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Coaching and mentoring – article


Coaching & Mentoring - The Fast Route to Career Development

By Adrian Gilpin

Introduction to Adrian Gilpin:

Adrian Gilpin is Chairman of the Institute of Human Development and a leading authority on leadership development and peak performance coaching for business
executives. Adrian leads the IHD's leadership research and programme development, coaches senior executives and top achievers and spends much of his time on conference
platforms challenging the old models of corporate leadership and offering practical and inspiring alternatives for managing change in business and society.

Can you imagine a top athlete, sports team or performer reaching the pinnacle of their profession without a coach?
So why do those of us who work in business believe that we can face the personal and professional challenges alone? It is no different for us than it is for people who wish to excel in any other area of human endeavour. To maintain a lifelong business career in a senior role is just as demanding and challenging as being an athlete.

Once the exclusive domain of the Chief Executive, coaching and mentoring is becoming much more widely available and acceptable. Now, having a coach or mentor is a statement about your commitment to success; something to be proud of. It means that you are a fast-track achiever. And it means that either your company is willing to invest in your personal development or that you are making a personal
investment with the intention of making it to the top of your chosen line of work.

What is the difference between Coaching and Mentoring?

A coach is someone who:

- challenges you to maintain the level of performance that you desire

- draws out of you your talent and motivation to succeed

- gives you direct and robust feedback about your performance, and about the quality of your thinking

- holds you to account for the results you are achieving

- does not need to be expert in your field but is expert in the skills and techniques of performance coaching

A mentor is likely to have a talent for all of the above and may also:

- have succeeded in a particular field that you wish to excel in, or

- possess special expertise or knowledge that you need

A great coach should not teach - but he or she should be dedicated to drawing out from you what is already inside. But because of their special knowledge, experience or wisdom, mentors may have a greater licence to teach you or share their unique perspectives on life and work. The differences are subtle and both roles require a special set of skills and values.

Finding a coach or mentor

First you should ask yourself what is the real purpose of working with a coach/mentor. Do you need an expert in a certain field? Do you need someone with specialist
experience? Do you need someone whose special talent is finding qualities, resources and capabilities in you that you are hiding; someone who will unleash your potential
by doing all the things listed above?

Our clients come to us for many different reasons. They look to us to

- help them with personal or professional relationships,

- understand their colleagues better

- help them shape and lead a top performing team or revitalise a problem part of an organisation

- show them how to deal with conflict among key players

- guide them in ways to discover real purpose in their lives

Or they just want to have someone to talk to - someone outside their organisation and away from their family and friends, someone who really understands the challenges
and personal stresses involved in managing and leading in an organisation.

Your relationship with your coach/mentor must be totally open - it should be based on complete mutual trust. You want someone who will be totally honest and frank with you. If a relationship works, there will be moments when you may hate
your coach for stretching you beyond your comfort zones. There will be times, though, when the bond between you will be as close as any personal relationship in your life.

Chairman - Institute of Human Development


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