The knowledge owned by a company is, ultimately, what defines it and what, possibly, drives its success.
Preserving this knowledge by spreading it across the organisation is one the wisest strategies to achieve a long lasting success!
To reach this important goal, two activities might be undertaken by farsighted companies: coaching & mentoring.
Although the two concepts might seem similar, they are, indeed, rather different; let’s see exactly how.
Coaching is mainly a short term process, aimed at developing a specific hard or soft skill in an employee or group of employees. It is, usually, very “concrete” since its goal is that of actually improving someone’s performances in his or her current task. Usually, coaches are not themselves employees of the company for which they are performing the coaching service.
Mentoring, instead, is a long term process and his generally, much less specific in its goals than coaching; in fact, the objective of the whole process is that of providing employees with skills, knowledge and advices useful for their whole professional (and even personal) life, regarding, for example, topics such as self-confidence, work/life balance etc.
The mentors are very often people successful in the industry who share their wide experience and expertise with less knowledgeable professionals.
The competences developed through mentoring does not concern exclusively, therefore, only the current specific task of employees, but their whole career and future jobs.
A mentor can also transmit abstract concepts such as beliefs and values, vision and motivation.
The benefits of coaching and mentoring are twofold: employees’ performances are significantly improved, and therefore, also the productivity of their companies, which, hence, benefit from such activities; the employees themselves, however, acquire new precious knowledges that can be exploited also in their future jobs, and which might also go well beyond the boundaries of their professional lives.
It is important to state clearly that coaching and mentoring do not concern exclusively junior employees, who, of course, might have more to learn, but any professional, it does not matter what their seniority may be, has surely further margins of improvement and learning.
To discover more about coaching and mentoring give a look at the dedicated chapter of INNovaSouth’s manual here.