Coaching and mentoring is imperative in today's competitive world, especially when organizations are changing from hierarchical to team structures.
The business environment is changing rapidly with unstable global economic conditions, a shortage of skills, knowledge gap, and the ever-increasing demands from employees working in multinational organizations. Presently, the necessity to compete aggressively in the corporate world pushes companies to drive top class management and a productive workforce, attempting to yield superior results on a day-to-day basis.
With tremendous pressure mounting at each level, coaching and mentoring employees for process improvisation becomes inescapable. Change is inevitable as the modified roles and behaviors are an outcome of raised expectations. The new generation of workforce must meet demands and surpass expectations, ultimately causing an information overload, leading to juggling between roles and responsibilities. It is increasingly becoming difficult to induce motivation among existing employees while securing and retaining talent. These circumstances highlight the need for coaching and mentoring in a corporate environment.
Coaching and mentoring is the process of individual performance improvement, based on the mutual understanding between a coach and an individual. It is something we all do on a daily basis - influencing, leading, motivating and instructing - the only difference is we do not name the overall process. The objective of coaching and mentoring lies in achieving the purpose of enriching and empowering employees to enable them to become independent and self-driven, capable of wise decision-making.
In today's competitive world, organizations are changing from hierarchical to team structures, further emphasizing the necessity of coaching and mentoring. While coaching is task oriented and mentoring is relationship-oriented, similar type of implementation process needs to be in place for exercising either of these processes.
For simpler understanding of the topic, I have divided the entire process of coaching and mentoring into 7 simple phases.
1. Establish Goals – this phase requires the coach to set up goals for the mentee
2. Collect Performance Data – this phase begins with the collection of the previous performance cycle to acquire insight into the capabilities and shortcomings of the individual.
3. Analyze Performance – this phase starts off with the segregation of collected data so as to understand the amount of tasks and deliveries that have been completed on time
4. Review / Modify Performance Goals as needed – this phase requires the mentor to engage in a thoughtful process and determine new responsibilities and goals
5. Action Plan development – this phase will involve the mentor to devise an action plan suitable for the individual
6. Implement Strategy – this phase will bring actual conceptualized strategies into workable projects
7. Evaluate Performance – this is the last phase of process wherein performance is evaluated based on goals achieved.
In this process, the coach decides on how to strike a winning balance between directive and non-directive coaching. Depending on the knowledge and competence level of coachee, the nature of coaching should be decided. For an audience of relatively high level of intellectual capability, non-directive coaching is one of the appropriate methodologies. Many a times, the entire process of coaching has a connection with the ego of coaches. The though-provoking questions asked by a coach during non-directive coaching incite logical thinking, which can help coaches work out a problem solution themselves. For an audience with a 'not so high' level of intellectual capability, directive coaching can help impart fresh knowledge about a subject matter. However, there is no 'One Size Fits All' coaching style. For example, no matter how talented your staff may be, non-directive coaching cannot work at the time of an emergency like an earthquake or a fire.
The most challenging job of a mentor becomes finding suitable candidates and retaining talent. The increasing number of training programs and self- development sessions among corporate houses is an example of this immense need. This opportunity can be seized on various occasions - be it joining of a new team member, or exit of individuals, excessive dependency on mentor, or an altered scenario regarding policies/regulations and procedures at the work place. As he or she dons the hat of mentorship, it is the prime role of a mentor to praise his or her mentee effectively and criticize constructively. It is for them to make sure that a great team demonstrates enthusiasm and motivation, leading to a smooth implementation of policies and processes.
It is highly gratifying for any mentor to experience the fruits of his hard work when he achieves a win-win situation for him as well as the individual he guided. Feedback system plays a critical role in the coaching and mentoring process, which is a continuous and two-way process wherein both coach and coachee evaluate each other against their goals to achieve. Any feedback must contain these three things: hardcore facts, their impact and expectations for required actions. The feedback should always be taken in positive spirit, without any bias and negative emotions. To become a successful manager, it is inevitable to be a good coach and mentor.
An alumnus of XLRI, Milind joined Synechron as a Director in 2011 and currently heads and manages Global HR operations. With 20+ years of extensive experience working with industry majors, Milind plays a vital role in evolving innovative HR strategies that primarily aims at making Synechron, the first choice for professionals worldwide. Milind believes in focusing on devising path-breaking strategies that help create and nurture an engaging and productive work environment.