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Managing, Coaching, or Mentoring?

Employee management is often used as a catch-all term for anything that has to do with training, skill building, or career development. But each of these three aspects of employee management needs to be looked at individually and the method used changes based on the desired end goals.

Managing: When people think training, managing is what they really might mean. There are jobs and tasks that need to be completed to keep a business running. When managing people to complete those tasks there are usually specific training and instructions needed and provided. The end goal is to have the task successfully completed and the needs of the company fulfilled. Generally, larger groups of people can be managed by one person because the instructions do not need to be individualized or personalized.

Coaching: Coaching someone does not involve just telling them what to do in a directive fashion. Rather than giving specific directions, the goal of coaching is to enable the person to learn and find their own answers. The coach is a facilitator as the employee works to identify the areas that could benefit from growth and improvement. The relationship between the coach and employee is collaborative as the employee learns to bring out the best in themselves to achieve objectives. The coaching relationship is usually centered on an individual’s performance in relation to the goals of the company.

Mentoring: There may be employees who will benefit from a mentor/mentee relationship with someone. Usually this person is a senior level executive outside the organization. With an eye towards career and even personal development, there is a small amount of concrete direction given or training involved, but there is discussion and advice that can be centered around career growth, personal growth, and evaluating different options in both these areas. The direction and advice given is less task oriented than managing and coaching and gives the employee insight into their career path and their company will benefit from that growth.

Each of these three aspects of employee management has its place. Recognizing when it is appropriate to be a manager, coach, or mentor can help you bring out the best in your workforce.

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