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Expanding The Potential Of Coaching And Mentoring

11th November 2013 - Posted By Anne-Marie Harrison To News & Events
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The current focus for coaching and mentoring tends to be on “In house” development. With so many organisations looking for ways to play a meaningful corporate-citizenship role it seems to me that we are missing a trick.

Coaching in those parts of the community needing support could be one way forward bringing huge benefits to the recipients and enabling highly talented managers to significantly develop their skills outside the confines of their own organisation.

As society places increasing importance on CSR, some leaders have started to look at it as a creative opportunity to fundamentally strengthen their businesses while contributing to society at the same time. ("Making the most of CSR" by Tracy Keyes et al 2009)

The big challenge for executives, she writes, is how to develop an approach that can truly deliver on these ambitions, with partnering emerging as one way to create value for both the business and society simultaneously. An approach already adopted by some organisations has been to provide experienced managers as coaches/ mentors to a community in the UK or abroad. The advantage is that it can be short and sharp or provided over a long period.

social responsibility graph

Coaching And Mentoring Are Crucial Learning Interventions

The economic instability of the European region has prompted many organisations to ‘batten down the hatches’ and cut back on spend. As a result learning and talent development is gradually becoming less about instruction and more about interaction with mentoring and coaching activities seen as a crucial intervention in many organisations.

The 2013 CIPD Learning and Talent Development survey reported that 85% of responding organisations reported that they will be carrying out leadership development activities in the next 12 months, with the most commonly anticipated major change being a greater integration between coaching, organisational development and performance management to drive organisational change and organisational learning.

leadership development chart

Coaching and mentoring were identified as being in the top most effective development activities with coaching at the top of the list (51% up from 39% in 2010) and Mentoring and buddying schemes coming 3rd (38% up from 19% in 2010).

Organisational Benefits

There is now much greater recognition that experiential learning builds capability and competence. Expected organisational benefits identified in the CIPD survey using coaching and mentoring approaches includes:

• improving the skills of leaders to think in a more strategic and future focused way, enabling the achievement of the organisation’s strategic goals,

• leading and managing change,

• performance management - in particular setting standards for performance and dealing with underperformance,

• developing high-potential individuals valued by the organisation.

• developing innovation and creativity to improve business performance.

Individual Benefits

Much of the focus of identifying individual benefits is on those receiving coaching and mentoring, about improving job performance and developing personal attributes. Yet the skills that are developed in the individual giving coaching or mentoring are crucial both in expanding their own skills and in enabling the success of the organisation.

These indispensable skills include creating rapport; listening at a level beyond content (i.e. values, emotions, beliefs, body information); giving control to the other person; sitting with silence; asking powerful questions to clarify or evoke creativity; identifying different underlying perspectives; challenging assumptions; making suggestions; giving challenging feedback, increasing personal awareness, enabling focus on goals and outcomes, helping an individual scope alternative strategies….the list goes on! All of these skills are vital for senior managers in leading a successful organisation.

How To Get Started

Coaching and mentoring in the community is a largely untapped CSR asset. The payback for the giving organisation has been surprisingly high whilst the individuals have unforgettable learning experiences. If you’d like to explore mentoring as a way for you or your organisation to give something back to society while developing key leadership skills then the below links are a great place to start:

Charity Comms


The Princes Trust

The Small Charities Coalition

Anne-Marie Harrison is a business mentor for Prince’s Trust and is a co-founder and Director of Development Squared Ltd, who enable experienced managers from English speaking companies to coach/mentor small businesses in Swaziland to help them transform their businesses. You can follow Development Squared on Twitter @d2DevSquared
Anne-Marie Harrison
Director - Development Squared Ltd
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Comments (3) - Add Your Comment Below...
Like Like_Article
5 years ago
Totally agree, we've got a great article that builds on this here: http://www.breathehr.com/blog/healthy-team-happy-team/
5 years ago
Great article Anne-Marie. I particularly like the focus you've given to the development benefits for the coach/mentor not just the recipient.

Even if companies don't do this from a CSR point of view and keep coaching programmes internal I think this is still hugely relevant. By bringing the coaching/mentorship of employees in-house I imagine many organisations could help build important skills in their own workforce, develop a bank of future leaders in their employees and cut costs in outsourced training.

Best of luck with Development Squared's trip to Swaziland, let us know how it goes, it would be great if we could do a case study in the future.
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