A big part of developing your leadership skills, is learning how to coach, mentor and influence individuals. So I guess your question is what’s the difference and why is it important?
Coaching is … generally task or objective related, helping an individual to do something specific and once that has been completed the relationship normally ends.
Mentoring is … generally long term and future driven. They work best when the mentor isn’t directly responsible for the mentee.
Influencing is … the ability to effect the character, development or behaviour of an individual.
Now I believe that the key skills that links all of these together are LISTENING and EMPATHY.
To influence, coach and mentor you need to understand the other persons, likes, dislikes, aspirations, hopes, fears and learning style. Then package your advice and instruction accordingly.
You have to ask questions and then really listen and engage, then respond in an authentic way. It’s pointless saying “I’ve been there” when you haven’t. The idea is to use questions to help the other person come up with the solution, rather than just telling them. It takes time to build your skill at having this type of conversation without getting frustrated.
Good questions to ask include:
- What could the best outcome be?
- What part of what you just said could be an assumption?
- If I were in your shoes and asked you that question, what would you say?
- What are the positive outcomes of this negative situation?
- What would you try now if you knew you could not fail?
- When will you start?
- What are you waiting for?
This week, when your team comes to you with issues, try asking questions instead of just giving the answer (where appropriate) and see what happens. Let us know in the comment’s below. You can find our Vlog on Coaching here.
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Happy coaching and mentoring!