Coaching & Mentoring
It is crucial for managers to see the value and understand the importance of developing individuals, teams and the overall organisation. The primary relationship in any coaching or mentoring scheme is between the coach/mentor and the individual, but this may not be the only important relationship. Other key stakeholders such as the people representing the organisation’s interests, in most cases an HR and/or learning and development practitioner, and the individual’s manager. All of these parties are interested in improving the individual’s performance and therefore their contribution to the organisation.
In the case Coca-Cola Foods, a ten-part coaching and mentoring scheme was initiated. Most facilitated mentoring programmes have a formal process which defines each step and audits the ongoing success of the programme. Although these processes will differ somewhat in how they address the needs of the stakeholders, most programmes generally follow procedures similar to those below: Mentees identified: in this step, Coca- Cola Foods identifies the group of people who are eligible for the mentoring programme. This can be done in a variety of ways looking at certain job levels, departments, employee characteristics, etc.
Once the target group is defined, specific mentees can be identified by having them volunteer, be nominated by a boss or other sponsor. Identify developmental needs: the developmental needs are determined and an individual development plan is prepared in this stage. This can be done by having the mentees disclose what they think are their developmental needs, having bosses determine these needs, and/or having skill deficiencies revealed through assessment. Identify potential mentors: this step produces a pool of individuals who can serve as mentors.
They may volunteer for the role, may be chosen by a mentee, or may be recruited by senior managers. Prior to selection, a mentor’s general ability and willingness to handle the role should be assessed. Mentor/mentees matching: a mentor is selected for a specific mentee after considering the skills and knowledge needed by the mentee and the ability of the mentor to provide practice or guidance in those areas. Compatibility of styles and personalities can be critical. Mentor and mentee orientation: before the start of the mentoring relationship, an orientation is held for both the mentors and mentees.
For mentors this orientation covers time commitments, types of activities, time and budget support, the relationship with the natural boss, reporting requirements and the mentee’s responsibility for the development. Contracting: a clear agreement is an essential foundation for a good mentoring relationship. It includes a development plan, confidentiality requirement, the duration of the relationship, frequency of the meetings, time to be invested in mentoring activities by each party, and the role of the mentor. Periodic meetings: most mentors and mentees meet for performance planning, coaching, and feedback sessions.
The frequency can be determined by the nature of the relationship and by geographical proximity. At these meetings, both parties are candid about progress of the process. Periodic reports: it will be easier to evaluate the success of the mentoring programme if periodic status reports are by both the mentor and mentee. Depending on the level of formality in the programme, this step may or may not occur. Conclusion: a mentoring relationship concludes when the items delineated in the initial agreement have been accomplished or when time/business/budget constraints will prevent the relationships from continuing.
It may also be concluded when one of the pair believes it is no longer productive for them to work together. Evaluation and follow-up: after the relationship concludes, both the mentor and mentee are questioned, via interviews or other assessment instruments, about the value of the process, timing, logistics, time constraints and any other valid concerns that could affect the mentoring process. Communication is a plays a major role in building a coach/coachee relationship. Both parties can benefit from analysing a number of key skills (active listening and questioning