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Mentoring and Coaching
Transcript of Mentoring and Coaching
'Coaching is unlocking people's potential to maximise their own performance' (Whitmore, 2009, p10).
It is clear here that Whitmore is emphasising the need for a coach to help others help themselves rather than to teach or direct. He suggests: COACHING AND MENTORING:
FROM NON-DIRECTIVE TO DIRECTIVE PRACTICES There are a number of models proposed that outline a systematic structure for coaching in order to ensure that it is developmental. Bresser and Wilson (in Passmore, 2010) outline the GROW model popularised by Whitmore.
GOAL- what do you want?
REALITY- what is happening now?
OPTIONS- what could you do?
WILL- what will you do?
This model demonstrates the forward focused nature of coaching as a coachee commits to what they will do to initiate change. A FRAMEWORK FOR COACHING? Gay (2000), in Miller (2002), suggests that the helping behaviours common in mentoring relationships can be placed on a continuum from exploring to directing as follows:
Exploring: informal and mutual exploration of issues
Revealing: making known
Guiding: leading the way
Advising:considering in company
Directing: showing the way
Once again, coaching is viewed as a behaviour within mentoring and mentoring is a broad term for both directive and non-directive behaviours. Interestingly, coaching is placed towards the directing end of the continuum, a view that contrasts sharply with Whitmore's view. The continuum approach.... Debating the relationship between mentoring and coaching has proved inconclusive since these terms have been used in many walks of life by a number of writers.
A more fruitful approach may well be to look at the features of developmental, professional relationships and the skills needed to be a good mentor or coach. It is possible to consider whether these relationships should be based on directive or non-directive behaviours, should be highly structured or informal. My view is that it is essential that the uniqueness of each relationship is recognised so that any model proposed by an organisation is a flexible guideline that can be negotiated by the participants.
As a school leader, I am aware that the push for ever improving performance puts pressure on schools to introduce 'peer mentors' and 'learning mentors' for students. Often the 'goals' are set by the school or the mentor and the relationship is rarely a choice for the mentee. From this initial reading, it is clear that these strategies might be more successful if they allowed students to lead the process for themselves, recognise they often had the answers to their own questions and set their own goals. Therefore I am interested in non-directive forms of mentoring and coaching that could be used with young people to help them realise their potential.
It takes an emotionally intelligent, skilled listener to be a good mentor/ coach. Therefore, I would like to examine mentor/ coach selection and training techniques. These seem to be the key to the success of professional, developmental relationships, be they termed mentoring or coaching. The terms mentoring and coaching have been used by a wide range of authors in a number of contexts. I will examine definitions of these terms and the relationship between them.
Some commentators consider coaching relationships to be based on non-directive practices. These are then contrasted with the directive practices of mentoring.
However, others consider coaching to be a practice that occurs within a mentoring relationship rather than anything distinctive to it.
Finally, other authors refuse to use the terms mentor or coach as they view them as too problematic, preferring instead to examine the practices that are used in developmental relationships. Most commentators do seem to agree that:
Both mentoring and coaching are effective as one to one relationships.
They are developmental, professional relationships with benefits for both the coach/mentor and the coachee/ mentee. Whitmore does recognise that the same skills are required by both good mentors and good coaches:
'Good coaching and good mentoring for that matter can and should take a performer beyond the limitations of the coach or mentor's own knowledge..... He must think of his people in terms of their potential not their performance. To get the best out of people we have to believe the best is in there.' (Whitemore, 2009, p17)
This seems to be a powerful message for all leaders. Within the context of education, a powerful reminder to all teachers. This resonates strongly for me, as Whitmore gets to the heart of the developmental nature of both mentoring and coaching by unlocking potential rather than simply instructing. 'We are more like acorns, each of which contains within it all the potential to be a magnificent oak tree. We need nourishment, encouragement, and the light to reach toward, but the oaktreeness is already within us.' (Whitmore 2009, p11) According to Whitmore, the word 'mentoring' originates from Greek mythology. Odysseus, when setting out for Troy entrusted his son Telemachus to his friend Mentor and gave the instruction 'tell him all you know'.
Is this the crucial difference between coaching and mentoring? Is mentoring a relationship of expert to novice? One of direct instruction rather than helping a person to unlock their own potential? The coach then builds self belief in others by letting go of the desire to control them, or trying to maintain a position of superiority over them.
So, Whitmore is clear that the coaching relationship must enable people to feel trusted, encouraged, supported and allowed to make their own decisions. Thus, coaching is essentially non-directive practices. (Whitmore 2009)
Does a coach need to have experience or technical knowledge? Bresser and Wilson (in Passmore, 2010) do raise the question of whose goals should frame the coaching relationship. Should they be those of the coach? The coachee? Or the organisation. They suggest that a skilled effective coach will need to be able to deal with competing priorities.
Bresser and Wilson suggest that the coachee is the leader of the whole process and is responsible for, and has ownership of, the outcomes of the coaching relationship. The coach designs the coaching around the coachee's needs and remains detached. According to Bresser and Wilson, the techniques of listening, questioning, clarifying and giving feedback are essential for effective coaching. (Passmore, 2010)
It seems that these same skills would fit into Whitmore's view of coaching since they would lead a coachee, if used effectively to realise their potential rather than being about measuring performance. Coaching is not mentoring.... This viewpoint is echoed by Bresser and Wilson (in Passmore, 2010) who suggest that mentoring and coaching are fundamentally different since:
'A mentor has experience in a particular field and imparts specific knowledge, acting as adviser, counsellor, guide, tutor or teacher. In contrast, the coach's role is not to advise but to assist coachees in uncovering their own knowledge and skills.'.(Passmore, 2010, p22)
Similar distinctions between mentoring and coaching have been made by Allison and Harbour (2009). Coaching as a form of mentoring Links to Leadership in Education.. Mentoring Students and Young People Instructional Coaching Questioning the GROW model..... Knight's (2004) description of 'instructional coaches' in schools contrasts starkly with Whitmore and Passmore's view of a non-directive coach and resonates more clearly with their view of 'expert' mentors.
For Knight, the instructional coach advises teachers on how to manage change, models initiatives and begins change processes in schools. Knight does acknowledge though that the end goal is to pass ownership of an idea over to teachers. He also considers that as well as being excellent teachers, the coaches have to be likeable, good listeners and have good social skills. (Knight 2004)
Knight's viewpoint demonstrates that the definitions of mentoring and coaching are not clear cut. Knight is acknowledging similar psycho-social aspects of coaching to Whitmore and Bresser and Wilson, but has added an aspect of expertise and directive practices. BUT!
Not everyone agrees. Other writers define coaching in more narrow terms than Passmore and Whitmore.
For example, Bush et al (1996) (in Hobson, 2003) summarise mentoring as involving peer support, counselling, socialisation and coaching.
Likewise, Green et al (in Hobson, 2003) suggest that coaching is one aspect of mentoring but has a narrow focus on an individual's job specific skills or actions and provides feedback on performance.
Similarly, Megginson and Clutterbuck (2005) suggest:
'Coaching relates primarily to performance improvement in a specific skills area... Mentoring relates primarily to the identification and nurturing of potential of the whole person. ' ( Megginson and Clutterbuck, 2005, p4) Megginson and Clutterbuck (2005) suggests that goals are usually set by the coach but that within mentoring the learner owns both the goals and the process. Hence mentoring is seen as less directive and broader than coaching by Megginson and Clutterbuck.
However, Megginson and Clutterbuck do consider the differences between mentoring and coaching to be less clear cut than this. He suggests that there are four styles of coaching- tell, show, suggest and stimulate. They state:
'Coaches in stimulator style are behaving like a mentor-using their own experience to ask questions that lead learners to their own insights and conclusions- helping them to develop their own wisdom.' (Megginson and Clutterbuck 2005, p5) However, Megginson and Clutterbuck still think that the mentor's role is much wider and more varied than that of the coach. They suggest a mentor acts as a counsellor and an adviser, offering both emotional support and being a sounding board when needed. (Megginson and Clutterbuck 2005) Megginson and Clutterbuck (2009) warn of the dangers of assuming that one model of coaching, such as the GROW model, suits everyone. They suggest that coaching can become 'mechanistic' and that 'the client can easily become manipulated to fit the coach's agenda'. Instead they suggest 'managed eclecticism'; a broad approach within which the practices are honed to suit the context and the individual client.(Megginson and Clutterbuck, 2009,p3) Similarly, McCloughen et al (2009) suggests that mentoring is a construct that is shaped and defined by a unique relationship and set of interactions.
According to McCloughen et al, the important mentor attributes are competence, personal confidence and commitment to the development of others. Mentoring itself can be highly structured between expert and novice or an informal learning alliance. (McCloughen, 2009)
They suggest that these professional relationships based on mutual respect and trust can be vital for the development of future leaders. When considering mentoring relationships for young people and students, Miller (2002) suggests that trying to define mentoring is futile since each relationship between mentor and mentee is different and the result of agreement struck at their first meeting.
However, when outlining general characteristics of mentoring relationships, Miller suggests they are not hierarchical but usually involve an experienced individual and one or more other people. He also suggests:
'the outcomes are expected to benefit all parties for personal growth, career development, lifestyle enhancement, spiritual fulfilment, goal achievement and other mutually designated areas'(Miller, 2002, p27)
This is a broad view of the mentoring relationship and reflects Megginson and Clutterbuck's assertion that mentoring is about the whole person. However, it also echoes Whitmore's view of coaching in which the acorn will become the oak tree. Coaching in schools... Allison and Harbour (2009) consider the relationship between mentoring and coaching to be very straightforward. This might be because they have a narrow focus within schools.
They contend that mentoring and coaching should be seen as a continuum:
Input Drawing out
Subject expertise Subject expertise not
They also suggest that mentoring can often involve judgements, whereas coaching will not. From a personal perspective, as I am a school leader, the viewpoint of Allison and Harbour does reflect my school's definition of the two terms and activities involved in mentoring and coaching initiatives. Within education, mentoring is not just used with students. Bush et al (1995) considered the role of mentoring in the development of new headteachers. In their research new heads were mentored by more experienced heads and were given support and guidance.
Bush et al concluded that mentoring can be an important aspect of developing new leaders. They argue:
'Professional mentoring reduces professional isolation, provides support and feedback on performance and gives confidence to new heads during a period of change and uncertainty'. (Bush,1995 p73)
This research reveals psycho-social aspects of mentoring similar to elements of coaching recognised by Passmore. Here mentoring involved both directive and non-directive behaviours. Not if he is acting as a detached awareness raiser.
(Whitmore 2009) Allison, S. and Harbour, M. (2009) The Coaching Toolkit: A practical guide for your school. London: Sage
Bresser, F.S. and Wilson, C. (2010) 'What is coaching?' in J.Passmore (ed) Excellence in coaching: The industry guide. London: Kogan (pp9-26)
Bush, T. and Coleman, C. (1995)'Professional development for heads: the role of mentoring' Journal of Educational Administration, Vol 33 No 5, pp60-73
Hobson, A. (2003) Mentoring and coaching for new leaders: A literature review for NCSL Nottingham: NCSL.
Knight, J. (2004) Instructional coaches make progress through partnership: Intensive support can improve teaching Journal of Staff Development 25(2) 32-37.
McCloughen, A., O'Brien, L. and Jackson, D. (2009) 'Esteemed connection: creating a mentoring relationship for nurse leadership' Nursing Inquiry; 16(4): 326-336
Megginson, D. and Clutterbuck, D. (2005) Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring. Elsevier Ltd.
Megginson, D. and Clutterbuck, D. (2009) Further Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring. Elsevier Ltd.
Miller, A. (2002) Mentoring Students and Young People. London: Routledge.
Whitmore, J.(2002). 3rd ed. Coaching for Performance: GROWing people, performance and purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey Bibliography 'Coaching is a collaborative, solution focused, results orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of work performance, life experience, self directed learning and personal growth of the coachee.' (Grant, 1999, in Passmore, 2010, p94).
This is a similar definition to Whitmore's since it emphasises self direction and personal growth. Similar to Whitmore's 'light to move towards', Grant stresses the importance of goals. They both therefore see coaching as needing a structure to some extent as it is a process that a person needs to progress through.