For those seeking to engage the services of an external business coach, or those who are considering becoming a coach or mentor themselves and providing business coaching to others within their organisation, one question which will be extremely pertinent and come up many times will be: what exactly makes an effective coach and mentor?
Knowing the answer to this question will play a key part in either choosing a business coach, or the areas which they need to concentrate on in order to develop into an effective coach and mentor in the near future.
There are a number of key attributes which are vital for a person to be an effective and valuable business coach and mentor to others. For starters, they need to have a high degree of knowledge regarding business matters which are related to the issues currently being encountered by those to whom they are providing coaching and mentoring. If they do not have such knowledge, how can they provide any sort of meaningful advice and support? It is also extremely beneficial for the coach to have experience in such matters; either experiencing the same or similar problems themselves during a previous career, or working through such issues with other individuals in the past.
This can be one of the downsides of managers who take a course and qualification like the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring in order to become a coach and mentor to their employees. Whilst they may have a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills regarding all manner of different business issues, if they have no prior experience in helping others to overcome problems then their efficacy at getting others to overcome their metaphorical barriers which are preventing them reaching their maximum effectiveness in the workplace will be limited. A professional external coach who has many years of experience in finding resolution to such matters will often prove to be far more effective and successful.
An effective coach and mentor must also be a good listener who is able to listen and understand fully the issues being explained and experienced by the individual. The coach must have certain personal characteristics which serve to facilitate the coaching and mentoring sessions, making the individual comfortable and able to talk freely about the issues, but at the same time being firm enough to keep the session on track at all times and to bring about the desired outcome.