The phrases “Coach”, “Trainer”, “Mentor” can often be used synonymously; however their actual roles are indeed unique. While one person can serve as more than one of these roles, there are some basic differences in what should be expected from each other and how corporate could benefit from those characteristics. We’ll cover each role.
A coach is usually brought on to fix or develop one particular problem. They often (though not always) work with a group of people, much as they would if they were a traditional basketball or baseball coach. A coach’s biggest job must be identifying the underlying issues. For example, an underperforming sales division may have everything to do with a local recession as opposed to a complacent sales team.
A coach doesn’t need to dive into every intricacy and complication in all departments, but there should be some level of analysis. Theoretically, anyone can be a coach in the right circumstances, but employers tend to bring in outside parties so roles are separated. It is surely difficult to consider your CEO as a coach as they are referred as a detached figurehead. Plus, external course bring a fresh perspective that can shed light on the forces at play.
Qualified coaches now are more likely hired to maximize the potential of executives. They normally have set time limits and work on a short time basis, though the time limits are different for every company. Experts say that ongoing coaching needs specific goals (e.g., raise productivity or revenue by x amount, etc.) to truly evaluate if a coach is contributing to the development of a company.
Can be considered as a teacher for the corporate world, a trainer doesn’t need to motivate or boost an employee’s potential, only to pass on knowledge about pre-defined subject. A trainer and a coach may share some characteristics in common, but a trainer’s objective is to find the best way for learner to master a particular skill set or concept.
Regarding of the training’s nature, trainers are typically internal employees of the company. They may inform new compliance regulations, or show a new employee how to operate the phone system. If a company uses an external trainer, it’s usually for a new technology. For example, a company wants to instruct employees the new features of the updated software.
Trainers need to be recognized as experts in their field to be effective. However, trainers have a tendency to forget that they can see the subject matter in every different light than those who are trying to learn it from the ground-up. They must be able to start with the basics and then tailor the rest of the session based on the needs of the people in the proverbial classroom.
The relationship shared between mentor and their mentee could be much complicated than the other two can have. Though having a less formal role than coach and trainer, they hold an essential part to influence learner more effective than either of the two combined. The relation is meant to be a professional one that bridges the gap into the personal. This is a difficult line to walk, but the right mentor can work with boundaries without crossing them.
What separate a mentor from the rest are both the scope and the time. Mentor gets to know a person on a deeper level, and they stick with the commitment until they are no longer needed. They act as a role model, mental supporter as well as career guide through effective communication and trusted relationship.
A good mentor is generally less focused on the company’s goals and more concerned about the mentee’s personal ones. In fact, mentors tend to enrich their mentee with different perspectives if they come from different backgrounds. The main purpose of this is to establish employee’s character and to invest in their overall success.
Eliminating this interaction a mentor and their mentee share, one will turn into a much more formal role (e.g., a trainer or coach.) Mentors work best for people who may not always respond well to authority, but will benefit from someone who can meet them on their level.
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