Have you ever considered getting some help with professional development? Have you ever had someone, a co-worker perhaps, or a friend or family member ask for help with life? You got kids?
Each of these is a coaching relationship. I gave this subject some thought over the last few weeks. Both of my brain cells hurt. My spare brain cell was in sympathy pain. But in the end, I managed to separate mentor from coach.
If you walk away from that light reading with a puzzled look on your face, join the crowd. When I started down this path, I thought I had a good handle on the difference, the similarity, and the relative importance of each.
Now I see the need for constant re-construction of my viewpoints on each, and how mentoring is sort of the roof over many different coaching points. One of the critical pieces I consumed was a little video by Robert S. Kaplan.
Robert S. Kaplan is somewhat successful, and even if you don’t agree with his success, his words about coaching really hit home for me. Specifically, he states that that it is 100% the responsibility of the junior to get coaching. He then follows that up with the statement that it is 100% the responsibility of the senior to provide or perform the coaching that the juniors need. The individual is completely accountable for knowing their own strengths and weaknesses, and then to go get the coaching needed. The senior person is 100% accountable for knowing the juniors’ strengths and weaknesses and providing the coaching.
This 100% thing creates a coaching environment. Your job is not to sit and wait for it, it is your job to go out and get it.
I see how that applies from the Cxx level down to the ACE level. And when you look at it from that perspective, it makes the entire process very palatable. I know that I can surely use some coaching in an area or two. I try to help my team as I note issues. I sure hope they look to me or someone else for coaching.
Kaplan continues on by saying that coaching should be focused on one or two things the coachee can improve on over a set period of time. Coaching requires the coach to KNOW the coachee, or go discover the coachee by interviewing all the other co-workers. But either way, the coaching needs to be about specific skills or attributes that can be improved or accomplished over a set amount of time. Sounds just like a S.M.A.R.T goal, yes?
So, to sum this all up… Are you getting the coaching you deserve? Are you providing the coaching others deserve? Do you ask for help? Do others ask you to help? We are all in this together, and we can either fail together, or we can succeed together. I like the succeed option.