A great deal of our learning and development at work happens outside formal training. One study suggested that for managers, 70% of the role is learned on the job, 20% through networking and just 10% through formal training and coursework (Lombardo & Eichinger, 1996). Coaching and mentoring provide alternative and highly effective development opportunities for staff to work through knotty issues, gain insights and achieve goals.
A coach facilitates a confidential, learning conversation, in which a coachee is enabled to identify goals and to generate and consider options and action plans. The coach acts as an impartial "thinking partner", using effective questioning and listening skills, and both encouraging and challenging the coachee in order to develop understanding and commitment to action. Research among UK employers found coaching to be one of the top three most effective learning and development practices (CIPD Learning and Development Report 2015). Visit our coaching page to find out more and apply for coaching.
Mentoring is a voluntary process in which one person gives their time to help a mentee. The aim is to provide confidential, non-judgemental and constructive support to enable the mentee to develop themselves in whatever way is most appropriate. A mentor may be a sounding board, someone to help the mentee work through their ideas, and someone to throw light on their path. A mentor is usually, but not always, someone who has faced similar challenges in the past, or who is working at a more senior role in your profession, but should be outside any current hierarchical relationship. Mentoring brings benefits not only to the mentee but also to the whole organisation: this has been well-documented for many years (see for example Wilson, J.A., & Elman, N.S. (1990) "Organizational benefits of mentoring", Perspectives (Academy of Management) vol. 4/4 pp 88-94). Visit our mentoring pages to find out more about mentoring schemes already in operation.