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Is Coaching or Mentoring Right for Your Employee Development Program?

Is Coaching or Mentoring Right for Your Employee Development Program?

It’s important for your employees to have some form of mentoring or coaching at work, for good morale, employee satisfaction, and productivity. In fact, these positive benefits can result in a better performing Company overall. With that, whether you currently have an active mentoring or coaching program — or are taking the initial steps to launch these programs, it’s important to understand what mentoring and coaching actually means and the difference between the two.

Employee Mentoring in the Workplace

A mentor in the workplace is not the mentee’s manager or supervisor. It is someone the mentee can trust to discuss their professional development and aspirations at your company. The mentor should also reciprocate with honest feedback and guidance for development and growth.

A mentor should enable their mentee to identify a path toward professional success and fulfillment at your company — and their overall career, beyond your organization. Mentors can also leverage their experience within your specific industry and company’s cultural norms, practices, and core mission. Mentors should be there to answer questions and inspire. They should truly get to know their mentee, understand them, what motivates them, their concerns and especially how the mentee’s potential can contribute to the company’s bigger picture.

A great employee development mentoring program boosts the confidence and skills of the mentee, cultivates the leadership abilities of the mentor, and drives positive organizational change for the company as a whole.

Employee Coaching in the Workplace

A professional coach is a higher level of guidance for both the current and future leadership at your company. They should assess the company’s goals and organizational operations — to strategize the next tactical steps for your company’s leaders to execute in order to reach the company’s goals. A professional coach will then keep track of leadership’s progress in completing the goal, and recommend adjustments, updates, and so forth.

A good coach identifies employee and organizational strengths, weaknesses and follows up with a solution to improve said weaknesses and elevate your strengths. More so, a professional coach can be contracted outside of your company or possibly in-house — if there is an employee with enough experience and proven success. A good reason to opt for a professional coach outside of your company is because of their fresh perspective on current operations.

Choosing Mentoring or Coaching for Your Leadership Development Programs

It really depends on the needs of your company overall, here are a couple things to consider when deciding:

  • Professional coaches address short-term needs. Their focus is to help you achieve your company’s goals. Mentoring, on the other hand, is a long run game — developing your employees over time to take on leadership roles.
  • Professional coaches address your specific needs, for example the training of your new high level executive. Mentoring addresses your company’s general needs – the bigger picture, employee development and culture.
  • Mentoring will help facilitate and cultivate the development of leadership skills specifically in your industry, while professional coaches may not be familiar with your industry.

After assessing your company, it’s organizational structure, long term goals and short term goals — it may result that you need a hybrid of both. That’s okay, because now you’re educated and hopefully have an idea of the next steps that need to be taken to develop or improve your employee development programs.

However, if you’re ready to move forward with your employee development program with mentoring and/or coaching, you’ll need the right tools to do so. Especially if some or all of your employees work remotely. How you execute your mentoring/coaching programs is just as important as the message. You can learn more about our mentoring/coaching platform here!

Sophia Williams

Principal & Co-Founder