An Overview of Coaching and Mentoring
November 2004

The common thing about Coaching and Mentoring is that it is focused on sustainable peak performance and seeks to foster genuine peak performance within thriving teams in the organisation. Coaching is about facilitating. It is about aligning the resources of people and organisations while facing increased competition, changing conditions, higher outputs and results. Coaching used to be a common sense approach guided by communication techniques and psychological perspectives (such as behavioral psychology and emotional intelligence), but given the huge challenges of global turbulence it is no longer sufficient.

Coaching principles and skills provide powerful tools and methodologies for breakthrough results - for both individuals and organisations. It is definitely not about quick fixes and ready solutions. It is about co-creating more meaningful outcomes by making profound shifts in the way you do things in your life and work situations.

Coaching can help generate a focused and committed action that will produce results which are connected to your inner values and deepest levels of meaning. It evokes a deep sense of ownership and self-governance. The levels of self learning are enhanced and the interpersonal work relationships are coached up a few notches as well. The power of coaching has helped to create meaningful futures while having to deal with the real-time realities of business.

In South Africa over the past three to five years, there has been a definite growth in terms of the world of work toward desiring and understanding Coaching and Mentoring. Top level executives are now unleashing their potential and ability to be coached and are experiencing the wonderful realities of how coaching empowers and enables them. One executive said, “It has helped me to identify the “handbrake-version” of me and helped me to give myself permission to be the “better version” of me in all areas of my life.” The power of a self-generated solution that has skillfully been coached by a professional, suitably qualified coach is indeed a pleasure to experience both from a coach and coachees’ point of view”.

Coaching is based on a thorough assessment of the needs, expectations and desired outcomes as well as the total potential of the coachee. Once this has been done the coaching process is focused on well-formed outcomes (or goals). These are set on the ability to change and influence all along upward, side-ways and downward relationship channels with the expectation firmly focused on improvement. The process is usually anything from a minimum of 10 sessions a year or even two years down the line. Constant evaluation takes place throughout the entire coaching journey. Reflection and integration are also part and parcel of the whole process.

But the issue arises when the prospective coachee is looking for a coach and has to do some personal homework regarding why they actually need a coach and for what reasons and results.

The options are like a menu and if you are thinking about being coached you need to look at your motivations for the process.

Different types of Coaching

These include:

·  Life Coaching

·  Business-related Coaching

·  Skills and competency Coaching

·  Top level or executive Coaching

·  Strategic Coaching

·  Leadership Coaching

·  Team Coaching

·  Career Coaching

·  One-on-one Coaching or combinations of the above.

Definitions and descriptions of the various kinds of Coaching are available on request from the author of this article.

Ethics Code

A Coaching Code of Ethics is part of the coaching contract.

The coach must adhere to set standards and a code of ethics when coaching within a company. Most professional coaches will belong to a national and international body such as the International Association of Coaches and the International Coach Federation (ICF), which means they adhere to the code of ethics and standards of that body. A company will then be protected as they have a road of recourse should the coach not do business in a highly professional manner. If business takes the trouble to find out whether a coach belongs to such a body and verifies the information, they will grow the professionalism of the coaching profession in South Africa.

There is no “one body” that can declare that they have sole mandate to fulfill such a function in the world.

Through coaching, clients empower their lives but the coach has to honour the client as the expert in their life and has to deal with the client in a very defined and professional and respectful way.

The Southern African chapter of the ICF has a code of ethics and a set of international standards that every one of its professional members adheres and subscribes to. These are also governed by amendments that are made from time to time as the profession develops. There is a Standards and Ethics Executive committee which deals with cases where the coach is both unprofessional and unethical in their business with clients.

The Coaching Contract with the client should have a section where the coach declares their standards based on a code of ethics by which they will coach the client.

It is the coach’s responsibility to:

·  Discover, clarify and align with what the client wants to achieve

·  Encourage client self discovery

·  Elicit client-related and generated solutions and strategies

·  Hold the client as accountable and responsible.

Professional coaching is an on-going partnership that helps the client produce fulfilling results in both their professional and personal life.

In each meeting the client chooses the focus of attention while the coach listens, observes and helps the client to creatively and productively integrate the internal learning experience and turn it into a clearly defined outcome with the client.

The coach helps acceleration toward the company’s desired outcomes, provides greater focus and awareness of choice and concentrates on where the client is today and where they are willing to be tomorrow through the process of future-focused™ planning.

As a coach they must be able to say the following, in writing:

I will:

·  Conduct myself in a manner that reflects well on coaching as a profession and will refrain from doing anything that harms the public’s understanding or acceptance of coaching as a profession.

·  Identify myself and my level of competence, affiliation to a Body to whom I subscribe my allegiance and membership, experience and educational qualifications and will not overstate my ability or level of expertise as a coach.

·  Establish a clearly defined coaching contract with my client that includes outcomes, focus areas with defined expectations and defined results and will commit myself to these outcomes together with the client.

·  Not imply outcomes that I can not guarantee.

·  Respect the confidentiality of my client’s information, except as otherwise authorised by my client and by law.

·  Obtain permission from my clients to use the names of my clients for reference purposes.

·  Be alert to the process and progress of the coaching intervention and will inform my client when my client is no longer benefiting from the coaching relationship. I will explore ways of introducing another coach, or another resource and will encourage the client to make the change.

·  Avoid conflicts of interests and will declare them up front with the client. Whenever conflicts of interests arise I will discuss the conflict with my client and reach an informed decision and agreement with my client on how to deal with the issue in whatever way serves my client best.

·  Honour every term of the agreements made with my clients.

·  Not give my client any advice or information I know to be confidential, misleading or beyond my competence.

·  Acknowledge the work, contributions and input of others and will respect copyrights, intellectual property agreements, trademarks and will comply with applicable laws and my agreements concerning these rights.

·  Use lists and information in the manner and to the extent that I am authorised by the International Coach Federation or the applicable Chapter of which I am a member.

·  Coach in a professional manner compatible with the ICF Definition of Standards of coaching.

I pledge myself to this code and these standards.

Date Signed by the client and coach.

The professionalism of coaching is what this all entails. Ensure your company is not mislead by any “fly by night coach”. The high standard of the profession can only be upheld if both business and coaches adhere to the standards and ethics as demanded by such a profession.


What is Coaching?

·  Coaching is an ongoing relationship which focuses on clients taking action toward the realisation of their visions, goals and desires. Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client’s level of awareness and responsibility and provides the client with structure, support and feedback. The coaching process helps clients both define and achieve professional and personal goals faster and with more ease than would be possible otherwise.

International Coach Federation

·  A directive process by a manager to train and orient an employee to the realities of the workplace and to help the employee remove barriers to optimum work performance.

Marianne Minor, Coaching and Counselling (1996) page 4

·  A process to develop potential, enhance performance, and align goals within an organisation.

·  Based on a collaborative relationship and a clear process, coaching focuses on and moves people to purposeful action.

·  By working in a completely confidential setting, coaching breaks down barriers to success and challenges individuals to reach new levels of achievement.

Annelize Bode, Coaching and the 21st Century Supervisor

·  Coaching is essentially a conversation – a dialogue between a Coach and a Coachee – within a productive, results-oriented context. Coaching involves helping individuals access what they know. They may never have asked themselves the questions, but they have the answers. A coach assists supports and encourages individuals to find these answers.

·  Coaching is about learning – yet a Coach is not a teacher and does not necessarily know how to do things better than the Coachee. A Coach can observe patterns, set the stage for new actions and then work with the individual to put these new, more successful actions into place. Coaching involves learning. Through various coaching techniques such as listening, reflecting, asking questions and providing information, Coachees become self-correcting (they learn how to correct their behaviour themselves) and self-generating (they generate their own questions and answers).

·  Coaching is more about asking the right questions than providing answers - a Coach engages in a collaborative alliance with the individual to establish and clarify purpose and goals and to develop a plan of action to achieve these goals.

Perry Zeus and Suzanne Skiffington, The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work (2000) page 3

·  A coach is someone available for the performer to learn with. Coaching is the process whereby one individual helps another to unlock their natural ability; to perform, learn and achieve; to increase awareness of the factors which determine performance; to increase their sense of self-responsibility and ownership of their performance; to self-coach; to identify and remove internal barriers to achievement.

Nigel MacLennan, Coaching and Mentoring (1995) page 4

What is Mentoring?

A mentor is someone available for the performer to learn from. At least that is the theory. In practice a mentor will be the assigned ‘teacher’ of an individual. There is enormous variation of expectation in the function and behaviour of people bearing the same title – mentor. Some of the roles lead to the following definitions:

Mentoring is the process whereby one senior individual is available to a junior to:

§  form a non-specified developmental relationship.

§  seek information from.

§  regard as a role model for the purposes of emulation.

§  pick up what the organisation/department/company expects.

§  show how the organisation works; to ensure cultural compliance.

§  guide through a phase of operational, professional or vocational qualification.

§  provide feedback and appraisal.

§  teach all the relevant facts that will enable the junior to perform effectively in an organisation.

Nigel MacLennan, Coaching and Mentoring (1995) page 5-6

What is a Mentor?

You may have heard the word “mentor” used to describe someone, usually an older, more experienced person, who serves as a trusted teacher and counsellor, especially in a business setting. Books and articles on mentoring frequently point out that the word “Mentor” comes from Greek mythology. As you may remember from studying The Odyssey in high school, Mentor was the name of the trusted wise man who protected and educated Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, when Odysseus left to fight the Trojan Wars. Mentor, though, was actually the goddess of wisdom -Athena - in disguise. Odysseus had asked Athena to guide and protect his son while he was away. Athena, disguised as Mentor, became Telemachus’ teacher, counselor, and even networker as she guided him in his adult quest to find the father who had been missing for ten years. Personally, I find it interesting and illuminating that Mentor was both male and female. Mentor personified the innate “wisdom energy” of both genders: the feminine energy of intuition combined with the masculine energy of acting on that inner knowing. Think about that - using Mentor as a model, we too can call on our own individual mix of male and female energies to be the mentor we always wanted to be.

Your perfect Mentor

Consider the role of a business mentor. What does a mentor do? What personal qualities should a mentor have? Suggestions include qualities such as compassion, being “in the loop,” understanding, helping you run the political “gauntlet,” being able to listen without judging, encouraging, broadcasting your successes, and challenging you - sometimes through honest and gentle criticism - to do your best work. A mentor is therefore a balloon that helps you rise above yourself and a parachute that cushions your falls.

Coaching vs Mentoring: Ownership Distinction

The level of ownership assumed and encouraged in the performer is one of the dimensions on which it is easiest to define the coach-mentor distinction. Coaching assumes more self-responsibility on the part of the performer. Mentoring assumes more performer responsibility than a conventional training course, but not quite as much as a participant-led course.