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Mentoring and Coaching Experience Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2022

Did you and your partner choose coaching or mentoring? Why?

My partner and I chose to mentor because it is an essential skill of leadership. Mentoring involves managing and motivating people. It is indeed a crucial aspect of helping people learn, grow, and become effective in their daily tasks (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). The results are achieved by working with a mentoring partner through professional networks like mentor networks or mind tools. Precisely, mentoring is an informal way of passing on knowledge from an experienced person to a less experienced one.

Kouzes and Posner (2007) analyze that the knowledge can pertain to social capital or psychosocial support required by the recipient. In most cases, mentoring involves face to face communication or as otherwise agreed between the protégé and the mentor. The protégé is the person with less experience in the relevant field while the mentor is the person with considerable knowledge and experience.

Mentoring can also involve the transfer of wisdom from an experienced person to a person who is young in a career (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). The mentor is expected to care about his or her protégé and extend the caring outside the mentoring room. This is to ensure that the protégé gets possible opportunities to fulfill this or her full career potential. Actually, mentoring involves teaching, coaching, and assisting the protégé to be confident (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Mentoring is regarded as informal because it bears fruits when the two parties develop closeness and stable friendship.

Mentoring is important because it creates a positive impact on one’s career or life (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Research has shown that mentored individuals tend to reach their positions fast, and they are usually satisfied in their careers as compared to their counterparts who were never mentored (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Mentoring also plays a role in facilitating new skills and talents in an organization, reducing turnover, minimizing mid-carrier adjustments, enhancing knowledge and values, and facilitating adjusts and retirements.

Anybody can be mentored. Some programs aim at mentoring the brightest and the best. Other programs are aimed at mentoring average persons who are in dire need of mentorship so as to improve their competency and upgrade their career skills (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). In most cases, an organization’s growth depends highly on the contribution of the majority of middle based professionals. Therefore, mentoring middle based employees helps to stabilize the efforts of the most skilled employees in an organization (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Investing in a mentoring program for both middle and lower performers yields a significant return for an organization.

What did you learn about yourself from this experience that will enhance your leadership potential? Why?

From the mentoring lessons I have had, I have learned that mentoring can be a rewarding experience for anyone. Moreover, I have observed that mentoring is beneficial for an individual’s social and professional growth because it sharpens communication and leadership skills (Roche, 1979). It also equips a person with new ways of thinking that are helpful in career growth.

Although mentorship comes with a pack of benefits, one has to decide whether the process is right for him or not (Roche, 1979). In this case, a person has to explore the reasons why they require mentoring and the level to which they want to take the process. For instance, as a mentor, I will have to ask myself whether I want to share my knowledge and experience with others and whether I enjoy encouraging and motivating other people.

I will also consider whether I am comfortable asking challenging questions and whether I am ready to commit my time and mentor other people on regular basis. Further, I will consider whether I am in a position to make follow-ups to ensure they are catching up with the process, and so on. As a protégé, I have to ask myself whether I am ready for the whole process and whether I am ready to take instructions. Other considerations will be the type of person I want to mentor me, the areas I need assistance, and so on (Roche, 1979). For a mentor, he or she should have clear objectives and motivation for becoming a mentor so as to assess compatibility with a prospective protégé.

There are also practical considerations for everyone before engaging in mentorship. For instance, a potential mentor must know and chose the appropriate contact method. These may include face to face meetings, phone calls, emails, Skype, and so on. The selected contact method should be appropriate for both persons and any terms of operation should be agreed on. For example, in the case of phone calls, it should be clear who will be placing calls to avoid inconveniences during the process (Roche, 1979). The parties should also agree on the frequency of contact. For instance, how much time one will commit to the process and how long to spend in a single meeting, and so on.

Another important point to take into consideration is the partnership duration. Both parties will have to agree on whether to limit the mentoring partnership length or set regular intervals for reviewing the happiness of both partners in the relationship (Roche, 1979). Above all, confidentiality must be maintained. For a mentor, confidentiality is a crucial aspect to uphold. For instance, when approaching confidential businesses, he or she should know how to speak about general concepts and situations.

It is very important to draw lines when developing mentoring partnerships. One should have clear boundaries of what to do and what not to do to a protégé (Roche, 1979). To achieve this, discuss with the protégé on areas to cover and those not to cover. It is the duty of the mentor to decide the areas to be covered and those to be left out. At this point, it is important as a mentor to focus on areas of expertise and experience. If the protégé has areas that need to be covered and they are outside or beyond the mentor’s skills, it is ethical to refer the protégé to another expert who can satisfy the need (Roche, 1979).

For example, if the protégé requires guidance on issues of finance, it will be wise for the mentor to refer him or her to a financial expert. A mentor must be prepared to be the protégé’s adviser and confidante. At one point, he or she may be required to address demanding issues on behalf of his or her protégé (Roche, 1979). Therefore, as a mentor, one should be prepared on how to handle difficult situations in order to succeed.

Discuss your experience as it relates to at least four of the unit topics as outlined on your Readings List

Mentoring and coaching

Mentoring and coaching are related in that a mentor, just like a coach, should be creative and open-minded to Support discussions (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). A mentor should seek to encourage openness so as to allow interactive communication. This communication allows the two to share personal experiences, especially the tough times and challenging issues. In addition, the mentor should respect his or her protégé, be patient, and carefully craft ways in which they will achieve their goals at the end of the program (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). Coaching focuses on technical support to develop techniques, which employees are required to know and implement. This is because mentoring is a long process of developing, learning, and understanding techniques for personal and professional growth.

Mentoring includes every effort meant to support the protégé’s orientation and carrier development. Coaching, on the other hand, is one of the mentor’s strategies to learn to effectively amass skills and success required by the protégé (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). In this case, mentoring and coaching are aimed at maximum teaching and personal development.

Mentoring and critical thinking

Mentors often use the acronym AWARE to facilitate dialogues, which enable protégés to open their minds and think critically. The acronym is broken down as shown below:

  • A -Alive
  • W-Wary
  • A-Active
  • R- Reflective
  • E- Exploratory

Critical thinking enables protégés to arrive at their own judgment instead of conforming to other people’s judgments (Delong & Vijayaraghavan, 2003). Protégés are also advised to be aware of commonly accepted narratives, simple solutions, stereotypes, generalizations, as well as givens, which can lead to curiosity, questioning, and adoption of stereotypes. Protégés are also advised to be active in analyzing information.

They should intelligently assess their beliefs as well as those of others and avoid accepting passive voices (Delong & Vijayaraghavan, 2003). They should also examine theories and differentiate facts from assumptions. Moreover, protégés are advised to be reflective. This involves standing in an objective position to consider what, how, and why they and other people think and behave in particular ways. Finally, it is advisable to be exploratory (Delong & Vijayaraghavan, 2003). This means examining alternatives and seeking to know the possible future expectations and thinking different approaches, which translate to realities.

During the mentoring process, a mentor is responsible for the critical thinking process. He or she must do so while at the same time retaining a positive focus that will inspire the protégé to think openly and objectively. This is done by respecting both the emotional and rational components of decision-makers.

Mentoring and visioning

The world is moving toward an ecological view of mentoring as people grow and mature (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). The Mentoring process has three stages. They include: egocentric, socio-centric, and world-centric; translated as me, us, and all of us. The egocentric stage focuses on the protégé. As mentoring continues, the focus goes beyond the individual to support the larger group transitions in which the protégé belongs (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). The mentorship later extends to the societal level and later to the global level, thus, shifting the fundamental question from the mentor to the protégé. The concern here is the unique skills that the future world needs from a person.

Mentoring and Self Awareness

Mentors play a significant role in individuals’ professional advancement. Professional development plans used by most mentors facilitate self-reflection and increase self-awareness (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). The plan facilitates self-reflection, which involves evaluating past, present, and future goals. Moreover, it enables one to set long term goals and develop action steps on how to achieve the set goals.

A protégé who has set a professional development plan will get to know the styles and functions of mentoring necessary for goal attainment (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). The ability to select an appropriate mentor depends on the protégé’s knowledge of the mentoring style that fits him or her. Mentors should not be limited to managers; they should include colleagues, peers, and friends at all levels.

An appropriate mentorship partnership will enable a person to understand himself in terms of who he is, what he stands for, as well as his vision. In the process, he is able to see himself through mirrors in a long life process (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). Mentors are the best mirrors who never shade the truth at this point. They assist their protégés to become best by reflecting on their flaws and talents. Mentors guide their trajectory and development.

Through the mentorship process, one gets to connect with other people who have expanded their experiences. Mentorship also provides a mirror for the protégé, which pursues and demands feedback (Bozeman & Feeney, 2007). This creates an ideal opportunity for one to learn about his or her outward and inside persons. Later, the individual becomes a mirror that helps other people to see themselves in their best and worst moments.

Relate this experience to your personal philosophy (e.g. did you lead – or were you led – as you would like to lead/be led?)

My personal philosophy is “yes I can”. This philosophy encourages me to always push forward even in difficult situations. I developed the philosophy since I was in primary school, and it has enabled me to achieve great things. I never quite so long as I know I am right or in the right direction. I always try, and most of the time I have succeeded in my ventures. For instance, one time I was asked to chair a meeting at a conference.

I panicked because I was not ready and experienced in such tasks. The person who was supposed to do it had an emergency on a material day. The master in charge decided to appoint someone at random to chair the meeting and it happened to be me. The hall was packed with hundreds of people. As usual, I decided to go by my personal philosophy. From then, I gained confidence and started off the meeting with the salutation, followed by agendas, and so on. After the meeting, everyone was pleased with my performance and skill. Since then, I have been leading thousands of people and I feel honored whenever I do it.

The mentorship experience I have gained from this lesson has strengthened my personal philosophy. I believe from this moment, I can mentor somebody in my area of expertise. During practical lessons in class, I was elected to lead the mentorship program. I was scared because I thought I would not make it to the required standard. However, going by my personal philosophy, I decided to try it out. It was phenomenal. My colleagues, especially my protégés, were inspired by my performance.

References

Bozeman, B., & Feeney, M. K. (2007). Toward a useful theory of mentoring: A conceptual analysis and critique. Administrative and society, 39 (6), 719 – 739.

Delong, T. J., & Vijayaraghavan, V. (2003). Let’s Hear It for B-Players. Harvard Business Review, 81(6), 96-102.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The Leadership Challenge (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Roche, G. R. (1979). Much to do About Mentors. Harvard Business Review, 3, 14-28.

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