Coaching and Mentoring are Critical in Today’s Flat Meritocratic Organisations

Winter beach scene

Understanding the organisational requirements and developing the personal skill sets for a coaching culture are key to success.

Why Coach?

Is coaching on your list of priorities? If it isn’t, it should be. All organisations know that their success depends on having great people doing a great job. This sounds a simple objective, but as we all know, it is not necessarily easy to put into place.

By addressing the organisational context in which coaching takes place, coaching will have a high impact on organisational and individual performance, giving you:

  • A more motivated and empowered workforce
  • Greater job satisfaction as people feel more in control of their learning and development
  • A more consciously competent organisation which makes the development of best practice much more achievable
  • Improved learning velocity (people learn more, quickly) and reduced learning attrition (people remember more and use what they have learnt for longer periods).

Coaching Culture v Command and Control

If your management style is one of command and control, a teacher-pupil relationship, coaching struggles to move beyond the classroom. When people are used to telling and being told rather than asking, finding out and sharing learning then a simple coaching course will have limited impact on your team.

Command and control cultures employ managers to do just that, give commands to employees, hand out work, tell employees what to do and when to do it, then control their performance through careful monitoring of activities. Mike Baldwin at Underworld is perhaps the ultimate command and control manager!

Coaching cultures employ managers to get the best out of their people and to increase rather than control their capacity. It can take a more confident manager to be a coach as the coach needs to be as open to learning as the ‘coachee’. By definition, coaching is a closed loop feedback model. Coaching will only be of value if we learn from the feedback we are given and change our behaviour as a consequence.

Coaching v Mentoring

Coaching is the process of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another person. Coaching in a business context directs the outputs in line with organisational goals. The coach leads the development of the coachee and has (at some level) the skills that they are seeking to build in the coachee. Coaching is a critical part of a modern manager’s role.

Mentoring is led by the learner and is less skills based. A good mentoring relationship is identified by the willingness and capability of both parties to ask questions, challenge assumptions and disagree. The mentor is far less likely to have a direct line relationship with the mentee, and in a mentoring relationship this distance is desirable. Mentoring is rarely a critical part an individuals job role, rather an extra element that rewards the mentor with fresh thinking as well as the opportunity to transfer knowledge and experience (wisdom) to a new generation.

We will help you ensure coaching is a sustainable source of competitive advantage. Coaching will only become truly embedded within your organisation where there is knowledge of:

  • What is it that we have to do to be the best
  • What are the competencies our people need to be the best
  • How coaching excellence will be rewarded

Where Coaching Fails

For an organisation that is purely focused on outputs, coaching will be viewed as another transactional activity, rather than an instinctive and normal process. Many organisations cannot escape the vicious circle of trying to embed coaching through a series of coaching courses one after another, rather than the virtuous spiral of a coaching mentality driving learning opportunities that produce best practice, which is reinforced and developed through further coaching.