Introduction to “Coach – Mentor – Counselor.” The “science” and the “art” of managing people.

Yesterday I suggested 3 Business Modules exist which can be used to gain leverage and simplify the science & art when managing others. We are looking at them one blog at a time.

Today: Mentor.

The purpose of the Mentor is to teach, instruct guide.

Teach the person to develop skills and abilities that are required on the job generally and the task at hand specifically. Train them in real-world, practical knowledge, talent and skill development. Help them move beyond training to actual learning.

Instruct: Instruct the person about policy and procedures, generally accepted ways of getting things done. Help them know “the way things are done around here” without impeding creativity or holding back innovation which can often flow from “the way things are done around here”.

Guide: Guide the person along the way. Even though you are the Executive, Manager, “Head Honcho” or “Head Honchette” roll up your sleeves and work shoulder to shoulder, in the trenches as a colleague, a guide, a co-worker, not boss showing how the job is done not merely to do the work but to guide the other person how they might do the work.

Be a role model. Role model excellence. Role model compliance. Role model the higher three levels of compliance [cheerful cooperation, heartfelt commitment and creative excitement]. Walk your talk.

If you do not possess the skills required as a “worker” to be the mentor yourself [you personally can’t actually do the work] then delegate that responsibility; delegate or assign the task of teaching to someone else. However, when delegating or assigning, it is vital that you do participate in the process. When the staff member is being mentored by an assigned co-worker you must be there for at least some of the interaction as an involved observer. Your two staff members are either mentoring, or being mentored, and you are there as Coach to both of them [see yesterday’s blog]. You can, and should, share your observations and get feedback from both employees. But do not get feedback during the session! Even if the session isn’t going very well do not step in, that comes later.

Soon after the session you’ll want to have a meeting with the mentor in your Coach capacity and use open ended questions to maximize effectiveness: “What worked well?” “Which part seemed easier than expected?” “I was impressed at how well you explained the sequence of the process. Now what? What is your plan for following up?”

In addition, you would also ask, again in a Coach approach, the staff member being mentored: “I asked Mary to work with you on this issue as she has high regard for your abilities and expresses great confidence in your work ethic. What did you find most helpful in the suggestions she made?” “What was surprising?” “What action will you implement first?”

Mentor: teach, instruct, guide, lead-by-example, walk the talk.

Return tomorrow for Counselor.