Coaching is often pictured as leading a team to victory on the field, whereas mentoring is mostly pictured as professional advising and teaching. But it's essential to know that both coaches and mentors are equally important for different parts of our lives and development.
That’s why ingraining coaching and mentoring in your workspace is a key to business growth
According to CNBC, More than 9 in 10 workers (91%) with a mentor are satisfied with their jobs.
More research reveals that 73% of coaching clients say that coaching helps them improve their relationships, communication skills, interpersonal skills, work performance, work/life balance, and wellness.
This article will help you understand the difference between coaching and mentoring, why it is important in the workplace, and how to ingrain it in your managers and front-line employees.
What is coaching and mentoring in the workplace?
Coaching and mentoring are two of the most powerful ways to lead your team. In both coaching and mentoring, the goal is to help others grow, develop, and reach their full potential. Numerous studies on mentorship have shown that achieving these goals leads to increased productivity and better results for your company on a host of metrics.
Organizations often lump the two together when discussing people development, making the decision seem 'either/or. The key difference between coaching and mentoring is that coaches guide the relationship, helping mentees grow skills they agreed upon at the onset of the relationship. Mentoring, on the other hand, is about what the mentee wants and is not as narrow as coaching. Mentees guide the relationship, using the mentor as one of their personal board of directors.
Why is coaching and mentoring important in the workplace?
Coaching and mentoring are important for several reasons. It can help employees develop their careers, improve their overall productivity and leadership skills, and increase their engagement.
Coaching can be used as a tool to help employees find their next step in the business world. It also allows managers to coach their staff on how they should think about each task at hand (e.g., "What is the best way to approach this project?"). It also enables them to think outside the box, explore more, and use organizational resources to set and achieve goals.
Especially the employees who feel supported at work tend not only to feel less burnt out but also have higher productivity levels than those who don't get enough support from management or colleagues alike. This means that coaching programs could help boost both morale and performance levels across all departments.
Examples of coaching and mentoring in the workplace
Coaching high-potential employees on leadership skills
A specialized type of coaching known as leadership coaching is used to develop the leadership skills of high potential employees and senior managers. And if an employee has strong leadership qualities themselves, then having someone with more experience mentor them could be just what they need.
Participants are given options rather than directions in this approach. They're also encouraged to listen and ask questions. This also strengthens the work relationships and cultivates an atmosphere that embraces exploration, innovation, and originality.
Mentoring new employees during onboarding
If you put yourself in the employee's shoes and consider that you’re starting a new job, the last thing you want to do is feel like an outsider or out of place. You look forward to being welcomed into your team and given the support that will help you succeed at work. A great way for managers and leaders alike to show their support for new hires is by mentoring them during onboarding, which can also help them learn more about their career paths within the organization.
Coaching leaders on unconscious bias in the workplace
No matter how open-minded we may feel and how self-aware we are, we are all influenced by unconscious biases—beliefs and feelings about others curated by our personal experiences, our knowledge, or even the lack of information that we are not even aware of.
It is possible to raise awareness of workplace unconscious biases and develop strategies for preventing them through unconscious bias leadership training.
Mentoring diverse employees in an employee resource group
Typically, employee resource groups are voluntary networks of employees who share a common interest, a common characteristic, or a common background that fosters connections between them. Most employees form employee resource groups to share their experiences at work with others of like ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
Mentoring diverse employees in an ERG is a great way to build supportive communities at work, and this is without a doubt a positive factor in helping to engage a workforce and make them feel like they belong.
How to encourage coaching and mentoring in the workplace
Here are some actionable tips for leaders to make coaching and mentoring the norm in their workplace.
Lead by example
Leadership is about "walking the talk’’. When you lead by example, you demonstrate your behaviour rather than your words. As you model your behaviour, you aim to inspire others to do the same.
Saying one thing and doing another is the opposite of leading by example. In the past, the saying "do as I say, not as I do" may have held true, but it is no longer relevant today. So never try to do that if you want to lead by example at your workplace.
Let employees make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes
You can't make employees do anything, so you might as well let them make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes (within reason, of course).
Letting employees make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes is a great way to ingrain coaching and mentoring into your workplace. Employees will feel empowered when they have the freedom to make choices on their terms, rather than being told what to do by someone else in authority. They'll also be more likely to take advantage of this opportunity if you give them the tools needed for success (like clear instructions).
Demonstrate that you trust employees and believe in their abilities
Trust is a key component of coaching and mentoring in the workspace because it’s an earned relationship. Trust your employees and be open to learn new things from them as well.
Moreover, trust isn't just about saying that you trust them; it's more about encouraging employees to try new things, even if they don't work out well at first! If you can show your team members that you believe in them enough (and not just intellectually), then they'll be more likely to try out new ideas themselves instead of just accepting what everyone else does without question or criticism.
Make time to reflect with employees after a completed project
Reflecting on the past with employees is a great way to learn from the mistakes. This allows your team to access the situation, learn from these mistakes and come up with new ideas to show improvement for future projects.
Reflecting on the present, however, can provide insight into how you and your team might improve in the future.
Envisioning the future allows your employees to understand what direction you are taking with your organization as well as your personal goals and aspirations within this industry or field of study.
Ask employees what skills they could improve
As a leader, you may sometimes have to discuss an employee's performance with them. When it's time to address an employee's growth and development, remember to keep it positive.
You can schedule a meeting, ask them how they’re doing, explain missed expectations, set clear goals and matrices and offer them your help and support.
Follow up on development goals
You can increase your employees' skills and advance their careers by following up on a well-designed employee development plan. As a result, they have more tools to help your business succeed. It's a win-win for both of you.
Focusing on your employees' development goals can not only improve the effectiveness and knowledge of your workforce but can also improve employee satisfaction. It is less likely that your employees will look for work elsewhere if they are happy at work.
Build a coaching and mentoring culture in your workplace with Together
Building a coaching and mentoring culture in your workplace is a daunting task. Finding the right fit is crucial to building a like-minded, relevant, and thriving culture in your workplace. But you mostly get frustrated with the juggling act of finding the perfect mentor or coach and give up.
Together makes mentor-matching as easy as a breeze. It’s a mentorship platform that allows your organization to make a perfect mentor match using its advanced pairing algorithm. Mentors and mentees are matched and paired based on their goals, skills, and where they want to grow.
So find your employees the right mentor today and stay at the top of thriving coaching and mentoring culture in your workplace with Together.