Posts Tagged ‘coach’

National Mentoring Month

January 30, 2012

President Obama declared January to be National Mentoring Month.  As a result, mentoring has been highlighted in many ways throughout the month.  I especially appreciated hearing personal success stories from several mentors and mentees during the month.  But, hey, January is almost over!  (How did that happen?)  Mentoring goes on all year – not just in January!  Mentors will continue to share their knowledge and experience to guide and coach others; while mentees will continue to seek out individuals who can contribute to their personal and professional development.  If you’re not in a mentoring relationship now, feel free to contact me to find out how you can get involved as a mentor or mentee – or both.  Don’t wait until next January.  The amount of time and effort is small, but the rewards are great!


The Importance of Organizational Coaching

June 19, 2011

Coaching is often confused with mentoring.  Coaching is focused on development of a skill, functional knowledge, or area of interest, while mentoring is built on a relationship.  A mentor may provide coaching, but a coach may not always be a mentor. 

The cover of the June 2011 issue of T&D magazine proclaims, “Mentoring & Coaching: Know the Roles, and Make Every Conversation Count”.   The first lead article in this issue puts the spotlight on mentoring.  (See my June 10 blog.)  The second lead article puts the spotlight on coaching and is titled, “The 5 Hidden Roles of the Managerial Coach”.  The author, Robert Barner, states that managers need to be able to “build trust, listen effectively, provide clear performance feedback, and model effective leadership behaviors.”  In addition, he suggests the following 5 coaching roles.

  1. Organizational Translator – providing insight into the organization and what it takes to succeed.
  2. Performance Consultant – making the connection between organizational performance and personal development.
  3. Developmental Assessor – leveraging developmental assignments and identifying milestones.
  4. Cognitive Mentor – modeling and discussing the competencies needed for success.  (I strongly disagree with the use of the word “Mentor” here.  Barner goes on to describe a coaching strategy and coaching actions that managers can take to address business issues and problems.  There is no mention of the trust and relationship building necessary for mentoring.  Cognitive Coach would be a better choice for naming this role.)
  5. Brand Advisor – assessing and building an understanding of the overall image projected to others within the organization.

These articles are both great reads.  Pick up the latest issue of T&D or read it on the web.

Bill Russell, Mentor and Medal Recipient

February 17, 2011

This week, President Barack Obama awarded Bill Russell and fourteen others with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.  Others receiving the award included President George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Yo-Yo Ma, and Stan Musial.

The following statement was issued by the White House:

“Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball.  Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times.  The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States—Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality.”

Several years ago, I had the honor of meeting Bill Russell when he was the main speaker for a mentoring conference that I attended in Chicago.  (Yes – he is tall.  For a short person like me, standing next to Bill Russell was an experience in itself!)  In his presentation, Bill spoke passionately about mentoring and the life lessons that he gained as a young man and later by giving back and mentoring others.  He told a story about how he had tried out for the basketball team when he was in school, how he had anxiously awaited the posted results, and how he felt when he didn’t make the team.  One of the coaches took an interest in young Bill and became his mentor, getting him involved in the local Boy’s Club and making sure that he practiced regularly and got good grades.  The next year, Bill made the school team – and the rest is history!  Later while in the NBA, Bill Russell gave back by mentoring younger players.  Since retiring from the NBA, Bill has worked to establish mentoring programs within youth groups around the country.  Bill Russell is more than tall.  Bill Russell is big, a real American hero!

Riding a Bicycle

February 9, 2011

Did you ever contribute to one of those LinkedIn discussion groups?  Recently, I did.  Someone had asked the question, “What are the differences between a Coach and a Mentor?”  That piqued my interest and the interest of several others.  To-date, there have been 41 comments in the ongoing discussion.  (Of course, two of the contributions are mine!)  This level of interest isn’t surprising because these terms are often used interchangeably when they really are two very distinct roles. 

There was one contribution that I would like to share more widely.  It was added by Nancy Carlson, Leadership Development Manager at Novell.  She urged readers to think about the experience of learning to ride a bicycle and who you could go to for help.  She listed the following:

  • A Counselor will explore your fears about riding a bike, 
  • A Trainer will tell you how to ride a bike, 
  • A Consultant will tell you the pros and cons and analyze what is the best bike to ride for you, 
  • A Mentor will advise you how to ride a bike based on their experience, and 
  • A Coach will run along beside you to provide support.


I hope you find these helpful when thinking about the differences between a Mentor and a Coach.  Just remember –

  • A Mentor can provide Coaching, and 
  • A Coach can become a Mentor.