Coaching can be incredibly beneficial for individuals and organizations, but you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink. For coaching to be successful, the coach, coachee and organization must understand what coaching can do and what it can’t.
Years ago, I worked for a large corporation where annually we would implement succession planning exercises that cascaded from the top of the organization to the frontline management level. This was a labor-intensive process for Human Resources (HR), and the management team and managers complained about having to complete these exercises when, particularly at the lower levels of the organization, we never really implemented the plan if a vacancy occurred. After several years of completing the exercises, the HR team decided to only complete succession planning activities at the top level and talent planning exercises for the rest of the organization.
Training and development is not just a nice benefit for your employees, but key for an organization’s short- and long-term health. Organizations are composed of human beings, which are the essential resource. The better the quality of that resource the better off the organization is as a whole.
Organizations are continuously faced with the challenge of retaining top talent. Establishing a mentoring program is one value-add that can extend the longevity – and loyalty – of employees. A mentoring program ensures a win-win-win: The mentee wins. The mentor wins. The organization wins. As I see it, there is no downside to hosting a mentoring program in your organization…only an upside.
Mentoring has been formalized into programs, policies and initiatives; repackaged as one of many silver bullets. While there are no silver bullets, mentoring really is crucial for individuals and organizations.
One of the most frequent questions that I am asked as a coach is, “What is the difference between a coach and a mentor?” While the skills required are similar, and both are used as professional development tools, the structure and the outcome are quite different.
Originally introduced in the 1950’s, the concept of Management by Objectives (MBO) encouraged the involvement of employees in the company’s goal setting process to increase engagement and improve results. By the 1980’s practically every modern Fortune 500 Company had implemented a goal setting process as part of their overall performance management practice. By setting goals, the organization could focus performance on those activities that would yield the greatest results.
Gone are the days when managers were just managers. More managers today are encouraged, even expected, to develop themselves as leaders and acquire coaching skills to more effectively manage their teams. Not only does coaching allow you to grow as a leader, it also makes you more attractive when interviewing for a new position. Add the skill of coach to your professional portfolio and you rise to the top of the list of candidates.
Everyone seems to agree that performance management is a good thing, but few companies are effectively implementing performance management programs. So where’s the disconnect? What’s keeping so many companies from reaping the benefits of something as simple as a performance management program? In short, the answer is leadership.