Coaching, mentoring and management.  Those words go together like, “peas in a pod”, like, “ducks in a pond”, like, “peanut and butter”… or do they?  When you look at the curious relationship between coaching, mentoring and management you see anything but a match made in heaven.  As a matter of fact, you often see a very dangerous, if not toxic relationship.

It looks such a good idea on paper.  We have all probably heard the speech.  In case you’ve forgotten, it sounds something like this:

“I want you to do the best you can here, and as your manager, I want to be here to help coach and mentor you.  That means I’m going to try and help you by giving you all my years of expertise here on the job.”  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Too bad it rarely works.  Let me list the intent, and the reality…

Intent:      To allow someone to open up and share their true feelings.

Reality:    It is nearly impossible to open up to a manager or person you report to.  We try and work with a coach or mentor because that’s what we are instructed to do.

Intent:      To show someone the ropes by sharing years of real-world wisdom.

Reality:    It is nearly impossible to show the line between personal style, and measureable technique.  What happens instead is the coaching of personal style which typically only works well with the person who is coaching it.

Intent:      Implement what someone has taught you to do.

Reality:    The person receiving the coaching and mentoring, having been taught someone else’s style, often becomes a poor imitation of the original, or person who is helping them.

This is some article isn’t it?  All I’ve done is complain and tell you why coaching, mentoring and management relationships often don’t work.  Now let me tell you how to try and make them work for you…

Intent:      To allow someone to open up and share their true feelings.

Solution:  Let’s take the manager out of the picture for this one, and have our coach or mentor be another coworker or even an outside coach.  That makes the person who is helping easier to listen to and easier to bond with.

Intent:      To show someone the ropes by sharing years of real-world wisdom.

Solution:  It is critical that people be managed by repeatable, predictable processes that are measurable, and not a personality.  This means we can do away with phrases like, “This is the way I do it” and replace them with phrases like, “This is the process we follow.”

Intent:      Implement what someone has taught you to do.

Solution:  Working with a process, and not someone’s unique style makes implementation a whole lot easier.  As a matter of fact, it makes measuring the results a whole lot easier to.  Why coach or mentor if what you are teaching isn’t implemented?

The moral of the blog is this.  There is an intent, a reality, and thank goodness a solution to the most difficult aspects of coaching and mentoring.  If you look closely enough, you’ll see the real solution is to remove personality from the relationship, and focus on process.  This makes coaching, mentoring, and ultimately succeeding a whole lot easier.

Facebook Comments

comments

Google+ Comments