There is an awful lot of rubbish talked about coaching in the market and there are many cowboys. With unscrupulous and untrained coaches it can be a wishy-washy, touchy feely kind of thing. However, professional coaching is about achieving significant change and measurable improvement in performance within a specified period of time. It is NOT to be confused with counselling which is more about personal remedial action.
The official definition of 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
The official definition of mentoring is
Off line help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking
(European Mentoring Center)
There is lots of research supporting the value of coaching and mentoring. For example:
- 50% managers found coaching and mentoring more effective than traditional training courses
- 90% of what is learned in a class was forgotten within 30days and 60% forgotten after an hour
- Recent US research showed on average that only 10-20% learning through training transfers into people’s work
- The Government’s Declaration of Learning identified 14 individual and business benefits of coaching
- A recent CIPD survey of 800 UK training managers revealed that 87% now use coaching and mentoring
- Learning on training courses in the workplace is now widely recognised as only one of at least 50 ways to learn
- Coaching and mentoring is now the third most frequently used tool in the corporate armoury, after on-the-job training and training courses
In essence, coaching and mentoring provides an experienced and trained independent person with whom to discuss your work (both in the short and long term), identify and discuss development options, obtain tools to undertake self assessment and improve performance in a confidential environment.
Being one-to-one it is totally tailored to address the needs of the specific ‘learner’ – whether help is needed with a specific situation (e.g. generating new business, winning more work from an existing client, raising your profile in the market), an objective sounding board during a time of transition, to gain ideas on challenging issues, to maintain a high level of performance, to clarify different options or to develop the ability to manage your own future learning in a structured way. Although it is focused on the individual needs and entirely confidential, it invariably leads to improved performance in the current role which is why organisations benefit too.
Whether or not a partner has had training in business development, coaching can help him or her identify their specific strengths and weaknesses, develop a series of SMART goals to address specific challenges and work through – over a period of time – an action plan to achieve their business development goals.
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As always, if there are particular topics you would like me to address in the future, please let me know. You will also find a source of more and up to date information on a broad range of management and marketing issues in the professions by checking out the blog where I also post regular reviews of books that might be helpful.