Coaching and MentoringPosted on: August 13, 2013
With a BPS (British Psychological Society) approved psychology degree it is hardly surprising that I am extremely interested in topics such as learning theory, personal development, empowerment (e.g. NLP) and self-actualisation.
Why is coaching important?
A key part of strategic marketing in any business is concerned with managing change and behaviour and this often spans to many people. To make training really have an impact requires thoughtful follow up to ensure that the new knowledge and skills are being practiced and applied.
As an alternative to training or to support the implementation of strategic change, the use of coaching and mentoring can be very valuable. Having been an unofficial coach and mentor to many senior partners, managing partners/directors and departmental heads as well as to more junior people who have been through some of my training programmes I qualified as a professional coach and mentor. I was extremely fortunate to be supervised in my studies by Eric Parsloe, author of several leading books on the subject and the founder of the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring.
Coaching is a process that helps and supports people manage their own learning in order to maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be
Mentoring is off-line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking
European Mentoring Centre
I am a qualified professional coach and mentor (independently assessed by experienced practitioners and rated highly by former learners) who also has a degree in psychology and NLP qualification, numerous business qualifications and many years’ management experience from a variety of organisations across a number of sectors. I am often asked to provide coach and mentoring services to clients in support of other consultancy and training assignments but also in stand-alone coaching and mentoring programmes. Some programmes are focused and last just a few months, whilst others continue over many years. Although my background is in strategic management and marketing it does not limit me to coaching individuals in these areas alone.
Coaching is often provided for high flying staff at both junior and senior levels who wish to improve their short term performance in a specific area or who are trying to adjust quickly to a new role or new responsibilities. Coaching is also valuable in helping people to identify their specific learning needs and to develop and implement a Personal Development Plan.
Mentoring is usually less structured and over a longer period of time and without a specific short term objective. It allows senior executives time to get some ‘heads up time’ and to think outside the box (to use the commonly used terms!). It also enables them to confide their concerns and difficulties to someone who is not in their organisation and who can offer different perspectives and approaches.
Coaching Case studies
To give you a flavour of the types of coaching and mentoring assignments I have completed, I offer the following case studies – which have been altered a little to protect identities.
Team of young lawyers
After some initial introductory training courses, a team of young lawyers entered a programme of one-to-one coaching in order to help them develop and implement personal business development plans. All those in the programme developed significantly better client relationship skills and met their new business development targets.
New Managing Partner
A fee-earning departmental head was promoted to managing partner of a firm that had just undergone a period of rapid and fundamental change. The coaching programme was designed to allow the individual time to assess and reflect on the various new challenges the firm faced and to adjust to the demands of the new position. It enabled to new MD to set priorities for action and to identify areas for self-development.
New senior partner
Moving into a less hands on but more of a inspirational leadership and spokesperson for the firm required a different set of skills and also an objective and ‘safe’ sounding board for the discussion of new approaches and plans.
Junior Marketing Manager
The departure of a marketing director left only a junior and inexperienced manager in charge. Rather than recruiting a replacement director, the firm asked me to provide in-depth coaching and mentoring to the individual so that they learned rapidly how to manage the marketing function, plan future activities, liaise with the heads of fee-earning departments and develop their skills and knowledge in a time efficient way. The marketing manager made incredible progress over a relatively short amount of time (remarked upon by her line director as well as many others in the organisation) and developed significantly as an individual.
A leading set of barristers asked me to undertake a year long training programme to help their senior clerk develop all the relevant management skills – business planning, financial management, human resource management, client development, marketing, new business development and international sales. The programme was so successful that it was then rolled out to the next level of management.
Returning Business Development Manager
I was asked to coach and mentor a business development manager who was due to return from maternity leave into a different management role. The programme started two months before her actual return and continued until she had made the transition successfully.
New Managing Director
A consultant was elected Managing Director of a small consultancy that was facing a number of challenges. In addition to managing the strategic review process to set a new course for the business, I coached the MD through the Board negotiations and people issues required to obtain commitment to and implementation of an ambitious new business plan.
An exceptionally bright litigator in a highly specialist and groundbreaking area sought assistance in dealing with a number of sensitive internal and demanding external issues and was pleased with the coaching results achieved within a short timescale.
The partner in charge of a new office sought help in getting the venture off to a good start. His one-to-one coaching programme – with an emphasis on profile raising, creative positioning and new business development -was subsequently adapted for the other five members of the team and the new office surpassed all its targets in a very short space of time.
The super-busy and highly successful Executive Director of a leading property firm sought assistance in managing a complex web of high level professional and work commitments whilst balancing some extremely demanding personal circumstances.
Please let me know if you would like further details of the individual or group coach and mentoring programmes available.