Coaching & Mentoring

Great supervisors tend to be great coaches, because they bring out the best in their employees. Coaching and the closely related mentoring are thus key supervisory skills. Coaching means educating, instructing, and training subordinates.

Mentoring means advising, counseling, and guiding. It traditionally means having experienced senior people advising, counseling, and guiding employees' longer-term career development. An employee who agonizes over which career to pursue or how to navigate office politics might need mentoring. Coaching focuses on teaching shorter-term job-related skills; mentoring, on helping employees navigate longer-term career hazards. Supervisors have coached and mentored employees from the dawn of management (in Greek mythology, Mentor advised Odysseus’s son Telemachus). But with more managers leading highly trained employees and self-managing teams, supporting, coaching, and mentoring are fast replacing formal authority and giving orders for getting things done.

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