Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mentoring, counseling, and coaching

Today’s leaders have the critical responsibility to develop future leaders who are prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges. An essential component of this development is mentoring. The term mentorship refers to the voluntary, developmental relationship between a person of greater experience and a person of lesser experience that is characterized by mutual trust and respect.

Mentorship impacts both personal development (maturity, interpersonal and communication skills) as well as professional development (technical and tactical knowledge and career path knowledge).

The goal of mentorship is to assist the lesser-experienced person in reaching his/her personal and professional potential. It is critical to understand that mentorship is not any one behavior or set of behaviors, but rather includes all of the leader development behaviors (that is, counseling, teaching, coaching, and role modeling) that are displayed by a trusted advisor.

The strength of the mentorship relationship is the fact that it is based on mutual trust and respect. Assessment, feedback and guidance accelerate the developmental process and enhance performance. When this occurs within a mentoring relationship, even higher performance results.

Mentoring requires taking advantage of any opportunity to teach, counsel, or coach to build skills and confidence in the mentored. Mentoring is not limited to formal sessions but can include every event from quarterly training briefs to after-action reviews to casual, recreational activities.

One of the most important legacies that today’s senior leaders can leave on the Navy is to mentor junior leaders to fight and win future conflicts. Mentoring develops great leaders to lead great Sailors.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more that professional memtoring is critical to professional development. After more than 15 years working with mnetors and proteges, I have learned the the skills needed to be an effective mentor do not always come naturally. The good news is they can be learned. Mentoring is most powerful when the mentor is adept at listening and asking reflective questions that guide a protege to learn how to think through to effective solutions and performance breakthroughs.


Thanks for the comment. Always appreciated.