Four Reasons to Include Executive Coaching and Mentoring in your L&D Strategy

Two professionals engaging in a coaching and mentoring session

Gone are the days where executive coaches were exclusively reserved for billionaire CEOs like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.

Executive coaching and mentoring programs are increasingly being incorporated into organisational Learning and Development (L&D) strategies across the world.

In fact, between 2015 and 2019, estimated global coaching revenue grew by 21 per cent.

It’s no wonder why when you delve further into the research: studies prove that it delivers a high financial return on investment, along with a swathe of qualitative benefits for leaders in your workplace.

Below, we unpack these benefits further with Sarah McGregor, a subject matter expert for Professional and Continuing Education and certified coach and mentor.

Executive coaching and mentoring: what’s the difference?

According to Sarah, executive coaching and mentoring have the same purpose: helping leaders overcome a challenge, or achieve career goals or aspirations.

Where they differ is the method that each follows to achieve the desired outcome. Executive coaching employs a ‘questioning process’, while mentoring focuses on imparting wisdom and advice.

"Strictly speaking, coaching is about the art of asking powerful questions," Sarah says.

"When you’re coaching someone, you’re taking them through a questioning process that helps them unlock their thinking and move towards goals for the future.

"On the other hand, a mentor is someone who will share their experiences and knowledge to empower their mentee to take this information, and draw their own conclusions on how to achieve their goal."

Where mentoring has traditionally involved a more experienced and/or older individual mentoring someone less experienced and/or younger, the tables have begun to turn in recent years.

"We’re seeing a shift, because there are people who are younger mentoring more senior leaders because of their unique experiences and perspectives," she said.

The benefits of executive coaching and mentoring

All leaders — emerging through to C-suite — can benefit from executive coaching and mentoring, particularly in the post-COVID era, Sarah explains.

"The growing influence of technology, working in a global environment, working from home versus working in the office…a lot of people are struggling in this post-COVID era not only at work, but just in general.

"Coaching and mentoring can help people understand where they’re currently at, and help them set goals for their future and be more confident navigating and dealing with complexity at work."

The four key benefits of executive coaching and mentoring – improved performance, ease of implementation, building confidence and combatting isolation – offer four compelling reasons to include executive coaching and mentoring in your organisation’s L&D strategy.

1. Improve individual and organisational performance

The questioning process used by coaches is specifically designed to help leaders gain insight into areas for growth, along with any weaknesses or limitations that may be preventing their own, or their organisation’s success.

By building trusted mentor-mentee relationships, individuals can seek advice from someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ to achieve the best outcomes for a specific project or challenge they’re facing in the workplace, as well as tips on improving their own performance.

Another key reason executive coaching and mentoring improves performance is thanks to its ability to be customised, Sarah said.

"The benefit of coaching and mentoring is that it’s customised to the person, so you can really address areas that people find challenging.

"You can really build tangible outcomes through coaching and mentoring."

2. Easy to implement in the workplace

Unlike some other workplace learning and development tools which require complex frameworks and significant financial investment, executive coaching and mentoring programs are easy to implement within your organisation – particularly when you’ve got an education partner like Professional and Continuing Education guiding you through the process.

Executive coaching is just one of the many workforce strategy and planning services we offer, including to organisations like the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network (YNLHN).

Earlier this year, we were pleased to deliver a customised Executive Leadership Development program for YNLHN’s Executive team, which included two individual coaching sessions for each member, focused on helping them identify their strengths and barriers to success.

3. Build confidence

Mentors and coaches encourage leaders to talk about their concerns or limiting beliefs and help them overcome them – ultimately, building their confidence and developing their ability to become more self-aware, resilient, and capable leaders.

"I do a lot of work with leaders who are attempting to become more conscious and adaptive," Sarah says.

"For example, people who are looking to build their self-awareness, become more self-reflective, strengthen their decision-making abilities and learn how to better regulate their emotions, so they can become more resilient."

4. Combat executive isolation

It can be lonely at the top! The higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the fewer people who understand the weight of the responsibility your leadership team hold and its associated stress. For many leaders, as their relationship with their executive coach or mentor grows, it can also help to mitigate any feelings of isolation and loneliness.

We’d love to help you maximise the personal and professional potential of leaders and leadership teams within your organisation.

For more information about our workforce strategy and planning services – including customised education solutions – contact our Business Development team today.

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