Educational coaches hold the hold of coach as mentor in a district or in a building. New teachers are often shocked by how much they struggle in their first year. My wife has been teaching Middle School/ Jr High for over 20 years. We have often talked about the first three years of any teacher. In the first year they figure out classroom management (how to not let the kids run a muck) in the second year they figure out their curriculum, and by the third year they start putting it together and really hitting some stride. That is three years of struggle.
Clearly there is a parallel in the role of lean agile coach as mentor. I spend a lot of my time mentoring others and I see the same in my peer coaches. The life-cycle of a lean agile coach as mentor engagement is much longer than some of the other roles we play. The role of Resouce provider can be just a few minutes, the role of Facilitator or the role of trainer my last a few months but a mentor relationship may last a few years. In the role of mentor we come along side, up-and-coming agilists and help them begin to understand the role they are getting into, what to expert as they grow into the role of coach. Guiding through tough spots, and difficult decisions. a mentor can be an impartial ear for the mentee to discuss ideas with or to get advice from regarding a career move.
Coaching and mentoring are often confused. The goal of both coaching and mentoring is to help the coachee or mentee improve in their effectiveness in their job. Their approach is different. Coaches are very focused on the moment and practical skills and correction. Think about a sports coach. They teach the plays and during the game they coach from the sidelines with encouragement, correction and advice on the next play. A coach may not have experience in the same role as the coachee but they help the coachee develop personally and professionally skills and professionally. this is more focused on the skills aptitudes and attitudes necessary to do their job. A coach focuses on developing higher performance.
A mentor is more hands off, offering advice through personal experience and reflection. Mentors meet regularly with the mentee and discuss the mentee’s agenda, much like a coach. the difference is that a mentor will share stories about their personal experience dealing with a similar situation in their past. Mentors have to have experience in a similar role as the mentee or at least something close so that they can share their experience. Mentors do not provide live action coaching, in the minute with the mentee. Mentor focuses on developing the person.
I think that we should all have someone we mentor. Taking a personal interest in the development of another person is good not only for your career but for your soul. Do it with out expecting anything in return and you will be greatly rewarded.
Do you coach or do you mentor?
If you Coach should you be doing some mentoring too?
What percentage of your coaching time is spent mentoring?
Is that what you want?