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The Context of Coaching

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In the wake of this, I have become increasingly interested in mentoring/coaching as a longitudinal resource readily available in most work organizations and communities for promoting deep renewal and learning throughout organizational systems. The most profound way to learn skills, culture, and values is directly from other human beings who already possess those qualities.

A “mentor/coach” is a trusted role model, advisor, wise person, friend, mensch, steward, or guide. A coach works with emerging human and organizational forces to tap new energy and purpose, to shape new visions and plans, and to generate desired results.  A mentor/coach is someone trained and devoted to guiding others into increased competence, commitment, and confidence. Coaches play many roles to achieve future-oriented results— career pathing, personal and professional renewal, training high performance teams, and providing informal leadership for transition management.

Mentoring/coaching is devoted to evoking and sustaining resilient persons and human systems. Anchored in the human reservoirs of mature people, mentoring strengths are deep, natural qualities within the mentor/coach. Mentors function not merely with “skills,” but with personal “mastery” stemming from their own self-esteem, integrity and experience. Coaches model ways to thrive in whatever environment they are in. They connect present realities to future opportunities. More specifically, a mentor:

  • Models mastery in professional areas that others want to obtain;
  • Guides others to high performance in emerging scenarios;
  • Advocates, criticizes, and extends corporate culture and wisdom;
  • Endorses and sponsors others without having power or control over them;
  • Facilitates professional development and organizational system development.

For the past ten to fifteen years there has been considerable interest in “mentors” or “coaches”—among human resource directors, organization development consultants, and throughout corporate America. I believe that most coaching efforts that have been tried have lacked a conceptual framework for designing and guiding mentor/mentee training systems. Mentor/coaching programs are often reactions to organizational problems rather than proactive designs informed by knowledge of the art of mentoring and coaching. Coaching is conceptually derived from the knowledge of developmental psychology, adult learning theories, and human systems theories, applied to the practical issues facing persons within organizations throughout our culture.

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