I've been talking A LOT recently about Coaching and Mentoring over on my YouTube channel. I've had some great feedback on my recent videos about these topics, but I've had a few questions from clients recently about 'what's the difference between coaching and mentoring?' So here it is.
Not sure of the difference between mentorship and coaching? But do you suspect you’d get further if you understood the difference - and how each could fast track your career?
Today, we’re talking about the difference between coaching and mentoring.
What is Coaching?
For me, coaching is all about being an outsider who helps people get strategic about their careers.
It’s about asking the right questions, helping clients find their own answers and get clearer on what they want and then helping them brainstorm about what it will take to reach those goals. Simply put, I just want to make sure my clients get there faster and with fewer mistakes. There are more formal definitions of coaching, and if you google ‘coaching definition’ you’ll be welcome to half a million pages. But in the 2500 hours of coaching I’ve done mostly with women who work in male dominated fields - that’s the definition that works best for my clients. It’s also about challenge - as I can help you win the race, but we need to make sure it’s a race worth winning and even competing in.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is about a person who has a specific skill helping grow someone else’s skills in that area.
Ideally, you’d have both a coach and a mentor - and with the coaching clients I work with - we ensure you get a range of mentors in the very skills you need to build. So for example, we may work on developing your relationships with people who seem to be great at presentations, or have a technical skill you’d to develop or simply have led teams with a style you’d like to emulate. In the programmes run for companies to get more women into senior leadership, we are very careful in the way we pair mentors and mentees as you need to be focused on what the mentee wants to learn - but also how to ensure it also benefits the mentor. That’s the only way the relationship will grow long after the programme is officially finished. But the good news? You don’t need a formal mentoring programme to approach people yourself - more tips of which you can get on our download.
As you can see coaching vs. mentoring roles ARE different, but BOTH vital for getting you the career you want.
I’ve created 5 Mentoring Tips for Beginners that is the best way to introduce mentoring into your day-to-day working life I’ve given this advice to 100s of clients, and it’s the easiest way to start.
I’ve got a whole playlist dedicated to the Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring on my YouTube channel, please have a browse and let me know what you think.
Find out exactly how to approach a mentor. The video covers the questions to ask a mentor when you approach mentors at work. I’m a true advocate for men mentoring women - especially in male-dominated fields. I’m Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris, founder of inclusiq. I’ve spent 15 years working with ambitious women and mentoring definitely helps them succeed! I’m going to explain how to ask for mentorship when you’re a woman talking to a man. Follow the advice, and you’re sure to get a mentor.
GET A MENTOR IN 5 STEPS: http://bit.ly/mentor5steps
Today, we’re going to talk about not just how to be more confident, but more importantly how to put confidence in context and crucially how to respond when someone tells you that to succeed, you “just need to be more confident in yourself!”
Confidence is an issue for virtually every coaching client I have and most people at the events where I speak, but perhaps not in ways you’d imagine. Surprisingly, it’s not that everyone lacks confidence, it’s often that we don’t respond well to confidence in certain groups. Additionally, blaming a lack of confidence allows companies to overlook certain people because they don’t exhibit confidence in the ways we expect. You know; the person who talks up at all the meetings, volunteers to lead presentations, the person who bullishly takes credit, even for other people’s work!
If we continue to only define confidence in the ‘go-get ‘em’ traits, we all lose out. Those behaviours, while initially inspirational can be ultimately destructive. Instead, rethinking how we define confidence has changed the game for so many of my clients, who go on to negotiate big jobs, taken on projects that would have scared them and stand up for themselves and people they respect with more skill, than they would have thought possible.
And if you read to the end, you’ll find out why when it comes to being more confident, it might be time for you to go through a ‘re-brand’.
So let’s get to it.
1: Agree confidence takes on many guises.
When I wrote ‘Love your C-Word: Winning the Workplace Battle Between Confidence and Competence’. I discovered a wide body of research that shows introverts, people from more communal cultures and, in particular, women of colour are as ambitious and driven as the people who have traditionally defined what confidence looks like - that is when it’s displayed by extroverted able-bodied white men from better-off backgrounds.
However, when people from other groups demonstrate confidence, that is knowing their value; they’re too often called ‘aggressive’, ‘angry’ or ‘fiery’ amongst other judgmental labels. In my work with organisations, I have yet to hear a senior white man called ‘feisty’, my personal favourite. No, his confidence is interpreted as ‘passion’ or ‘presence’ or even ‘commitment to the cause’. ‘Fiesty’ is what you call small troublesome animals; the kind that make a lot of noise and have a lot of energy, but no real power.
The first step to becoming more confident yourself is to acknowledge that confidence comes in many shapes and sizes and it may not look like what we have come to expect; which I’ll be discussing with other examples.
2: Recognise the differences between confidence and competence.
The second way to develop more confidence is by recognising it’s not a blanket term. It’s better to compartmentalise in what exact skill people lack confidence. People often say ‘I need more confidence’, but if we unpeel where exactly they feel they're failing, it’s often something really specific like talking up in meetings or leading presentations. Let’s be honest, you don’t lack confidence in every single interaction you have across the workplace, just some settings. Unpeel that onion further and you can get more specific. It isn’t small meetings of 2 or 3 people or even in team meetings with peers, it’s often with a certain group of stakeholders or a specific or type of audience. This unpeeling is vital, as it helps you see what your lack of confidence actually is - it’s most often a lack of exposure to that group.
Knowing what experiences exactly you are missing is great, as that’s the only way you can find ways to plug that gap. As you can see, there’s a big difference between feeling like you’re ‘not a confident person’ and the reality of being someone ‘who could use more experience presenting to groups of 10 or or more external clients at one time’. The second description is far easier for you to pinpoint what exactly you need to do, which is the first step to seeking the exposure you need.
3: Redefine confidence for yourself.
When I interviewed 3 dozen senior leaders for Love Your C-Word, it became clear that we have a narrow definition of what we expect confidence to look like. When I asked how people knew others were confident, people often talk about fairly stereotypical behaviours; It’s often the talking over others, the putting yourself ahead of others, negotiating for yourself first. It’s time for a re-brand, as society and certainly those leaders, thought that type of confidence is destructive and not at all attractive to most people.
A big part of confidence, but one we too overlook, is much more about our trust in the system to do right by us, to be fair and equal. Given we live in an imperfect world, where some people get ahead much faster than others, it shouldn’t be surprising if certain groups of people don’t appear to have as much confidence. The truth is that if they don’t have a lot of evidence that people like them get to the top, they may not be lacking in confidence - but more ‘adaptively realistic’ about their chances of success. Instead, the definition of confidence and the behaviours we expect to see should widen.
For example, the first woman who asks to work flexibly on her team is often making a risky move, as she’s likely to be judged by others. She’s being confident. Similarly, the person newly in a wheelchair who requests his favourite restaurant provides a ramp over their entrance stairs is not being difficult, he’s being confident. The Black man who advocates for greater racial pay transparency shouldn’t just be grateful for his role, he’s being confident. What I find is that when people can redefine confidence for themselves, they can own ‘confidence’ better. We need to widen our definitions to better match their own: like a willingness to have risky conversations, by putting their team’s advancement above their own ego, and by showing a sense of authenticity by being willing to talk about mistakes.
These are the kinds of things that the audiences I speak with can get behind, because they are the definitions they more widely identify with! Confidence shouldn’t feel like a problem you need to fix, instead it’s about the questions we ask and how we interpret the responses. If this sounds like something you’d like for your audience, book a call with me here: http://tiny.cc/gpgjhz
Thank for joining my mission to re-define confidence as we know it. I’ll look forward to seeing our collective results.
Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris.
If you’ve not yet completed a STAKEHOLDER MAP... stop and go back and read PART 1 ‘Stakeholder mapping techniques' first.
So you’ve got your map… and you know your stakeholders. Now you need to know how to use their INFLUENCE to progress your career. I’m going to help you understand stakeholder impact that will improve how you’re influencing others at work.
I’ll include a stakeholder analysis examples that will help you improve stakeholder engagement. A stakeholder engagement plan/stakeholder management plan really does make stakeholder relationship management much easier.
Each of the people you’ve drawn onto your stakeholder map has their own stakeholder map too! The way you build YOUR map and circle of influence wider is by answering ‘What is the relationship between all these people’?
Sometimes you’ll get what I like to call ‘slow to warm up’ people. We all have these people. The ones who are difficult, the ones who don’t get your awesome jokes, even the ones who’ve seen some of your mistakes. These people are not lost causes. Yes, it’s going to take more time, but one of the best ways to get to them is not by doing a song and a dance for them yourself, but involving other people in one of two ways or what I call ‘Stealth Influence’.
I’ve got two simple ways that use either your influence or other people’s… and trust me, these techniques work!
If you want to advance your career, you need to know WHO can influence your career, and HOW they influence each other.
1. Get someone who they like or admire to sing your praises
One client had a detractor, John who was dubious about her appointment to the firm. She didn’t waste much of her time impressing him. Instead she worked to impress the people who influenced John. That meant that it was harder for John to hold a negative judgement of her when he’d hear ‘Sarah’s a breath of fresh air!’ or ‘You wouldn’t believe the great idea Sarah came up with in our last meeting!’ John eventually got on board and they worked better together, not because he loved her himself, but it just became harder to ignore all the praise she earned from colleagues he did like.
2. By helping “Mr. Slow to Warm up” look good to their own stakeholders
Credit the good ideas they do have publicly. People love getting credit, and if you can be the person who sees their genius, they’ll likely thaw a bit with time. This isn’t about lying, but finding the kernel of a good idea out of their lips when you hear it, and passing it on to senior people as their idea.
All of this influence by stealth is very powerful stuff… and I’ve seen many promotions won by to this technique.
Set yourself a goal of raising your scores with people, even just a single point at a time. You’ll get that promotion in less time than you think - simply by being strategic about how to approach the right stakeholders.
I wish you every success in your stealth influencing.
It does take work.. But I promise it will be worth it… because remember … no one cares about your career as much as you do.
If all that stealth influencing is getting you closer to that promotion, you’ll want to download my guide ‘How to get a Promotion in 8 Steps’. It’s jam-packed with all the advice that’s helped 100s of clients get the careers they want.
Toxic workplace behaviours emerge in many workplaces - and if you’re working closely with toxic coworkers - it can be hard to stay motivated!
Today I’ve got three ways that will stop that bad behaviour from toxic work colleagues in its tracks.
I am Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris, founder of inclusiq and I’m talking about toxic work behaviours and how to deal with those toxic people at work.
Working in toxic workplace environment can be challenging. First thing to understand is that toxic behaviour, whether it’s inappropriate jokes, bullying or even harassment, is often the effect of overconfidence.
Let’s be clear, it doesn’t mean your toxic colleague is full of self-esteem. It just means they’ve not been challenged on this behaviour before, because most of us let it slide, so they become overconfident.
By the end of the video, you’ll know exactly how to handle a toxic environment at work and deal with toxic people at work.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data