Mentoring seeks to build wisdom – the ability to apply skills, knowledge and experience to new situations and processes. With coaching, the focus is on meeting very specific objectives within a set period of time. Coaching is mainly concerned with performance and the development of certain skills. All teachers and trainers cross these tracks at some point in their career. In this section we will review some of the key points of being a great coach and mentor.
Although mentors and coaches may approach development slightly differently, there are some core competencies they both should have and continually develop to be truly effective in helping the mentee or coachee:
Empathy & compassion
High level of self-awareness and openness to self-reflect
Good communication skills
Besides these core competencies, ensuring that you give proper thought to the following will also help set you and your mentee or coachee up for success:
Discuss your roles, expectations, and ways of working, from both sides, and ensure that there is a match in what you believe you can offer and what the mentee/coachee is looking for
Set some clear goals and reasonable expectations/timelines
Agree on a meeting cadence and meeting/communication medium
Agree on how you should help keep the mentee/coachee accountable
These are just a few tips on how to get a mentoring/coaching relationship off to a good start, but if you are seriously considering becoming a mentor or an internal coach, following a training is highly recommended. A passion to help someone grow and develop is noble and essential to be a good mentor or coach, but to be truly effective in the role, a good basic foundation and understanding of the role and practice with the skills and techniques can make a real difference.