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In our Top Tip 7: Setting up buddy or mentoring system last month, we shared how Community Connections set up their mentoring system, how it works and how they have benefited. In this issue we talk about your coaching role as employers, managers or leaders in your organisations.

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” – Pete Carroll

Careerforce Assessor for Leadership and Management and a trained and experienced mentor and transformational coach, Grant Daly, differentiates mentoring and coaching saying, “Essentially mentoring is about partnering a Mentee with a Mentor to assist or support them to carry out a particular activity. Where this is unfamiliar or new, where a Mentee is inexperienced, where there is a need to upskill workers to meet business needs, are familiar locators for mentoring activity.”

He adds, “Mentoring is a bit different to coaching, although the two terms are frequently confused. Coaching is personal performance-directed, and Coaches are experts in ‘not knowing’. They ask questions to help the Coachee find the answers within themselves.”

The key difference is that coaches help staff learn rather than teach them. This allows staff to bring their own expertise and past experience rather than be told what to do.

Grant further explains, “In a coach-coachee relationship, the coachee does the legwork. Though the coach might prompt and question the coachee, the onus is on the person being coached to come up with the answer. It’s not necessarily easy, the work can be a challenging process. The advantage is that by encouraging the individual to problem solve, they can find the answer themselves and the learning is much more likely to stick, as it is they who have gone through the discovery process.”

We can definitely see the place for having both a mentoring system and a coaching culture in the workplace. Both ensure that staff not only learn new skills and perform to your organisation’s standards, but they also remain engaged and motivated in their roles.

Some benefits of mentoring to staff: Some benefits of coaching to staff:
· development of new skills and knowledge

· development of strengths and overcoming weaknesses

· improved understanding of policies and procedures

· increase in self-confidence


· improvement in staff performance, targets and goals

· increased openness to personal learning and development

· ability to problem-solve

· greater ownership and responsibility

· development of self-awareness and critical thinking


Coaching in practice

Philippa Johnson-Alatalo, Service Manager at IDEA Services says, “Coaching to me is sharing knowledge and guidance with my team, getting to know my team as individuals and helping them to improve their own performance, stay motivated, learn and grow.”

She shares, “Coaching should be a daily informal act. Whether it’s at staff meetings, phone conversations or working out in services. I am out in my service regularly working alongside, engaging with my team, asking questions, listening and setting individual goals for people.”

When Philippa has new staff, she makes sure to be there in their first solo shift. She says this is an ideal time for informal coaching and building a relationship with her staff.

“This informal coaching in the early days helps staff put the theory they have received during orientation or through qualification into practice. I want my team to feel valued and build a supportive rapport.”

She reflects upon her early days as a support worker at IDEA Services. She had an opportunity to receive on the job coaching from a senior support worker and believes it helped her be a better manager.

“I still receive on the job coaching and learning opportunities as a Service Manager. I have recently undertaken a leadership program where we have been taught the foundations of coaching and the GROW model and I have been putting this training into practice.”

Through coaching, she says that she has identified team members seeking advancement, learning opportunities or wanting more challenge in their roles. She then supports them in achieving these goals.

“Through having a well-coached, valued, and motivated team, we are all moving towards a common goal of delivering a quality service. Engaged staff are more productive which results in a lower staff turnover. Retaining well trained, coached engaged staff is a huge benefit to service delivery and consistency to the people we are supporting.”

It may seem or feel time consuming to coach alongside your day to day tasks, but Philippa believe it is worth the investment.

“It is well worth the investment to spend time communicating, coaching and engaging with your teams for long term sustainability of a service.”