Smart leaders know that they may be coaches in majority of business situations. Each leader may be a coach and mentor, regardless of their formal position within an organization. Highly efficient leaders are aware of the efforts that they make in favor of employees’ coaching and mentoring and they know that it pays off not only in efficiency, but also in satisfaction from work and development of their career, but also in their own status within an organization.

Coach and mentor, so...

In relation to the model of emotional intelligence, coaching and mentoring by Daniel Goleman, these are not just roles - these are skills, mind framework and approach to working with others. And, similarly to all skills, competence of a coach and mentor is an ability, which leaders may develop.

It draws back to ability of supporting, long-term learning or development of other by giving feedback and support.

In this competence you have an authentic intention to help others develop their strengths. You give constructive tips in the right time. You understand the goals of a given person and try to find challenges for them, which ensure possibilities to develop (at the same time, they do not exceed their capability!).

Support that works

Think of one of your reports and of where your employee could develop. What’s the best way to help such person? Where does he lack skills? It might be worth talking to such person, how acquisition of specific skills within a given area may help them achieve their own goals? Remember, this is not about setting out what you think they should do - it is a process of cooperation, where two parties are open and engaged in development.

Examinations performed by Richard Boyatzis from Case Western Reserve University and his coworkers give an insight into the the most effective strategy. They looked on coaching sessions focusing on human desires and aspirations in respect of lack thereof.

In some sessions, people were asked to describe their dreams of where they will be in 10 years. In other sessions, people were asked about difficulties in execution of their work and tasks. Different parts of brain were activated, depending on what type of training they received. Concentration on future possibilities, hope and strengths, which help us go into the direction of the desire end, activates the part of nervous system, which relieves stress and calms down in general. This positive approach excited the parts of brain related to openness to new situations. On the other side, focusing on problems, fears or potential weaknesses stimulates the part of our nervous system, which is related to reactions to stress. Session’s topic of “how’s it going at work” launched the areas of brain, which indicate self-awareness and the feeling of guilt.

What happens, when stress-related areas of brain are activated? People close and restrict their perception. The worst effect is that there appear cognitive disorders, people think with less clarity. Coaching, which focuses on negative features of a given person - low effectiveness and weaknesses - creates stress and impedes coach’s ability of proper action. However, focusing on strengths, dreams and aspirations of a person has an opposite effect - it excites and motivates to develop and learn.

It’s not that we should ignore weak effectiveness of employees or mistakes, but that the general opinion had a positive message.

Start with yourself

How can you develop competences of a coach and mentor? Start with yourself. Ask yourself or talk to your friends about the following questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • How development of competences of a coach and mentor could help you achieve your goals?
  • What strengths will this effort bring you?
  • Who cared for your dreams and helped you develop?
  • What did they do to help you?
  • What specific step would encourage you to enrich your skills in coaching and mentoring?

Starting with yourself and working with coach, you will be able to practice development of coaching and mentoring skills for someone else. Experience this and see how it is to receive this type of support. When you are ready to make another step, be open to conversation with your employees. You may not force advices on what they shall do, but you may have authentic conversations, in which you ask questions and offer your support that drives growth.



Rita Kurpisz

Akredytowany Coach ICF, trener inteligencji emocjonalnej i skutecznej  komunikacji, konsultant biznesowy. Skoncentrowana na podnoszeniu efektywności osobistej liderów, posiada świeże spojrzenie na współczesny biznes, jest skuteczna i elastyczna w pracy z klientem. Jej misją jest inspirowanie ludzi do rozwoju osobistego, wsparcie w osiągnięciu satysfakcji i spełnienia w życiu prywatnym oraz na płaszczyźnie zawodowej.