Magazine article Training & Development

Guidelines for Coaching and Mentoring

Magazine article Training & Development

Guidelines for Coaching and Mentoring

Article excerpt

Have you wondered how managers can get the most out of the training dollars your company spends on employee development and training? Or how managers should talk with employees about career development and training options? Or how those discussions should guide employees toward training and development opportunities that make sense for them?

One thing you, as an HRD professional, can do is encourage employees at all levels to take personal ownership for their professional development. But that can be difficult unless there is a systematic approach to human resource planning that encourages people to create and implement individual development plans.

One recommendation is for managers to take a performance-contract approach to coaching. The contract should cover these areas:

* the training and other development opportunities the employee will receive

* the expected outcomes of the training

* how the training will serve the needs of the organization and the employee.

Here are some guidelines for managers.

* Make it clear that employees are primarily responsible for their own professional development. Many already know that, given downsizing and restructuring. Still, it's important to be explicit and to explain what role the organization is willing to play in a partnership for helping employees grow and develop professionally - such as giving people challenging assignments and helping them network.

* Help employees create development plans that strike a balance between the current training they need to fill skill gaps or address performance issues and the long-term skills and development they need to ensure their employability and marketability. Address and discuss those needs in one-on-one meetings, and make sure the needs are expressed in any written contracts.

* Don't use development discussions with employees to talk about issues that belong on performance appraisals. The goal is to identify ways to address skill needs and development opportunities. It's not the time for an ad-hoc critique of work performance.

* Be prepared to act as a coach, mentor, and advisor to your staff or as a referral agent for others, such as peers. Gone are the days when bosses told employees which training programs to sign up for. Instead, encourage people to avail themselves of whatever training programs and resources the company offers and to craft development plans that meet new expectations and their own needs. …

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