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Coaching or Mentoring?

Coaching is used in performance improvement. Mentoring is used in career development. A mentor is a more experienced person who is formally authorised to guide a less experienced person in developing their career in the context of their organisation.

For example, an experienced programme manager will mentor a new programme manager in how to manage their project managers and change managers, how to relate to the programme steering group, how to lead the programme executive, how to relate to the sponsor and so on...Experience, rather than age, is the critical factor.

Mentoring can take much longer than coaching. The skills of mentoring can be learned on a very short course and I see them as a judicious blend of listening and telling. The person being mentored will also be asking many questions!

I know what being mentored feels like. When I was a Junior Engineering Officer in The RAF, fresh out of training, and sent to my first posting in command of 65 men some of them old enough to be my father, I was mentored by a senior Flight Lieutenant who was a commissioned Warrant Officer with many years’ experience of dealing with people in an armed forces context subject to Military Law.

I can coach anyone. And, because of my experience as a portfolio, programme and project manager, I can also mentor such people. I can coach HR Directors or doctors, for example, but I would not attempt to mentor them, because I have no experience as an HR Director or as a doctor.

for coaching or mentoring project people...
call +44(0)7989 045050 or email me