Making the Most of Coaching and Mentoring

Successful coaching and mentoring requires accountability, an open mindset, matchmaking, and measurement.

I have always found that I learn and retain more when I put pen to paper. So I was intrigued when Progress Coaching CEO Tim Hagen submitted his proposal for a feature article on “Journal-Based Coaching” for this coaching/mentoring-themed April online-only issue.

“Journal-Based Coaching prompts learners to journal what they have learned and what they’ve applied from the learning,” Hagen explains in “Journal-Based Coaching Is the Write Stuff for Learners.” “This leads to increased accountability often missing from traditional training and coaching. By asking people to journal—and ultimately verbalize their learnings or observations—they become accountable for the application and retention of the training/learning process.”

Trying to measure the impact and effectiveness of coaching is no easy task. In fact, the International Coaching Federation’s 2020 Global Coaching Study found that evaluating the impact of coaching was the #1 ongoing challenge for organizations. ICF CEO Magdalena Nowicka Mook notes that the benefits and impact are best calculated by focusing on how coaching translates to an organization’s desired business outcomes, aka “Return on Expectations” (see “ROE: The Effective Way to Measure the Impact of Coaching”).

In addition to measuring the overall effectiveness of coaching, it’s also critical to evaluate the effectiveness of coaches and make sure they are the right fit for coachees. “When choosing a coach, coachees should seek qualifications/track record, relevant skill, experience, rapport, and trust,” stresses Dr. Craig Knight, founder and director of Identity Realization Limited.

In “Choosing the Best Career Coach,” he offers a variety of tips and best practices to ensure the best match.

TLT Coaching Chairman Dr. George W. Watts details a new leadership coaching model that focuses on tapping into how and where leaders add strategic value, and how they can influence outcomes bigger than themselves. He contends that “behavioral coaching—an ‘Outside In’ approach—works well for tactical managers where coaching looks to change specific behavior.” Conversely, he says, “the abstract and strategic role of leaders requires a strength-based ‘Inside Out’ approach—where the focus is on the individual’s psyche. This approach advocates changing the leader’s mindset first; behavior naturally and quickly follows. When leaders grow through understanding and heavily leaning into using their strengths to add strategic value, they accomplish lofty, big-picture goals.” Learn more in “Inside Out: A New Model for Leadership Coaching.”

A team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center implemented a new mentoring model after an Employee Opinion Survey found that only 45 percent of respondents thought executive leaders were in touch with the issues employees were facing. In addition, only 58 percent of respondents said mentoring was valued and encouraged.

In response, the team created the Mentoring Up program, which reversed the mentoring roles—front-line staff and faculty played the role of mentor and the executive served as the mentee. A year after the program began, respondents reported a 7-point increase in the level of agreement with executive leaders being aware of the major challenges employees face and an 11-point increase in mentoring being encouraged and valued. Check out “Mentoring Up: A Different Approach to Leadership Development” to learn more about the program.

One important aspect of coaching and mentoring is recognition—including recognizing an employee’s efforts to improve, to change, to master new skills, to move outside of their comfort zone, to try new things, to aspire to new heights. Done right, recognition connects people, makes them feel proud, and inspires them. A little inspiration goes a long way—especially these days!

Training magazine’s Emerging Training Leaders awards program is an excellent way to show your emerging leaders that you recognize their hard work and value their contributions. This program aims to recognize professionals who have been in the training/learning and development (L&D) industry between 2 and 10 years, and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, business savvy, and training instincts.

Please consider nominating one of your colleagues, managers, or direct reports—at your organization or at a customer or vendor’s organization. Each company can nominate up to two candidates (no self-nominations, please). There is no fee to nominate someone. For more details on the program and to download the 2021 nomination form, click HERE.

I look forward to reading about the talented L&D leaders you work with, coach, and mentor!

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November / December 2020

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