion, organisation should take feedback in the coaching very seriously since this helps all parties to the process for evaluation of their investment as well as help the coach improve the process if invited in the future.

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Comparing mentoring and coaching is more pronounced in training and academic exercises. However, in practice, two facts readily avail themselves. One, professional coaches are often equipped with ment

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