You may be aware of coaching/mentoring and may have benefitted from it – or you may just be curious as to how it might help you.
Mentoring and coaching are often confused – so let’s start with a couple of definitions.
Mentoring shares the greater knowledge and skills of a more experienced mentor with a less experienced mentee
Coaching uses processes and tools to enable the coachee to develop their own answers. The coach does not need to have similar knowledge or experience as the coachee
That said, often the best approach is a blend of the two so that the client can benefit from the shared knowledge and experience of the mentor together with the more rigorous approach of the coaching process.
How can mentoring/coaching help?
A good question and one which has many different answers, depending on individual circumstances and what the client wants to achieve.
Marketers I work with are often facing one of the following challenges – but this list is by no means exhaustive:
- stepping up to a more senior role and needing support in establishing themselves
- facing challenges in their current role and wanting to develop management/leadership skills
- building their confidence to become more effective in their current role
- overcoming obstacles in achieving their career and developmental goals
- building and developing their team and/or individual team members
How does it work?
To help get to the right answers, it’s important to get to know each individual client and understand how they operate. The first step is an introductory call to make sure coach/mentor and client feel comfortable working together and to agree the parameters of the engagement such as number of sessions, duration, what the client can expect and the rate charged if an external coach/mentor is being engaged. Often, the client’s company will be paying the fees but it’s important to check this out.
Once we’ve agreed to work together, I always start with a SWOT. While, as marketers, we may regularly use SWOT analysis in our work, we rarely do this for ourselves – but it can be very revealing. It’s not just about considering your strengths and weaknesses on a professional level, but also your individual characteristics. When we take the time to do this it can put a lot of things into perspective, providing a basis on which to build and develop.
The next step is to determine the mentoring/coaching goals. By meeting on a regular basis (usually virtually by phone or video chat) the focus for each session will focus on different aspects – including any pressing issues or concerns. After each session, the client can expect to go away with a list of actions they have decided to take (not that have been given to you!), the outcomes of which can be reviewed and discussed at the next session. With a blend of listening, questioning, challenge and suggestion your coach/mentor will help you come to the right answers for you.
At each session the process repeats itself, until you get to the stage where you feel you have overcome the challenges you were facing and no longer need support. Sometimes this can be after just a couple of sessions but it usually involves a number of sessions over several months. And some clients want to have the support of their coach/mentor over the longer term but with less regular contact. It’s all down to what the individual challenges are and how much support the client wants and needs.
Another important benefit of coaching/mentoring is that it isn’t just about your work situation and getting things flowing better there. It very often brings unexpected benefits in other important areas of your life, including work/life balance by understanding what the priorities are for you, identifying areas you would like to prioritise and determining the steps you can take to achieve your personal goals and objectives.
Here – in their own words – is how some other marketers have benefitted from coaching/mentoring.
“Coaching has added significant value to my career, my development and my effectiveness as a marketing leader. My team, our colleagues and peers, and our customers all benefit from my regular coaching sessions”
“Coaching/mentoring helped me to organise my thoughts and map out my development in a holistic manner, encompassing both my professional ambitions and personal goals. I now feel empowered to make decisions that encompass my whole life leading to less stress”
“The guidance and support has been invaluable for my career development”
How to find a coach/mentor?
Some organisations offer coaching and/or mentoring to all employees, either as a regular programme or on request via your manager, HR or Learning and Development team. This may be delivered internally by your own line manager, a senior manager or other colleagues – or it might be through engaging an external coach/mentor.
Other organisations may offer coaching/mentoring on a selective basis – sometimes for only the most senior employees or those seen as being on a fast-track development programme, or to individuals and teams that may need support.
The first step is to identify a need for coaching/mentoring, then to approach the appropriate person/team in your organisation to find out what might be available to you.
Nicki Holmes is an executive coach & mentor, working with individual marketing and other functional executives and their teams, helping them to become the best they can be.
With many years’ marketing experience as CMO/member of senior leadership teams, she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a qualified executive mentor and coach and accredited as a coach/mentor for individuals and teams.
If you would like a no-obligation call with Nicki to find out whether coaching/mentoring could help you overcome the challenges you are facing call 07957 285286 or email [email protected]