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Archive for the ‘Coaching’ Category

Mentoring – The Benefits To The ‘Mentor’

ID-100201970The value of mentoring as part of a personal development programme is well known and documented. True mentoring involves a senior member of staff taking a junior member of staff (ideally from another part of the business or organisation), under their wing. The senior person offers advice and clear guidance on direction and actions that should be taken. Being a mentor should not be confused with being a coach and the following analogy explains the difference.

A professional golfer will have a coach who trains and coaches them closely on all aspects of their sport. This is the same as a ‘coach’ in business (perhaps a line manager or someone from the training department). The professional golfer will also have a business manager who looks after their business affairs. They will offer specific advice and guidance on what they thing the golfer should and shouldn’t do. This is the same as a ‘mentor’.

So what are the benefits to the mentor of doing the role? Well, I have ‘acted’ as a mentor on a number of occasions and this is what I got out of the experience:

  • A sense of renewed purpose after my own role had become a bit predictable and mundane.
  • Improved energy and motivation based on the above.
  • A greater understanding of the thoughts, aspirations and fears of younger people, leading to increased respect for them.
  • As listed above, for me it was a two way process as I learned much about social media and its business benefits.
  • Pride of seeing a young person take your advice and know your guidance made a real difference to them and their lives.
  • Satisfaction that always comes when making a gift to someone that you know fully appreciates it.

Maybe I have been lucky on the three occasions I have had the opportunity to mentor or maybe the person that paired me with each of them knew it would work well.

Mentoring can be a disaster though if poorly executed. On a recent client project I discovered that one of my young trainees was having ‘problems’ with his mentor. When I queried the circumstances he advised me that the mentor was not much older than he was (about five years his senior). He was also a bit of a bully and often shouted at him in front of the team.

When I raised the issue with the HR Director I was told that they had changed their policy on mentoring and given the role to junior staff members to help them build their management skills! I expressed my concern and advised of the story that I had been told. It appears this was not an isolated incident and that a number of new starters had reported issues with their mentors. This does strike me as being a crazy idea and could destroy the concept of ‘true mentoring’ for those young people concerned.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

http://www.m-t-d.co.uk

(Image by stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course

 

What are your experiences of mentoring? Have they been as good as mine or a disaster like the one mentioned above?


Category: Coaching | Tags: , ,

What Are Your ‘Barriers To Learning’?

ID-100123059As a trainer and educator I’m in the learning business and in one form or another I’ve been in this business for over thirty years. During that time one thing has always puzzled me and I still have no definitive answer, so I wonder if you can help?

My view of learning is very simplistic, if I want to learn something I read about how to do it, I observe other people doing it, I try doing it and find it hard, I practise and get better at it, I get good at it and I then perfect it. Then I look for something new to learn.

The above is based on the Four Stages of Learning model by Maslow. You know, the one that starts with ‘unconscious incompetence’ then ‘conscious incompetence’ then ‘conscious competence’ finishing with ‘unconscious competence’. It’s all pretty straight forward so where does it fall down? Or put it another way, where do people find the barriers that stop them?

I spend a lot of time observing people at work when designing bespoke learning programmes. It is clear that some people are highly competent at what they do in both understanding and execution. These people are often surrounded by colleagues that observe this great work BUT they don’t appear to learn from it themselves and that baffles me!

Imagine if you gave an amateur footballer the chance to spend the day with David Beckham. Would he want to spend the day chatting or be out on the pitch with him? Talking allows some knowledge transfer but to learn effectively you have to practise. Out on the pitch Beckham could take some free kicks and then coach the amateur as he tried to reproduce the ‘bend’ in flight that Beck’s is famous for.

Any keen footballer would chop a leg off for that kind of opportunity and yet at work we are surrounded my people that are experts at what they do and how they do it, but we don’t learn from them in the same way?

So what are the reasons or barriers? Here are a few of the negative ones that I observe:

  • Lack of confidence – they don’t think they could ever be ‘as good’ as the other person, so they don’t try
  • Fear of failure – not wanting to be seen to fail
  • Ignorance – they just aren’t aware of the learning opportunity that exists
  • Stupidity – they are aware of the learning opportunity but choose to ignore it
  • Individuality – not wanting to appear to be a clone of someone else
  • Too busy – doing the job to actually think about doing the job better
  • Apathy – they just can’t be bothered
  • Lack of direction – no one is guiding, coaching or leading
  • Arrogance – they do not see the other person as ‘doing things better’
  • Jealousy – can be a motivator but for most it is a negative influence

Because there are so many factors that can ‘block’ the learning process, the educator must first understand the motives and barriers that exist. As most delegates are SENT on training, rather than it being ‘their choice’ most arrive in a negative state of mind.

I try never to start teaching the ‘how?’ of anything until I can get the delegates to understand ‘why?’

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

http://www.m-t-d.co.uk

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course

 


Category: Coaching | Tags: , ,

How To Ask Great Coaching Questions

There are some key differences between training and coaching. Training often involves giving people information and telling them how to do things whereas coaching encourages the person to think for themselves by asking them great questions.

Many managers make the mistake of just telling people what to do if they do it wrong rather than give the employee the responsibility of working it out. Making your team member dig deep into their brain and really consider what they need to do differently is really powerful. It is more likely to lead to longer term change than the short term change if you make it easy for them and just give them the answer. The secret is for them to give the solution from their own mouths.

Encourage Self-Assessment

As your goal is for them to tell you the answer, then you need to craft your questions in a way that facilitates this process. Most managers will already know the difference between an open and a closed question. We use open questions because we want to open up the discussion and encourage your colleague to give a considered and full answer. A good open question might include ‘How do you think that went?’ if you were asking a question after you had observed them in action. Before you give any feedback on their performance you need to find out what they thought by asking them to carry out a self-assessment.

Apart from being a good habit for them to continue in their careers, letting them make the first judgement gives you an idea where they position themselves in terms of competence. It also indicates their level of confidence. Some employees will be better than they think are in which case it is an opportunity to boost their self-esteem by telling them this. Others may have a notion that they are really good when actually there is still room for improvement.

A great follow up question if you want to find out how they are thinking is to ask, ‘and how did you reach that conclusion?’ or ‘what made you think that?’This enables you to go deeper into the way they think and makes them give a reasoned answer rather than just ‘Good’!

Encourage A Range Of Solutions

Although we want our coachee to provide the answer themselves it doesn’t mean that we are always happy to accept the first thing they come up with. In terms of developing them to the point where they take more responsibility, we want them to improve their problem solving and decision making skills. This leads to the next great coaching question, ‘What could you have done differently in that situation?’ This is the first step that assumes they need to make a change in the way they approach the same situation in the future.

As we want them to generate more than one idea, we will ask another question straight after their initial response, ‘Good, what else could you have done?’ It is important that you praise them for giving an idea and encourage them to give more thought to alternatives.

We would encourage you to say, ‘and what else?’ (whilst nodding encouragement) at least a couple of times to make sure we have really brought out all their thoughts. It is important to do this as sometimes people hold back an answer they are reluctant to say. This may be because they think it is a stupid answer and actually maybe the best. Otherwise it may be because they don’t want to admit that they do know what they should be doing afterall! Either way it is a powerful technique in coaching.

Ask Permission Before Offering Your Own Ideas!

As the manager you will generally know how the person should act differently and it is very tempting to add your own ideas to the mix. This is especially true if they go quiet. Many managers think this is an open invitation to say what they think. Some are just too impatient to wait for the answer. If you really want the person to think for themselves then you need to give them extra time to think. The silence may be only because they are considering their answer. Jumping in too soon means that they will lose the opportunity to do so.

So, give them longer to think and only when you really believe they are struggling or they say, ‘I don’t know’ ask this very important question, ‘Do you mind if I make a suggestion?’ Not only does it check whether they might still be thinking and want to have the chance to come up with the answer themselves, it also gives them the choice whether to listen to your ideas. As human being we like to have the freedom of choice and this question helps to meet this need.

Most coachees at this stage will say ‘yes’ which gives you the green light to make a suggestion. When giving your idea it might be a good idea to say this is what you were taught when you were in their position by your manager.

Well, I hope we have given you some food for thought. Give some of these great coaching questions a go and see what happens. Develop some of your own that make the person think deeply before answering. If they pause and say ‘Hmmm’ or ‘That’s a really good question!’ then you know you’ve hit the jackpot! These are known as the high impact questions. Make a note of it and use it again!

If you are serious about developing your people and your own coaching skills, contact us now to find out how we can help you develop your coaching skills either through an open course or coaching from one of our very experienced coaches.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

http://www.m-t-d.co.uk

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course


Category: Coaching | Tags: , ,

Effective Coaching Skills – Video Blog

As a modern day manager and leader, developing your coaching skills is so important to ensure that you are fully equipt to help your team progress and grow – so what key skills do you need to develop to become an effective coach? Watch our short video on effective coaching skills to find out.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

http://www.m-t-d.co.uk

Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course


Category: Coaching | Tags: ,

The GROW Coaching Model – Infographic

The GROW Coaching Model is an excellent way for managers and leaders to coach their team members as they work towards success, so today I wanted to share with you this quick and easy infographic which explains the 4 stages of the GROW model. Enjoy!

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

http://www.m-t-d.co.uk

(Image by MTD Training – please give attribution to MTD Training if republished)

Click on the image below for a free 5 part email management course

 


Category: Coaching | Tags: , ,


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