The purpose of coaching in the UEA scheme is to help the person being coached to move forward in their professional and personal development. This is done through a series of 1:1 learning conversations where issues, improvements, challenges, decisions, and goals are talked through with the coach in a completely confidential setting. The approach used is non-directive; in other words the coach does not provide guidance, instruction, advice or solutions.
Distinguishing between coaching and mentoring
Coaching is sometimes confused with mentoring. The quotations and definitions below will help to describe how we see the differences in the context of the UEA coaching scheme. ‘Mentoring is sharing specific knowledge and expertise in an area that a colleague wishes to develop. Coaching is a holistic process that can benefit someone without needing specialist knowledge in the client's field. Both processes can be at work within the same session, although the overall ‘designation' of the relationship may indicate where the focus lies.' (Lynne Blanchfield, KITE Project)
‘Mentoring is a process in which a more skilled or more experienced person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter's professional and/or personal development. Mentoring functions are carried out within the context of an ongoing, supportive relationship between the mentor and mentee.' (The Mentoring Pocketbook, Geof Alred et al)
The following is a list (not exhaustive) of the potential objectives that a coachee might seek to achieve with a coach:
- Developing self-awareness
- Identifying development needs
- Planning work and future progression
- Learning from mistakes and setbacks
- Building confidence and motivation.
These objectives might be achieved through a range of complementary processes and approaches, such as:
- Using reflective questioning to both consider barriers and ascertain solutions
- Exploring with the coachee a range of ideas and methods of working before they make a final decision on their implementation
- Challenging assumptions
- Acting as a sounding board
- Referring the coachee onto other sources of information
- Dealing sensitively with beliefs, capabilities, aspirations and learning styles
- Creating an open and relaxed relationship to help build confidence and trust that will enhance the learning process
- Providing feedback
- Celebrating successes.