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Coaching and Mentoring System | Advantages and Disadvantages

Coaching and mentoring play an important role in any modern knowledge based organization where there is always an obsessive need for managing the explicit and implicit knowledge stored in the organization. It can be related to the organizations of all sizes. Coaching and mentoring help employees to learn new things and to be always on the top. Moreover, if coaching and mentoring is conducted in a proper way the employees “have the opportunity to grow within the organization and to make a good career”. (Starr, 2009, p.16)

The main goal of this paper is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a coaching and mentoring system in the organization and to prove the fact that all the modern organizations should introduce a coaching and mentoring system in order to improve the work of organization and to share knowledge for getting better results.

Nowadays, a lot of organizations have already implemented coaching and mentoring systems and can prove that there are a great deal of benefits while some other organizations are still hesitating whether to introduce such systems.

In fact, the development of a so called “coaching culture” plays an important role in the further development of the employee. It is clear that success of any organization depends on learning. Coaching and mentoring system is “the best way out of the situation when the organization requires improvements and innovations”. (Argurys, 2004, p.2)

COACHING AND MENTORING AS A PART OF THE ORGANIZATION’S KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

It is known that the organization’s knowledge management system provides an effective work of the whole organization. That is why it is very important to introduce an appropriate coaching and mentoring system which will easily improve “the working culture of the organization”. (Waugh, 1997, p.7)
Definition of coaching

Coaching is a so called form of consulting or a process which helps professional people to establish new patterns of behavior and to improve the performance. It is “an important and effective tool” which will help to make a lot of improvements in business. (Lewis, 2007, p.36)

It can include training of employees in effective communication and quick problem solving, appropriate time management and successful leadership development, a great variety of useful skills.
It is very important to note that the major elements of the coaching process include support of the employee, modeling, step-by-step development of the employee and, of course, encouragement. (Bentley, 1996)

There are several types of coaching which are related to this or that specific area, for example, executive coaching, employee coaching, leadership coaching, performance coaching, relationship coaching, personal development coaching, confidence coaching, and so on. As a rule, it is a short-term action which has its specific goal. (Downey, 2004)

Definition of mentoring

Mentoring can be defined as “a developmental partnership” which is based on the principle of sharing knowledge and skills with the major purpose – to foster the professional development and personal growth of the employee. (Crawford, 2010, p.9)

There are several types of mentoring: informal and structured. Informal mentoring stands for the long term guidance of two persons, one of which takes another person “under his wing” in order to share his knowledge and experience. Structured mentoring stands for different structured mentoring programs which have the main goal – to create a culture for further development of the employee. (Crawford, 2010)
It is known that mentoring is based on mutual trust and mutual understanding, encouragement and respect, willingness to get knowledge and to share it. It is not just a procedure of learning, it is a relationship of two persons. One more definition of mentoring is “a deliberate pairing of a more skilled or experienced person with a lesser skilled or experienced one, with the agreed upon goal of having the less experienced person grow and develop specific competences”. (Murray, Owen, 1991, p.16)
The difference between mentoring and coaching

It is necessary to say that mentoring and coaching are different processes. The mentor can give advice and can help to accept the main principles of leadership in the organization. The mentor takes a senior position in the organization. The coach observes the actions of the employee and his work in order to give his comments. As a rule, business coaches are invited and hired from outside sources.(Long, 2007)

COACHING AND MENTORING AND THE ORGANIZATION’S DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY AND TRAINING

It is known that organization’s development strategy is focused on the structure of business and the work of all the components which have one and the same task. Organization’s development is based on the work of upper management and executives of the organization. Organization’s development strategy helps to plan the further growth of business and can meet the present day demands of the market. It gives opportunity to prepare new products and to improve the economic situation in the company. Strategy is “an effective action plan which is introduced in order to develop the major compentencies”, to achieve the main long-term goals of the organization. (Rogers, 2006, p.17)

It is necessary to say that coaching and mentoring fit into the organization’s training and development strategy as these components are the key elements of any training and development strategy.
It is also known that in order to create an effective Strategic Training and Development Plan of the organization the information concerning the following aspects is required:

  • leadership development and executive coaching;
  • Team development and employee mentoring;
  • competency requirements;
  • actions plans;
  • skills profiling. (Waugh, 1997)

As we can see coaching and mentoring are the important components of training and development strategies of the organization.

EVALUATION OF THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS AND COSTS OF COACHING AND MENTORING SYSTEM TO THE ORGANIZATION (ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ADOPTING COACHING AND MENTORING SYSTEM)

It is clear that coaching and mentoring system provides both the benefits and the costs to the organization. However, it is necessary to mention the fact that coaching and mentoring system is highly appreciated by a great number of organizations which have already introduced it to the employees.

The analysis of the benefits of coaching and mentoring system to the organizations (The Advantages)
Coaching and mentoring system can provide a great deal of benefits to the organization. Coaching and mentoring can provide loyalty of the organization. It is clear that when the professionals assist the employees to improve their work and promote them what is very important for the further career, the employees can change their relation to the common goals of the organization and can develop the sense of connection to the business. Coaching facilitates the employee’s work and gives opportunity to be open in communication and to feel comfortable and confident with management. The above mentioned facts will give a chance to the company to save a lot of money which would have been spent on the recruitment of the new inexperienced employees and on their training. (Long, 2007)

The other benefit is that coaching and mentoring scheme can help the employees to succeed in their career. Personal development of the employees plays an important role and provides a further successful development of the company and business. Coaching and mentoring system allows to solve a lot of problems within the company. Close relationships of employees and coaches provide trust and mutual understanding what is very important for the company because “it can help to intensify the job satisfaction of the employees”. It is also a significant benefit for the organization. (Rogers, 1997, p.31)

The other benefit of coaching and mentoring system is concluded in the improvement of the function of the team or department of the organization. Coaching and mentoring scheme will allow to find out the strengths and the weaknesses of all the employees, their skills and their abilities. This will make it possible for the organization to capitalize on the resources – the whole team will be working fairly well if some of the employees takes a sick day or vocation. The employees of the team will be able to perform the duties of each other in this case. (Long, 2007)

The analysis of the costs of coaching and mentoring system to the organizations (The Disadvantages)
According to the statistical data, the costs of the coaching and mentoring system to the organization are rather high. The costs include the following ones:

  • fees that are paid to external coaches;
  • training costs of internal coaches of the organization and their continuing fixed costs;
  • lost working hours while individual coaching or mentoring of the employees is undertaken;
  • training costs of those professionals who want to coach or mentor in the role of a manager and a client.
  • The time which is spent on coaching as a learning tool in the organization.

It is also necessary to say that although there are certain costs to organizations, coaching and mentoring system is considered to be an effective one as it gives the opportunity to the organization to save a lot of money in future.

The role of coaching and mentoring system in reducing the potentially negative effects that high staff turnover might bring

It is well known that high staff turnover is a great problem in many organizations. Staff turnover is a costly process which requires some time to find new employees. When vacant positions remain free for some time, the productivity can decrease. Another problem in this case is connected with the process of recruiting and hiring of the new employees which also should be trained. It carries rather high costs for the company. That is why it is very important to find the ways for reducing the potentially negative effects that high staff turnover might bring to the organization. Coaching and mentoring system gives the opportunity to reduce high staff turnover as it guarantees positive work environment and motivation in the group where the employees learn to value their work and to achieve the major goals of the organization. When the staff is interested and motivated there is no problem of staff turnover. (Bentley, 1996)

So, coaching and mentoring system plays an important role in reducing high staff turnover and numerous negative effects of this process.

The role of coaching and mentoring system in improving profitability

Coaching and mentoring system allows to improve profitability in the organization. The process of coaching will help the employees to learn how to solve different issues more quickly. The time plays an important role in the effective work of the organization. That is why “quick solutions will improve profitability of the organization”.(Bluckert,2007, p.39)

The effective program of coaching and mentoring will help the employees to provide quicker access to the necessary information, to improve staff productivity as all the employees will have a good training and practice, to shorten the average handling time in the organization, to achieve the highest quality of work as all the employees will be able to perform their duties in a proper way. (Downey, 2004)
The role of coaching and mentoring system in enhancing knowledge management

Coaching and mentoring system plays a significant role in enhancing knowledge management which influences the further successful development of business. The coach or mentor can easily transfer their knowledge to other individuals who will be able to enhance their personal and professional growth. The only stipulation is that the employee and the coach or mentor should agree on cooperation. In this case the coaching and mentoring program will be successful. Moreover, the employees’ engagement is very important in determining the coaching and mentoring program and the appropriate coaching and mentoring candidates. (Crawford, 2010)

It is clear that at the workplace, coaching and mentoring system is implemented when the management of the organization realizes that some individuals require to enhance their knowledge and their potentials in order to perform their duties at an adequate level. There may be those skills that “should be strengthened or some changes in behavior and performance of the employees that should be corrected”. Those employees who have such problems should be recommended for coaching. (Crawford, 2010, p.19)

One more important thing is that the career enhancement of the employees is closely connected with the organizational development. The employee who is going to enhance his career should learn new things and should be able to adapt to change. It is known that the employees depend on this or that organization for their own survival as well as the organizations depend on the employees for their own development and growth. In this case, the coaching and mentoring system will help the employees to enhance their skills and their talents which will be useful for the current job and for the future business assignments. Mentoring and coaching guarantees that the employee will improve his skills and enhance his knowledge in order to contribute to the organizational development. (Bluckert, 2007)

THE DELIVERY OF HIGH QUALITY COACHING AND MENTORING

Coaching and mentoring system can be used when the organization requires to increase motivation and performance. It is known that many different applications of coaching and mentoring are possible. The major goals include career development, solving problems, avoiding conflicts, staff motivation and so on. (Leonetti, 2008)

Structured coaching and mentoring include the following stages:

  • Analysis of the current situation;
  • Definition when the coach and mentor agree on performance goal;
  • Exploration when the coach or mentor explore the options which are available at the present moment;
  • Learning and development which include implementation of the agreed actions;
  • Action when the coach or mentor identify the situation and commit to actions based on coaching and mentoring;
  • Evaluation which includes “reviewing experience and implementation the next steps”. (Serrat, 2009, p.23)

The major aim of coaching and mentoring scheme is to create partnership where one individual will help another in enhancing his performance, growth and learning. The coach should use his ability to listen and to create trustworthy relationships with the employee.

In order to deliver high quality coaching and mentoring, it is necessary to follow the next principles:

  • voluntary participation in coaching and mentoring process;
  • participants have the opportunity to choose what kind of person they would like to deal with;
  • Either party has the right to break the relationships without any blame. Both the coach or mentor and the person being coached or mentored should not give any explanations.
  • The relationships should be fixed for a certain period of time (several months).
  • A line manager will support the employee during the period of his relationships with the coach. The line manager should understand the scheme and control the process.
  • Coach and mentor should have “appropriate skills and qualities in order to perform his duties in a proper way”.(Long, 2007, p.41)

In order to deliver high quality coaching and mentoring program it is very important for the coach and the mentor to have the following characteristics:

  • punctuality. The coach will have to meet regularly with the employee;
  • Responsibility;
  • good listening skills;
  • sociability;
  • to respect confidentiality;
  • to be interested in positive results of the employees;
  • to have good reputation;
  • to have positive view of the world;
  • to follow ethical and moral norms;
  • to be honest in relations.

The above mentioned policies are “very important for the successful coaching and mentoring process” as they represent the main principles of work and “the major characteristics of the person who will share his knowledge with others”. (Waugh, 1997, p.7)v

The involvement in the process of coaching and mentoring

The process of coaching and mentoring is represented by two parties – a coach or a mentor who will share their knowledge, experience and skills and a person who is being coached – an employee who needs some help in developing his personality and improving his behavior and principles of work.

Support from different levels of management

The process of coaching and mentoring also requires support from different levels of management such as operations management, strategic management and Board members.

Operations management

The operation manager is responsible for the operations process and strategy, human resource management, asset and cost management. That is why it plays an important role in supporting the coaching and mentoring processes providing the coaches and mentors with useful information. This information is necessary for “adequate learning and developing of the employees”. (Rogers, 2007, p.28)

Strategic management

As strategic management influences the organization’s performance and formulates corporate strategies, business and functional strategies, it also “influences the process of coaching and mentoring and supports the effective ideas of the coaches and mentors”. (Rogers, 2007, p.31)

The Board of Directors

As the Board of Directors determines the vision and mission of the company as well as determines the goals and values which should be promoted throughout the company, it supports the process of coaching and mentoring and monitors it. (Rogers, 2007)

EXAMPLE OF SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF COACHING AND MENTORING SYSTEM

It is known that a lot of different organizations have already introduced coaching and mentoring system and have got positive results of this process. The following example shows the results of implementation of coaching and mentoring system in HSBC, a famous Mexican banking company which has about 25,000 employes and about 2,000 managing directors. The example represents executive coaching. It is known that in 2007, this company introduced a coaching and mentoring program as a main element of its leadership development strategy. The first coaching and mentoring program was monitored by five young executives. There were three coaches chosen from the different organizations.

The application of this scheme started with the fact that these five young executives who became the coachees, had to choose their coach. The young executives had an interview with all the three coaches and made their choice. They had a chance to choose a professional who had a successful business career and who had the appropriate characteristics.

There were three main goals to achieve by the executives: to demonstrate the coaching program and to extend it to all the executives of the HSBC, to improve the management maturity of the young executives of the company, to provide personal development of the executives.

The coaches used a coaching model which had the main task – to develop leader talent. This coaching program had three levers of transformation: perception, emotion, experience and learning. (See Fig.1)

Fig.1 Levers of transformation

The coaching process lasted 22 weeks during 2007. There were four steps in each session:

  1. creating a so-called “context”. During the first minutes of the interview the right atmosphere for the implementation of the coaching program was created – the atmosphere of trust and openness.
  2. Inquiring. The coach represented different troubling situations which were difficult for the coachee to deal with. The main goal of the coach was to show the structure of the issue and to ask appropriate questions concerning such fields as language, body and emotions. All the situations were connected with the working life of the young executives. Some issues were related to such themes as family, health, career, dreams and so on.
  3. Intervention. The coach gathered all the necessary information and used a specific method to assist the executive to find the solutions. The main purpose of this method was to broaden the coachee’s view of the situation or issue, and to explain him new possibilities.
  4. Learning. This step showed the specific task for the coachee which he had to solve some problem using the knowledge he had got earlier. It was a so-called practice for the coachee.(Lopez, 2007)
    Supportive tools of the coaching program

The coaching program which was represented in the above mentioned case had several supportive tools:

  • Interview in the beginning of the coaching process. It helped to represent preliminary information, to create goals and to understand the process of coaching.
  • Competencies description included the DISC tool which represented different characteristics of the leader’s behavior: influence, dominant, steadiness and conscientiousness. The example of such DISC tool is below. (See Fig.2)

Fig.2 the DISC tool

The DISC tool has the following symbols: D-dominant, green color means that a coachee is a result-oriented leader; I-influence, red means that the coachee can influence other people in the group, S-steadiness, blue means that a person is not stable, C-conscientiousness, yellow means that a coachee this quality is not developed in a proper way.

  • The use of radial valuations helped to develop the appropriate competencies to become good leaders.
  • Meeting with the boss helped to represent the boss the results of the coaching process in the middle of the coaching period.
  • Focusing of the major parts of the coaching process: knowledge, solution of the problem or some situation, social relationships, business results. (See Fig.3)

Fig.3 The major parts of the coaching process

  • Life project which included such life areas of the coachee as career, family, social life and so on. The coaching process was related to different areas of the coachee’s life and represented different objectives, both long term and short term ones.
  • Business project included the development of the coachee’s strategy, values, goals, mission and so on.(Lopez, 2007)

The results of the coaching process

The coaching program which was introduced in one of the banking companies has proved the fact that coaching and mentoring system is very effective in the present day management. The above mentioned process was based on the development of leadership and communication skills of the young executives. Moreover, they were taught to manage their emotions and to have good working relations with the team. They also learned to design their long-term and short-term goals.

Martin, one of the executives who took part in that coaching process said that he “achieved a new shared vision” and “renewed the decision-making model” of his team. (Lopez, 2007, p.4)

RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COACHING AND MENTORING SYSTEM

It is very important to note that those organizations which have already introduced coaching and mentoring system can give some useful recommendations concerning implementation of coaching and mentoring system in other organizations. The effective implementation of coaching and mentoring system “provides a lot of benefits to the organizations”. (Downey, 2004, p.2)

The following recommendations are very useful for those organizations which are going to introduce the scheme of coaching and monitoring in the nearest future:

  • It is recommended to create a strategic plan for any organization which will develop coaching culture.
  • Any employee should be trained in communication techniques by means of coaching system. It will guarantee the enhancement of communication skills with other employees of the organization and with the clients.
  • It is recommended to introduce “on-the-job training” which will provider deeper learning in all the areas including technical and behavioral areas.
  • It is recommended to use only advanced coaching techniques which will help to benefit management training and relationship training.
  • It is recommended to have a team of skilled mentors which will work at each level of the organization. In the lower level of the organization “there should be more informal relationships”. (Leonetti, 2008, p.14)
  • It is recommended to choose mentors and coaches according to their skills and experience for each level of the organization. Special attention should be paid to the professional achievements of the mentors and coaches and to their personal skills.
  • The organization should choose only accredited and skilled coaches because they have a lot of different techniques “to adapt to each situation” and they provide effective coaching.(Leonetti, 2008, p.15)
  • It is also recommended to hold regular meetings between the external and internal coaches in order to identify some “emerging systemic and cultural patterns of the organization”. (Hawkins, Schwenk, 2006, p.34)

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that effective coaching and mentoring system will provide the following benefits:

  • increasing productivity;
  • developing employee’s skills and talents;
  • improving retention;
  • developing a positive work culture at the workplace;
  • creating new techniques of work;
  • simplifying the job and duties;

This system is very important for the further organizational development. Collaborative atmosphere in the group where the professional learning provides productivity and the employees are willing to develop their personalities and to improve their knowledge is very important for the development of the organization. The major processes of coaching and mentoring system include active and improved relationships, effective teaching -learning process, personal development process and career growth. The disadvantages of this system are concluded in rather high costs.

Nowadays coaching and mentoring are essential components of modern and effective managerial practice in all types of organizations. However, a lot of companies still have not introduced these schemes. By not doing so, these companies have no chance to improve the development and growth of the organization as well as personal development and career growth of the employees.

References

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Bluckert, P.(2007) Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching. Berkshire. Open University Press.
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Hawkins, P., and Schwenk, G.(2006) Coaching Supervision. London: CIPD Change Agenda.
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Fig.1 Levers of transformation. (2007). Available from:<http://www.wabccoaches.com/success_stories/hsbc.html> [Accessed 23 March 2010]
Fig.2 The DISC tool. (2007). Available from:<http://www.wabccoaches.com/success_stories/hsbc.html>
[Accessed 23 March 2010]
Fig.3 The major parts of the coaching process. (2007). Available from:<http://www.wabccoaches.com/success_stories/hsbc.html>
[Accessed 23 March 2010]