Lori distinguishes coaching from mentoring. Mentoring involves seeking out advice from someone who has expertise. In contrast, coaching involves guiding an individual to their own solutions by asking questions, listening and providing focus to the conversation.
Coaching is goal-oriented, and aims to break down barriers placed by people, work and yourself. It aims to push you out of your comfort zone in an effort to move towards a new direction.
One of guests at the event bravely volunteered for a one-on-one ten-minute coaching session.
First, Lori had the participant establish the goal of their session by identifying a problem they wanted solved. Then Lori probed into underlying problems contributing to this issue. Lori asked the participant to come up with their own ideas that could contribute to reach their goal. The entire time, Lori remained neutral and acted as a guide for the individual.
Coaching usually requires a confidential one-hour meeting every two weeks, for up to six months. The progress depends on the individual, their commitment to the process and their personal barriers.
Here are some coaching tips from Lori that can be integrated into a mentorship relationship.
1. Become a great listener by focusing on what is being said or not being said, by looking at non-verbal cues like body language.
2. Don’t become distracted from the conversation with your own internal thoughts, or the external environment.
3. Ask focused questions and establish the topic of conversation at the beginning.
4. Guide others to explore their own solutions to problems, before offering advice of your own.
Special thank you to MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Communications Studies program for sponsoring treats, and to Remedy Café for hosting our event.
Alison Richards is currently studying public relations at MacEwan University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from MacEwan.