Knowledge Center


Article -> Effectively Coaching and Mentoring Employees

Date Added: April 2016

Investing time to effectively coach and mentor others is vital to succession planning and leadership development. Unfortunately, many organizations lack appropriate policies and processes to achieve this.

A study asking how senior leaders invest time developing others showed that 50 percent coach for skill development and 47 percent conduct one-on-one mentoring. Yet, the top three reasons for leadership disruption were lack of teamwork and collaboration, insufficient training and development, and senior leader micro-management and arrogance.

While time is invested with good intentions, coaching and mentoring are not working – possibly because senior leaders do not know how to effectively coach. One-on-one sessions become focused on daily activities, resulting in micro-managing vs. coaching and problem solving.

Coaching tips include structuring meetings to occur monthly or bi-weekly. Ask the person being coached to develop 2 to 4 personal development goals – not job-specific goals. Goals should relate to the four areas of holistic leadership: work, self, family and community.

Next, request the person take the “Strengths Finder” test (“StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath). This provides one’s top five strengths to begin discussing strengths and gifts. While strengths are a baseline, gifts positively impact the lives of others. Future sessions should include the goals and strengths; using examples from daily work as coaching examples of how to handle situations, and working toward gift discernment and future career planning.

Senior leaders have different coaching styles so developing agendas can result in more effective leadership development. Thinking of the arrogance issue mentioned above, senior leaders should recognize the best learning examples are from personal stories of failure or mistakes. Sadly, many leaders lack the humility to provide these examples, deferring to success stories and displaying arrogance.

Many believe the ultimate coaching goal is succession; however, it should be about helping individuals grow personally and professionally; assisting them to better understand their gifts, strengths, and passions; and aiding in their understanding of how they can positively impact others and change the world.

Our hope is they do this for our organization; and if not, we have encouraged them to become better humanitarians.

David Yeghiaian is committed to positively impacting the lives of others through faith, inspiration and leadership. Reach him at



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