Coaching and mentoring programs at work: For a successful performance in your organizations
Department of Management, University of Applied Science of Ludwigshafen, Ludwigshafen, Germany
According to the Global survey of coaching by PriceWaterHouseCoopers the ROI for companies investing in coaching is 7 times the initial investment. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of developing talent by the use of coaching and mentoring programs. These programs help organizations develop leaders, increase potential and apply new knowledge under the advice and guidance of experts. This essay will give a short overview about the main differences between coaching and mentoring, the importance of these programs, real world examples of success and how companies can find the right methods to support talent.
Coaching- “A coach is a specialist who works with the protégé on specific goals and objectives – the professional equivalent of a fitness trainer. “(Alexa Michael, 2008, p. 5). In working life “coaching helps employees to get the best performance out of themselves - the potential which was already there, [...], primary aimed at developing skills competences and improving performance in specific areas. Coaching engagements for talent development are short term, focused programs.” (Lis Merrick, 2013, p. 3).
Today coaching programs has become an important part for many companies because of their positive impact on personal development. The next slide shows a list of 15 areas where coaching often has his influence.
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Figure 1: ICF Global Coaching Client Study, Executive Summery (2009)
The research shows that exist two kinds of coaches, an internal and external coach. What are the differences between an internal coach and an external coach? An internal coach, is a coach who works at the same company. Sometimes it could be an internal manager or a certified coach. (Lis Merrick, 2013). According to the Institute of Employment Studies an internal coach costs less, is always available, knows well the employees, has a flexible schedule and more time to analyze which area needs to be coached. On the other hand, an external coach is more credible and can see the situation more objective than an internal coach. (Alison Carter, 2005)
Often the question arises, which type of coach is better for organizations? In times of low budget, experts recommend to qualify executives in coaching abilities rather than hire external coaches. Additionally, while coaching process executives will get effective coaching from each other, in times where budget is not an issue, it is proposed to employ external coaches while developing executives as effective coaches in the company as well. That would be a successful way to use both methods. (Carol Wilson, 2011)
Mentoring relates “to the identification and nurturing of potential for the whole person. It can be a long-term relationship, where the goals may change but are always set by the learner [...] feedback comes from within the mentee – the mentor helps them to develop insight and understanding through intrinsic observation, that is, becoming more aware of their own experiences. “(David Megginsion/David Clutterbuck, 2005, p. 4).
The research shows that there are different schools of mentoring, from non-directive to sponsor mentoring. “In a non-directive model, the mentor acts as a sounding board, a catalyst for the individual’s learning and perhaps a role model. In a sponsor model, a more senior person promotes, oversees and takes control of a junior protégé’s career. While coaching focuses on individual skill development or immediate performance, mentoring focuses more on career development, leadership development and knowledge transfer. (Lis Merrick, 2013)
The experience with professional coaching and mentoring experts demonstrate that it is useful to familiarize with both schools when choosing what type of approach to use in talent development. Commonly a combination of developmental and sponsorship mentoring can drive the highest result of supporting the talent across all areas. Mentoring is often used to help employees to rise on carrier stages, to advance interactive learning and to encourage personnel at all level within the company (Lis Merrick, 2013). These kinds of programs are appropriate for: “fast tracked people, anybody developing a new career, employees returning to work after a career break, individuals who respond better to alternative learning methods.” (Alexa Michael, 2008, p. 5)
The coming slide shows the different mentoring styles and their influence on particular areas.
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Figure 2: Mentoring programs can range from full protégé sponsorship to self-directed role modelling, Lis Merrick 2013: p.4
Coaching and Mentoring Culture
According to experts like Wilson, Michael or Merrick every successful organization that offers coaching or mentoring programs is focusing on similar areas:
1 Feedback mechanism and working commitment. Carol Wilson, Director of Performance Coach Training, illustrates in her survey that humans are instinctively “creative, enjoy contributing and like to have a measure of control. “(p.3). A distant attitude without any positive feedback or suggestions of improvement of the mentor will be counterproductive for the mentee. Therefore, it is essential to create a positive learning atmosphere by using praise and by building a working mentality where employees feel “emotionally engaged” with the organization which helps them to rise on their carrier stages and to advance interactive learning. (Lis Merrick, 2013), (Alexa Michael, 2008).
2 Objectivity and trust. Evidence shows that human beings learn through making mistakes. Thus, managers should accept defeat and allow employees to make their personal experience through failures. In addition, mentors/coaches are offering “space to experiment, plus a measure of support, advise, good role models, clear guidelines of what is expected of them.” To provide confidence in the mentee, mentors and coaches let demonstrate their own abilities to resolve conflicts which will bring them happiness, pride and will stimulate the motivation of the mentee. (Carol Wilson, 2011, p.4)
Further we take a closer look at companies who established coaching and mentoring programs in their companies and their result.
Success Stories and Return on Investment
- “A retail bank with 2800+ branches employed mentoring, [...], enthusiastic employees boosted the participation to 50 % higher than expected.” (Lis Merrick, 2013, p. 6)
- “A large aerospace firm implemented employees career development, mentoring and technical knowledge transfer, engaging more than 10,000 of their global employees and resulting in increased employee satisfaction and program expansion.” (Lis Merrick, 2013, p. 6)
- “Company ROI: The vast majority (89%) of those able to provide figures to calculate ROI indicated that their company had at least made their investment back. In fact, almost one fifth (19%) of 10 to 49 times in investment. The median company return is 700% indicating that typically a company can expect a return of 7 times the initial investment.” (ICF Global Coaching Client Study, Executive Summery 2009, p. 9)