The importance of having either a mentor or coach (ideally both) has always been apparent to me from the early part of my career. When I was qualifying as an accountant in my twenties I was lucky to be working for some great role models who encouraged personal development and growth both from a technical and interpersonal standpoint.
I have a clear distinction in my mind between a persons line manager, a mentor and a coach however for others sometimes the lines can get blurred. If you can create strong relationships with all three of these people at any one time different things can be gained from each. At the same time you will feel both challenged and supported if you surround yourself with the right people in all of these roles.
As well as having all three of these people in your life if you can get the opportunity to act in all of these three roles to aid the development of others this is also very rewarding work and allows you to experience what I think are the differences between the roles. Let’s take each in turn and I will explain how I have experienced them
Line Manager – the most obvious in that organisationally this is who you report too if employed, if self employed this won’t be in place and makes the other two roles below even more important to avoid working in a void. A good line manager will ensure you have complete clarity about that is required from your role, give you feedback on whether you are heading in the right direction performance wise while in addition set you stretching objectives and devise a meaningful development plan.
Mentor – this is someone who has walked the path you want to take and has learnt from experience and willing to share how these experiences may help you follow a similar path. They should be inspiring and enjoy helping you proceed in your journey in your way but with the benefit of learnings they may be able to pass on. This relationship normally is in place for a relatively short time until you have discussed their journey. A mentoring relationship can last for about a year however if there is a big gap between where the mentor is and where you are now the relationship may last longer and move into a more infrequent checkin over a longer period of time.
Coach – this is someone you meet with again over a set period of time anything from 3 months to 9 months typically. The coaching sessions act as safe spaces for you to get clear on your goals (work and non work), explore options for action, any barriers you may be struggling to overcome and any patterns of behaviour or thinking that are either working for you or against you. A coach will use established tools and techniques that include powerful questions to unlock the answers that are already inside you. A qualified coach does not need specialist knowledge about what you want to work on or technical expert subject matter.
My recommendation would be to have at least two of these people in your life and to at least get the opportunity to act as a mentor for others in either a professional or personal area.
Sandra works as a coach and trainer for both business and private clients. More information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com
As we are about to enter the season of festivity and celebration it reminded me of the need to ensure we celebrate success, achievements or just continuous hard work throughout the year rather than just at set times.
In the work I do coaching leaders at all levels of the organisation I encourage them to routinely catch people when they do the right things and behave in the right way as this has a dual benefit. Firstly, everyone feels good when they get some positive feedback and recognition plus when we acknowledge that we have noticed someone getting good results, behaving in line with company values or in a professional way it reinforces the message that we want to see more or similar in the future. Most of us have experienced the way that if you laugh or acknowledge a small child behaving in a certain way they keep doing it to get a similar response. As adults it is no different we still like to please those around us.
The way in which you choose to celebrate success however must be individual and meaningful to the recipient and this is where the skill lies. It takes time for leader to get to know each member of the team especially if they have a wide span of control. In my experience this is time well spent understanding each person’s individual personality, building a picture of what is important to that person’s life inside and outside of work plus also identifying their motivational mix; what makes them tick. Once you have built a pen picture of each person it is much easier to work out what type of reward or recognition would likely work for that person when it comes to celebrating success or a period of hard work and dedication. Some people will like to be publicly recognized in front of their peers or senior management while others would like a simple thankyou behind closed doors.
This type of tailored approach is equally important regardless of the size of the team or business. In my work across all sectors and size of company it is most often the individual leader that makes this happen and it becomes part of their leadership toolkit they can take with them throughout their careers.
So, I challenge you how good are you at recognising the efforts of others? is this something you are naturally good at and just need to continue in the way you are or is this something you could do a better job of in 2018. We need to look after our high performers and encourage the growth of future high performers
Sandra is a professional coach who works with both organisations and private client. More info can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com
We all apparently know 250 people….. some of you may be responding “yes of course I do?” or “really I don’t even know 10!”. Well when it comes to networking it doesn’t really matter how many we do know it is how we manage the connections we do have. It is also important to continually manage your connections in a strategic way to keep your network current and alive.
When was the last time you sat down to take a strategic look at your current network to see if this is in area you need to do some work on. For most people it becomes important when they find themselves job hunting. Suddenly we start picking up the phone or sending emails to people we haven’t connected with for a very long time in the hope they might know of some suitable roles. This is far from ideal.
A high performer (job hunting or not) continually manages their network, keeps connected with everyone but in different ways and in different timeframes. The skilled networker is just as keen to help others grow their networks and put people in touch with each other as they are to make new connections themselves. There is nothing more rewarding than putting two people in touch with each other that can help both people achieve personal or work goals.
When you sit down to strategically review your network do you have any gaps? Do you have people who challenge your thinking, do you have people who you can go to who inspire you?, do you have people in your network who you can contact when things get really tough and you need some advice? Do you have people in your network who have an equally good network when you are looking to hire people or get specific expert advice on a subject?
What sort of person are you in other peoples network? Its a two way street networking when it works well…….
Over the past few weeks in a variety of our workshops a common theme has emerged. When trying to secure a job or trying to progress within a company ,people are coming across barriers. We hear phrases like “ I have applied for lots of jobs but heard nothing” or “ the agencies said they would ring back and they haven’t” or “there is nowhere for me to progress in this company” or “that department never has any vacancies or “none of the managers are ever going to leave so I will never get promotion”.
There is a common theme with all of these statements… the individuals are not taking the action upon themselves; they are waiting for others to take action on their behalf.
At a presentation last week one senior manager asked a great question “so what do you plan to do about it then?” This is exactly the thought provoking question that needs to be asked so that we as individuals realise if we want something badly enough then we need to take ownership ourselves. Everyone is extremely busy and they do intend to get back to you, they do intend to look out for career opportunities for you but unfortunately its not their top priority and other things on the to do list take over.
Make your future your priority, decide what you want to achieve, identify those people that can help you but make it easy for them… you drive the action, keep it a priority, don’t give up, keep communicating, consider alternatives. Take ownership for your own future , you may be surprised how quick things happen when you do?
I have met a lot of different people this week… Working with corporate clients, holding events and being a guest at 3 different hotels, plus attending a careers event last night at the University West of England.
When I think of the people who have impressed me the most this week they have all displayed the 3 qualities in the title of this blog:
- Energy – going about their job in a positive way and demonstrating they enjoy what they do.
- Focus – on what they are doing; be that customer service, being part of a management team, or students focused on activities that support their career options.
- Action – taken to meet customer needs, to meet team goals, or to proactively own their career.
If I also reflect on the people I enjoy working with – the people I want to be part of my team and the people I choose to recruit – these are the qualities I look for in an individual.
I often talk about Energy Givers and Energy Takers.
Which are you?
Welcome to The Kudos Group’s first ever blog! We hope you’ll keep reading…
As we are about to launch our new offering – www.myjobcoach.co.uk – I (Sandra Webber, Director here at Kudos) am thinking about who has inspired me this week in the world of work? The answer: two people at opposite ends of the career journey!
Person one is a character from a recent programme on a Channel 4 Documentary – Fabulous Fashionistas – who still loved her job and she was 87! Check out the trailer:
(Full documentary: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/fabulous-fashionistas/4od)
The moral of the story here, to coin a phrase and a familiar hashtag, is – #dosomethingyoulove
The other person I found inspiring, was a young graduate who had secured a job – fresh out of uni. The job was going well, he loved the team, his manager was good, everything looked perfect until he was called into the office and told that due to financial pressure they were making redundancies! He was understandably devastated; the career he thought he had embarked on came to an abrupt end without any warning.
As I type, to his credit and with help from a supportive recruitment agency, he is being interviewed for another good role – only 3 working days later! Fingers crossed he is back in employment soon – and he will have acquired a valuable skill in the process by learning to cope with change.
So here is my reflection on the week and advice to all of you out there looking for your first ever position, promotion, or a career change:
Find a job you love to do and learn to adapt quickly to change.