Coaching and mentoring are two terms that have often been used interchangeably. Irrespective of the fact that the two are different in definition and application, they play almost similar roles as far as career development is concerned. Ideally, coaching and career mentoring have been found and proven as means via which mentors and coaches have used coordinated approaches in assisting both individuals as well as corporate clients to optimize their careers and general life potential (Parsloe 8). According to Parsloe (8), coaching is basically a process through which the client is taken through a learning process either expressly in formal classes or through observing the deeds and behavior of the coach in an environment in which the coach/ mentor and the clients interacts. In fact, coaching takes place in a manner that allows learning and career development to take place. In effect it greatly improves efficiency, effectiveness, and performance either immediately or in the Long run leading to career development and enhanced/ increased performance.
To be a successful coach, knowledge and understanding of the process as well as the variety of styles, skills, and techniques which are appropriate to the context in which the coaching takes place is inevitable (Anonymous Para. 2). In fact, coaching and mentoring shares almost similar objects all of which yield (by hypothesis) positive impetus in individuals and corporate career growth and development. This paper therefore presents a critical discussion of the held hypothesis that career Coaching is the only way to develop successful career paths.
Role of coaching in career development
From the definition (Parsloe 8), career coaching- whether it is carried out by professionals via paid for and organized classes/ tuition or via unorganized and gratuitous informal services or what is refereed to as philanthropic coaching- pragmatically plays a very important and positive role in the clients’ career development and growth. Irrespective of the fact that an individual and client have the liberty, independence, and total control of the direction that they intend their career paths to take, the role of career coaching and mentoring is critical in career development and growth (Parsloe 9). This argument is based on the underlying principle that human being are never complete thus requires the support of external sources to realize full potential. As a result, apart from an individual’s locus of control on matters relating to his or her career, external influence such as mentoring and coaching as well as the environmental great influence results from continued interaction.
Parsloe (8) refers to career coaching as either informal or formal interaction between individuals or parties help by one person to another and which results in positive influence on career growth and development via yielding a great change of the latter’s knowledge, approach to work, and working methods as well as the general way of thinking of an individual via presenting him or her with a rather differentiated career outlook/ ideas. Logically, career coaching involves varied activities depending on the form that it takes. Similarly therefore, its effects on the career motoring or coaching may vary depending on differentials in such approaches. While express coaching; the latter of which takes place in a formal and organized class takes place in the full conscious of the client thus likely to yield immediate and far reaching career development results, philanthropic coaching is rather an unconscious process. However, coaching and mentoring in whatever form impacts at least some form of change in the career of the client (Chandler Para. 2).
Professional coaching in developing successful career path
Professional coaching, and which is paid for, takes place in formalized and organized tuitions, classes, seminars, training symposiums among others. Johnston & Justin (123) cited career coaching or mentoring as one of the most effective tool of enhancing career development and growth. According to Parsloe (8) and supported by, Johnston & Justin (123) professional coaches – the latter of who are appointed basing on the needs of the client as well as the experience of the professional – provides the clients with the best impetus and ingredients to career development. Basically, a professional career coach or mentor is charged with responsibilities such as assisting and facilitating the client in finding out his or her career need, incentives, aspirations as well as his or her thought process, all with an aim of assisting the individual to make a lasting positive career change. Furthermore, professional coaches or mentors via their experience and questioning expertise and skills influences and enhances the client’s mental progressions and processes in order for him or her to identify solutions and actions instead of following a fully dictatorial approach to career development. In coaching, the mentor or the coach helps the client to establish his or her own career goals and objective based on a predetermined desired career path by the latter. In order to achieve positive result, professional coaching must be preceded by keen observation, listening, and a clear understanding of the client’s career current situation thus helping him to identify respective needs and appropriate coaching models to meet them (career analysis) (Anonymous Para. 6).
Similarly, a professional career coach has a variety of tools to influence a client’s career change. Consequently he or she creatively and innovatively makes use of such tools and methodologies which may include physical training, establishing formal or informal forums to facilitate and institute behavioral change as well as use of counseling and informal networking forums.
Ideally, professional career coaches or mentors serves an important role in maintaining the clients focus on the set career development path via encouraging him or her to remain committed to the desired course of action as well as aid in the development of a permanent individual growth and career change initiative. In respect to the same, the coach is charged with maintaining a positive respect and regard to the clients. In effect, he must remain highly supportive, corrective, and absolutely nonjudgmental to the client’s opinions, way of life and career goals irrespective of how vague they may sound. Instead, the coach concentrates on changing/swaying the client’s conceptualization of career development to the positive in the most professional way that is short of raising suspicion that the mentor is undermining the client (Anonymous Para. 5). For optimal efficiency however, it is important that the mentor ensures, while assisting the client to develop personal capabilities the mentorship process guarantee clients independence upon graduation as overdependence of coaching and mentorship would counteract the gains of the process. This is due to that fact that the client’s competency would be compromised by the withdrawer of the coach/ mentor support. Also, professional coaches usually have highly reliable, evaluation, and control measure to check on the progress made by the client in career growth development and change. Such measures points areas of failures in the process and suggest needs for corrective measures thus ensuring high degree of programs success (Johnston & Justin 124).
Apart from the formalized coaching/ mentorship in which leaders and manager in the organization acts as philanthropic coaches to the employees or even the other way round are particularly important for career growth and development. Irrespective of the fact that such coaching and mentorship may take place in informal forums and social interaction by such groups (Parsloe 8), their results in career development and growth on the part of the client are mainly positive. In addition, managers can organize formal coaching schedules, training sessions, seminars, and other organized platforms within the organization to offer career coaching and mentorship programs; all of which have the potential to produce positive result in the individual or corporate career development
According to Maday quoted in Chandler (Para. 5) coaching provided with an intention of career development and client engagement is a vital tool in the organizational human capital development. The latter agues that coaching assists in the creation of a mutual benefiting relationship between the coach, organization, and the client (employees). This is particularly because while coaching helps in enhancing career growth and development on the part of the employee the organization results from efficiency, effectiveness and high productivity that career development leads to. Consequently, coaching for career development helps in making employees feel appreciated, and supported a well as entrenching confidence in them thus leading to motivation and high performance.
Coaching for career development has to be well coordinated and powerful to be effective, according to Maday (Chandler Para. 7). As a result, effectiveness in coaching involves professional coaches deliberately and in collaboration with the clients connecting career objectives of specific employees (mainly the need for high career success and achievement, employees career satisfaction, and fulfillment among others) to the overall organizational goals mainly increased profitability, sales as well as enhanced performance for increased profitability thus coaches employees to enhance personal career development with overall organization goals in mind. According to Chandler (Para. 8) coaching with a career development as the core objective draws a lot of engagement on the part of the parties involved thus making them develop a permanent desire to work towards achievement of higher career goals.
However, career coaching does not always yield positive result in career development and growth on the part of the client. Factors such as the method of coaching employed the attitude of the clients towards the coach/mentor and his approach may either lead to positive influence on the clients’ career development or be counteractive on such effects (Johnston & Justin 123). Similarly, career development is a multifaceted, lengthy, and involving process that involves diverse activities and procedures. In fact, coaching or mentorship is just but one approach to career development and growth and not the only approach. In fact, personal initiative to career development, formal education and training and studies as well as individual research on career matters are viable, effective, and basic alternatives for career development. Also, career coaching that fails to address the specific need of a client’s career development and growth needs may not be effective in the achievement of desired coaching goals. To be effective therefore the coach fundamental role is to seek specific career goals, objectives, and aspirations hence proceed to develop a coaching/ mentorship program that suits such needs.
In conclusion, coaching forms one of the most effective and critical tools in the development of human capital via fostering career growth and development. In fact, coaching at times referred to as mentorship has the effect of assisting the clients identify their career aspirations and goals, establish positive relationship with the client to create an environment in which the mentor can influence positive change on the part of the client all with the aim of influencing positive career growth and development. In effect, positive results of coaching are mutually beneficial both to the employee and the organization. However, it is not usually successful in bringing forth positive career developments especially if there are faults in the coaching approach used. Similarly, coaching is not a sole approach to developing successful career paths but one of the viable such approaches as personal leadership – initiative, formal education and career research among others.
Anonymous. “Executive Career Coaching: Providing Solutions to Succession Planning Challenges”. Free Online Articles Directory, 2006. Web.
Chandler J. Lana. “Coach for Career Development and Engagement”. CUNA Councils, 2008. Web.
Johnston, Fowler., & Justin, O’Gorman. “Mentoring functions: An examination of the perceptions of mentors and mentees” Australian Journal of Psychology, 2003 Supplement, Vol. 55, p123-124.
Parsloe, Eric. “The Manager as Coach and Mentor”. Coaching and Mentoring Network, 1999. Web.