LEADERSHIP DISCUSSIONS AROUND MENTORS AND COACHES

There are more similarities than differences within mentors’ and coaches’ discussions in leadership reflections in the 21st century. Coaching and mentoring are processes that are premeditated to produce leaders.  As confirmed, Coaches and Mentors have one major objective. Their main goal is to see trainees and mentees fish for themselves someday and more importantly become Mentors and Coaches imminently. Coaching and Mentoring are both authoritatively constructive leadership skills required to grow successive leaders. Through an apprenticeship structure, some organizations deliberately develop ‘systems’ implemented to consciously develop new leaders. Whiles a coach equip trainees with tools, knowledge, requisite skills, and opportunities required for them to improve and become more successful, a mentor acts as a guide, a role model, and sometimes as a sponsor of a less experienced and less skilled protégé (Peterson and Hicks, 1998 & Hughes et al, 2015).

“A coach may be interested in the everyday activities of the trainee and a mentor will focus on the strategic destination of the mentee as well as the little steps as part of the mentee’s journey.”

Coaching and mentoring both have formal and informal types. Within the mentor and coaching discussion, it has been established in leadership discourse that mentoring is not the same as coaching because mentoring may not target specific development needs and sometimes the mentor may not even be part of the organization that the mentee or protégé belongs to as opposed to coaches who do establish trainees development needs, devote time and energy to correct and subsequently follow up on trainee’s progress. A coach would have to embark on needs analysis and skills gap investigations to establish a trainee’s improvement necessities to proffer solutions to enable a trainee to become his or her best self. A mentor wouldn’t have to necessarily assess a mentee to address a mentee’s specific needs.

A good mentor will ask the right questions, and would subsequently use his or her life experiences to fix challenges that confront his or her mentee. A trainee may have series of contacts, resistance, and misunderstanding with the coach because the coach is always on the sidelines monitoring the trainee’s every move. A mentee wouldn’t have to have series of friction, contacts, and misunderstanding with a mentor. A coach will ensure trainees get the right things done with timelines as agreed, even if they have to use force and leadership disciplinary techniques to get results. A mentor would have to influence mentees with less or no force to get results. A coach would have to use a more scientific, that is rational, reasoning, and logic to teach and correct trainees while a mentor would use more of an art to influence by inspiring, guiding, and use of analogies and his or her experience to shape mentees on the journey.

A coach may be interested in the everyday activities of the trainee and a mentor focuses on the strategic destination of the mentee as well as the little steps as part of the mentee’s journey. A coach would need an average of 6 to 12 months with a maximum of 24months to groom trainees, whiles a mentor could be a guide for life. 21st-century discussions have narrowed the role of mentors and coaches to an angle where most leaders play both roles and some intuitions have merged their roles. Even though coaching may be effective in equipping new leaders with relevant progressive skills, mentoring is a powerful tool in developing next leaders as long as individual aspirations drive dreams. A coach may not be a source of inspiration but a mentor will. Not all trainees like their coaches. On the other hand, all mentees admire their mentors. Coaches and Mentors have a lot in common but can never be the same.

This is Leadership!

Richard Ahenkorah

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