Competence is obtained from a mixture of experience, training, and mentoring. Mentoring is simple to visualise, and its purpose easy to understand. Training involves the transfer of information, but not knowledge. Knowledge can only be stored in the human brain – we will cover this in more detail below. Hence, mentoring is how we transfer knowledge to staff. No mentoring – no knowledge.
The confusion with mentoring is often based on misconceptions; for example, mentoring is not:
- managing… (‘control and command: overseeing the work of others’);
- coaching… (‘focus on developing agreed skills’).
Mentoring is a focus on the individual, where knowledge, guidance, and advice is passed onto staff, based on experience. In mentoring, this transfer is within a personal relationship agreed between provider and seeker. The mentor needs to be a trusted counsellor or teacher.
PHL can help with mentoring of staff at all levels.
Coaching is a one-to-one relationship, involving a series of conversations, just like mentoring. It may be confidential, but its main purpose is to identify opportunities for improved performance and practical ways forward. It is important: a coach is someone who intervenes and improves the performance of an individual in a specific task. Coaching has a fixed agenda, related to a task, with a clear outcome, usually short term, and focused on a competency
This is different from a mentor who is responsible for overseeing the career and development of another person, outside the normal manager/subordinate relationship. Mentoring does not have a fixed agenda, it is related to the development of an individual, without a variable outcome, is long term, and focused on the individual.
PHL can help with coaching of staff at all levels.
Contact PHL if you need coaching or mentoring services.