These very good questions were recently asked of me by an associate. So this is a great opportunity to allow me to help those of you puzzled by these questions as well as to help me better explain what it is that I do. So thank you for your interest.
Let’s start by letting me quickly give you my outline of the way I see each:
to me coaching is relevant when there is a specific situation or outcome being sought, be it the removal or replacement of an obstacle, removing or replacing constraining beliefs, or finding and focusing on goals and how to get there, or improving on poor leadership styles or inappropriate leadership on relationship behaviour etc. It’s about challenging your thinking. It’s about helping you “raise your game” in specific areas want to significantly raise your outcomes on.
I rarely give advice when I’m coaching but through asking the right questions will have you find the answers which you then own and implement. The coaching conversation will also seek to find as many perspectives on the topic as possible. I then also serve to hold you accountable to achieving those outcomes.
Coaching programs are usually time based and focused on getting an outcome, where each session is focused on an agenda item that both parties want to assure an outcome for by the end of that session. Otherwise it’s a talkfest. This is done in the privacy of your office or in a “neutral” venue and is absolutely tailored one on one to what you need and want to improve.
In order to even further assure that you “fetch” what you wish to achieve out of such a coaching program, my fee is paid up front, also by the largest corporations, so that you are committed to “making it pay” for you. (I have a money back guarantee which I’ve only had to use once, but didn’t hesitate when we both saw this wasn’t going to go anywhere…)
is often where the younger, less mature or less experienced wish to gain insights from and leverage the experience of older or more mature or more experienced business people that have gone similar paths they are wanting to pursue before them.It’s also about advice or sharing opinions on approaches and what worked, what didn’t and why.
It’s a little less formal than coaching and is often also longer term and having continuity until the mentee has outgrown the mentor and moves on – a very important realization. No mentoring relationship should be for ever, otherwise the mentee isn’t growing.
Mentoring is also done in the privacy of your office and is absolutely tailored one on one to what you need and want to improve.
The mentoring relationship works best when the mentee has “an overall agenda” that they wish to fulfill and is “hungry” to fetch what they think they need for their growth and development from the mentor. Good mentors can however also subtly influence agendas when they see the mentee “rushing into something”, while still allowing them to learn through mistakes, can somewhat contain the damage because of their experience.
My experience has also been very positive in helping mentees prepare for important events such as meetings, negotiations or presentations.It is important however, that the relationship isn’t plagued or constrained by mentor ego’s getting in the way. Many really good mentors are often also capable of good coaching, but many aren’t and it is important to clarify your understanding and your requirements (and boundaries) before you commit.
is where someone interested in raising their game, usually around specific skills, is “groomed” by someone specialized in the required field.
I groom people in the below target audiences in “soft skills”, also called “people skills” or “interpersonal skills”, and raising their EQ (emotional intelligence) but also in leadership skills and influencing skills (like negotiation, delegation, performance management, presentation, political leverage and advanced rapport building and outcome focused communication skills).
This is strongly supported by my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) skills and experience, which assures these skills recognize, understand, leverage and influence unconscious level communication, language and behaviour preferences of those they are wanting to influence.Grooming is also done in the privacy of your office and is absolutely tailored one on one to what you need and want to improve.
My audiences I work with are:
- Corporate and SME (Small to Medium size Enterprises) executives and their next in line reports
- Business owners
Each is a different audience requiring different focus where we clarify coaching or mentoring.
They find they are in a lonely place and often don’t know who they can trust any longer because EVERYBODY they live and work with has an agenda. They shun the visibility of the classroom, but still want to grow and so they need a confidante they can trust (that has the track record, the experience and the acknowledged coaching skills) and that has no agenda other than their own. Plus they prefer the privacy and confidentiality of their own or a neutral office.
Unless they are young, immature and new in the exec role, it is rare that I would be mentoring them. The coaching work here is often around identifying and addressing obstacles (behaviour, attitudes, confidence, leadership styles and negative self-talk etc) or better dealing with politics, polishing influencing skills including negotiation and presentation skills, career management and getting good at networking to name but a few. Coaching is the primary word, with some grooming, where required.
These have many comparable traits to the execs, which require coaching. But in their case they do usually also require mentoring, which is where they seek insights from someone who “has already been there” and wish to get confidence from and draw on their experience (or that available from their trusted network).
Smaller businesses often can’t afford employing the caliber of “think” their business needs and so the mentor can play an important part in filling this vacuum. This often also relates to a business process focus, governance, and other experience based “running a business” type deficiencies that can actually quite easily be overcome.
More often than not, they are also deficient in their “people skills” and also their selling skills. Here all three, coaching, mentoring and grooming can apply.
They have usually come up a “technical or specialist silo” and, now faced with management or leadership, find they aren’t sufficiently equipped, no matter how much they have been “trained”. Working with a coach is also acknowledged to help them “fast track” this learning most significantly. So most of my energy here is transitioning you from being (reactive) managers of processes and controls to being (pro-active) leaders of people and outcomes. This will also encompass coaching, mentoring and grooming, but mainly grooming.
If you have the time and the inclination, you can also have a listen to a podcast of an interview I gave on the topic coaching or mentoring with ABC Nightlife’s Tony Delroy together with Peter Wilson, fellow Major Street Publishing author of the book “Make Mentoring Work”. You’ll find that under the link: ABC Nightlife Interview
So What Next?
So what might be most relevant to you? My experience has been that this largely depends on your awareness of who you are, where you are at, what you are missing and what you aspire to.
Business life today is exceptionally and relentlessly busy and competitive. That treadmill often prevents this awareness, and sometimes it takes a ‘fall” or incident or even burnout before we allow ourselves that time to reflect. It’s never too late to focus on developing that awareness. And it is definitely better to embark on before “it’s too late”.
This is one factor that differentiates the 5% I wrote about in The 5% That Know Why, in that they are willing to invest in the right kind of and the right level of help to get them and then keep them on top of their game and ahead of the rest. And they invest in themselves as a matter of course, not just “after a fall”.
We all understand that elite sportspeople have a coach, even the best in the world, so why not elite business people or those on their way to becoming elite business people? Why not you?
I hope that you see the value of investing in yourself in this way and that this has helped give some clarity of what to look for.