Two types of conversations which can be important for professionals of all kinds today – leaders, individual contributors and entrepreneurs – is having conversations with a coach and a mentor. Coaching and mentoring are in fact different modalities and each brings a different focus. Sometimes, the same person can wear the hat of coach and mentor, but often they are two different relationships we enter into.
Mentors play a critical role in helping us navigate the complexities and undercurrents of an industry, an organization or a role. Mentors help us understand the nuances of an industry/organization, often by sharing their experience. Typically, more seasoned that the person being mentored, they become a go-to for questions you may not be able to take to your boss. Research over the last decade and a half has shown that similar to team effectiveness, coaching and other relationships that trust and connection are key.
You might partner with a mentor to support your development in:
- Understanding what is needed to succeed in your role
- Understanding the undercurrents and politics of an organization or industry
- Getting a better sense of one person’s career transition
- Connecting in with important people, organizations and resources related to your work
- Expanding your network
Mentors typically will bring experience in your industry or with the role you are exploring. Their stories and experience serve as a springboard for your conversations.
Coaching is a separate modality and helps individuals gain clarity and awareness around their own capabilities. A coach in today’s business context is usually there to ask questions and prompt new insights via the questions and approaches they use. Coaching conversations are underpinned by the goals a person is working on, and usually focus on expanding awareness and action towards those key goals. While a coach may “once in a while” take off their coaching hat to slip on a “mentoring” or “training” hat in terms of suggesting a reading list, the role of the coach is a neutral one. The coach is invested in your own development and goals.
You might partner with a coach to help you:
- Gain further awareness of strengths, challenges and blind spots
- Create accountability around your most important goals
- Develop clarity around goals and next steps
- Understand the mindsets, belief systems, assumptions, and patterns you are embracing
- Have a regular pause point to stop, focus and strategize on what’s important in terms of your next steps
As you consider your goals for the next year, what are the most important conversations to be undertaking? Is now the time to find a mentor, or a coach, or both?
Curious about either coaching or mentoring? We offer training and support in both areas. Reach out and set up a conversation today.
Enjoy your conversations,
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Team and Leadership Development | Coaching | Writing
As we step into the end of the year, get your planning on with the PlanDoTrack Workbook and Planner or Coaching Business Builder
Looking to enhance your virtual conversations? Webinars? Pick up a copy of Effective Virtual Conversations at Amazon.
Episode 2 of the Remote Pathways Podcast is now live! Join us as we exploer the pathways of those new to working remote, as well as the pathway of virtual team leaders. Listen in on your favorite podcast player or directly here.