Coaching And Mentoring Has Been In Society Management Essay

Coaching and mentoring has been in society for thousands of years in some form or another. Coaching has been likened with counselling and therapy as a large number of therapists have retrained to become coaches. In the last century it became ever more popular with an emphasis on life coaching, academic coaching, managerial coaching and sports coaching. Anybody can call themselves a coach or mentor and because there is a lack of regulation and accreditation the consequence is problems with adherence and accountability and no way of actually measuring its effectiveness.

In the last 20 years industry and business have bought into the coaching and mentoring framework. A survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2011) shows coaching and mentoring to be an increasing activity to improving performance and employee engagement. Because of this the coach has a responsibility for imparting knowledge, through technical ability and skill altogether ensuring the protégé’s personal and professional development.

There are subtle differences between coaching and mentoring, but academics would argue coaching is an element of mentoring (Clutterbuck and Lane 2004). However there is still much confusion and Ives (2010) argued that the reason for confusion is the lack of formal definition. Another way of viewing this is with Hawkins and Smith (2007, p39) who in comparison argue that multiple definitions can “delineate the territory mentoring might cover”. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development survey goes on to state that it is also confusing because of reluctance by industry to conduct formal evaluation on their programmes and what will its value be within businesses.

There are numerous definitions for coaching and mentoring. Bax, Negrutiu, and Calota (2011 p323) stipulates the role of a coach as “helping, showing, giving feedback, explaining and encouraging”. Along with Linder-Pelz and Hall (2008, p43) who state coaching is about, “facilitating a client’s performance, experience, learning and growth”. The International Coaching Federation (2011, p1) describes a coach as, “providing objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s enhanced self-awareness”. Mentoring has been defined as ‘a relationship between two people with learning and development as its purpose’, (Megginson and Garvey 2004, p2) (cited in Brockbank and McGill 2006). The most striking correlation between the definitions is the phrase “learning,” which best describes an essential part to the relationship that makes coaching and mentoring distinctive. As opposed to Wallace and Gravells (2009 p10) who offer another alternative for mentoring as a long term commitment and a “more gradual process than coaching”. It is therefore acknowledged that during coaching or mentoring some form of learning will occur. Hence this would indicate the coach or mentor need to have a level of competence, experience and training technique.

The European Mentoring and Coaching Council have identified their core competences within their code of ethics and Clutterbuck and Lane (2004) attempted to identify common attributes. Subsequently other governing bodies such as the association of coaching, the association of professional executive coaching the international coach federation have defined their own versions further adding to the confusion. At the same time the research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development survey (2011), and The Institute of Leadership and Management Creating a coaching culture Report. (2011) emphasise coaching enablers within business need to be mindful of all the schemes and styles in order to finding the best strategic model. For this reason as with most interventions there needs to be a guide to aiding behavioural modification, these are the building blocks of the various concepts and models.

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The GROW Model (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) is the best known model for coaching. This model is a goal orientated model which is simplistic, easy to understand and use. It has been extensively described by many authors including Whitmore (1992, 2003, 2009), Downey (2003), Clutterbuck, and Megginson (2005). They imply the model can be utilised by anyone without specialist training, but is lacking a self-reflection process. The Chiumento research report: Coaching Counts (2007) highlights the trend of organisations using coaching models. The GROW model being the preferred choice. According to the literature the model allows for the coach and coachee relationship to be developed and the individual to develop and manage their goals. However it is used predominantly for a short term and to correct a business issue, improve individual performance, facilitate the learning of new skills, to prepare an individual for promotion or change. Mostly case studies give examples of how the model is applied. Therefore analysis is difficult.

Further coaching models are the framework to facilitate this change within an individual. The coach by definition is the architect of the process and not just an instructor. Coaching models are the tool kit for a coach to develop the coaching relationship with a coachee. However, as with all tool kits a coach can collect a vast array of tools, but never develop the competence to use them. Connor, M. Pokora, J. (2007 p12) states when a model is used it, “provides a map for the journey, for both client and coach”. That journey is never linear and it is easy to get lost along the way so there must be a process to change direction. To better define best practice the European Mentoring and Coaching Council produced a code of ethics (2008). This was an attempt to standardise the terminology, competence, integrity, professionalism and structure. Unfortunately this is only one governing body’s package.

Hawkins and Smith (2007) first presented their model of coaching in the early 80s. They later developed the model which focused on the coach and coachee relationship from the outset. In particular, enabling the setting of clear ground rules when negotiating the contract. The CLEAR Model (Contracting, Listening, Exploring, Action, Review) was very similar to the GROW model although not as restricted and does allow a level of flexibility. There is greater emphasis on the feedback loop for the coach and coachee. Because of the exclusiveness of literature, only slight reference is made to similar areas of study. It is evident that this model has had an influence on further coaching models.

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Spece and Oades (2011 p38) note that many of the coaching surveys and reviews, “impacts an array of psychological characteristics and processes”. They also observe that much of the literature, when speaking of coaching, raise the concern to using cognitive behavioural coaching, motivational interviewing and emotional intelligence. McMahon (2007) was a co-founder of the cognitive behavioural coaching model. Her model focussed on a non-directive form of questioning which enabled an individual to become self-aware of their emotions. This model has been extensively theorised and researched with the vast majority being empirical. Unfortunately, it is only designed to be used over a short period of time, but enabled only a competent practitioner to develop an individual into identifying problem solving goals. Nonetheless this did address personal issues but it did not take into account the requirements of the establishments objectives.

There is additionally widespread consensus of opinion and ideas as to what coaching and mentoring is or what makes a good coach. The Institute of Leadership and Management Creating a coaching culture Report (2011) examined the link between who conducts the coaching and what is coaching best practice. See figure 1 below. They found that although line managers are the preferred choice, they do not necessarily make the best coaches as this will prevent the success of the intervention provided. Unfortunately the majority of their research to date uses only a small numbers of participants and makes analysis challenging.

Figure 1 – Who undertakes coaching?

Figure taken from the Institute of Leadership & Management Creating a coaching culture Report May 2011

The average manager/coach, in order to be successful, requires some form of intelligence, knowledge that they must communicate well, understand their subordinates or peers and conduct themselves appropriately. These skills are not just inherited but must be nurtured over time. Emotional intelligence, as it is referred to, requires the manager to have empathy, commitment, initiative and self-awareness. To know yourself emotionally enables an individual to adjust their behaviour towards others. Sterrett (2006) attempts to introduce this concept to those who are engaged in coaching and mentoring. Wall (2006, p68) refers to a key aspects of a coach or mentor as being emotional Intelligent which, “refers to a variety of personal and interpersonal competencies that have huge impact on a person’s success”. Indeed coaching must now include this element as it can allow the coach to engage at a personal level and guide the coachee to set their goals linked to their own personal values. As a result the coachee is more likely to buy in and pursue this relationship if the change matters to them. With all positives there can be a negative as Alexander (2011) alternatively offers another aspect to the use of emotional intelligence. She argues when emotional intelligence is used it can also give an individual the intellectual advantage and can be used to control, manipulate and intimidate. However the article uses emotive language. It is lacking in impartiality and does not produce any credible evidence. The consequence is she has a tendency to over emphasise the negative part.

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The McLeod and Thomas (2010) model of coaching, the STEPPA Model (Subject, Target objective, Emotion, Perception, Plan, Pace, Act/Amend), is relatively new and offers a more finite element than other models. The basis of the model is to concentrate on the individuals emotions and actions are elicited through them. These are more elaborate in details and interpretation. However it is lacking the flexibility a novice coach needs. The literature leans towards the opinions and assumptions of the creators and is not based on any data taken from independent research. There is also a lack of empirical evidence to indicate the value of its use.

In fact the literature showed there was a variation of important aspects to coaching and mentoring. First, the type of coaching conversation, which begins with establishing the relationship between coach and coachee. This was fabricated using the code of ethics. Secondly setting the contract which must contain all the agreed parameters. Thirdly the formulation and setting of goals and obtaining a by in from the coachee and lastly using feedback to make adjustments. Unfortunately the models are limited by their creators’ and because of this a level of flexibility is removed. It is impossible to suggest that there is a perfect model to use as it would be easier to fit a model in a specific circumstance. All models emphasised the fact that individuals must recognise their own potential, take ownership of their individual goals and aims and review them periodically. The importance of questioning and self-reflection is paramount.

The models do however, provide a basic structure for the coach to work with. All have a level of simplicity and some allow a level of flexibility and are all intended to make the coachee take action. There are limitations, and if the coach does not take care, can overlook the basic principles required in coaching interventions. Egan 2002 (cited in Connor and Pakora 2007) states, “the model is for the client”, in short the coach should not get hooked into constantly checking where they are in the process rather than moving in the direction the coachee wants.

Coaching is rapidly expanding into multiple disciplines and applications but despite abundant rigid literature, research into coaching and mentoring is still very limited. If coaching can be claimed as an asset within industry and business alike, studies should contain a varied population with an interchangeable set of objectives. It has been shown that coaching may not have the desired effect for certain environments and that an alternate option would be a more suitable choice.

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