As a Leadership Coach, I am often asked to support business leaders and work with them to guide them through the challenges and opportunities within their executive position. It is rewarding to see these executives uncover the areas that cause blockages in their level of leadership effectiveness. Additionally, I often have the privilege of working with them using NLP (neuro-lingustic-programming) to discover the pathways that will help them overcome these blocks in an effort to become even more effective as leaders in business and industry.
There are times, however, that individuals ask me to work with them less in a coaching role and more as a business mentor – helping them come up with tactics that will allow them to be more effective in running their organization. While I am honored that professionals ask me to help them with these important decisions, it has become clear to me that there remains a great deal of confusion regarding the role of the coach vs. the job of a business mentor.
As a coach, my goal is to support the leader emotionally and give them the tools they need to move through the challenges they come up against in their leadership role. I help them discover the areas of their performance and personal life that make them an effective leader and those attributes that might be holding them back. This enables them to show up fully as the leader they seek to be. Through coach training, my personal experience in leadership roles and almost two decades of working with leaders, I understand the challenges many leaders face today. As a coach, I am able to work at a deeper level with executives to enhance their leadership effectiveness, performance and career progression within their specific organizational context. This may include development and integration of specific mindsets and behaviors as well as a focus on pre-identified requirements for their position. In the coach role, I am able to bring not only an enhanced range of skill-sets that can be tapped but more importantly my goal is to assist the leader with the tools they need to transform their mindset with new perspectives.
By comparison, the focus of business mentoring is more broadly related to the general work life and job requirements. The business mentor is typically well-versed within the specific industry of the mentee. Executive and business mentoring provides direct guidance and direction in how to think about specific business issues, and competitiveness by using an exchange of experiences and scenarios that look at issues strategically.
While there are certainly some areas in which the coach and mentor roles might cross over as they seek to develop the whole leader the focus of each is very different in scope as they seek to create a well-rounded leader.
It is important to point out that there are individuals who try to take on both the role of business mentor and coach; however, I would argue that this practice is not always in the best interest of the leader who is receiving their guidance. When the role of the coach is fully honored, there is a clearly defined safe space for a leader to come to for the support they need from a coach.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) provides distinct guidelines regarding the role of the coach, as well as specific core competencies that help define the coaching process. Utilizing a coach who has ICF credentialing is a way to truly ensure that an executive is receiving benefits of coach as they seek to move to the next level in their career path.
Curious about how a leadership coach may be able to support you or are you interested in learning more about the ICF credentialing process? Please feel free to contact us at the Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP (ALCN)
Blog by Helen Attridge, Founder & President of ALCN, International Trainer & Leadership Coach.