Coaching And Mentoring High-Performance Employees
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Coaching And Mentoring High-Performance Employees

There may be several high-performance employees in any organization awaiting “discovery” and whose potential the company might not currently be tapping. This is a waste of highly valued human capital.

With the ongoing COVID-instigated disconnect, the gulf between high performers and their advisors, supervisors, and managers has widened. This further reduces the potential to train and groom promising talent. One way to bridge that gap, between the discovery and utilization of talent, is to train high-performers through coaching and mentoring.

In this article, I show you how strong blended training programs can make such initiatives even more efficient and effective.

What Do Coaching And Mentoring Mean?

Coaching is typically a task-oriented relationship between high-performance employees and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). As opposed to continuous, generic encouragement and feedback, offered by the likes of supervisors and line managers, coaches provide intensive specialized training and guidance to high-performance employees.

Mentoring is a process (as opposed to a task) usually undertaken by long-standing company employees, who train, guide, and groom high-performance employees over a period of time. Usually, it is an opportunity for company veterans to “show the ropes,” with an expectation that the high-performance employee may one day fill the shoes of the veteran.

Coaching and mentoring employees can help fill gaps in early to mid-career, mid-career, and senior-level positions in an organization. They are both viable strategies to train employees with extraordinary potential and convert them into a powerful asset for the company.

How Exactly Do Coaching And Mentoring Help Organizations And High-Performance Employees?

Well-coached and mentored employees don’t just gain a sense of purpose, they also deliver performance and productivity boosts.

Here are 5 specific benefits that coaching and mentoring deliver:

  1. Identify star employees and groom them for future leadership/specialist roles
  2. Prevent high-performance employees from prematurely exiting a firm
  3. Build a foundation for continuous learning
  4. Create opportunities for succession planning
  5. Deliver enhanced ROI for corporate L&D spending

At the end of the day, these positive factors combine to deliver one overriding benefit to the organization—an improved bottom line!

What Blended Training Strategies, Tools, And Resources Can Coaches And Mentors Leverage To Train High-Performance Employees?

Coaching and mentoring high-performance employees require:

  • The use of a combination of soft skills, such as empathizing, listening, motivating, and encouraging.
  • It also means leading, demonstrating, correcting, challenging, modifying (incorrect behavior or understanding), pushing, and demanding excellence.

Mentors and coaches can deliver all these aspects of training by using a blend of:

  • In-person, Instructor-Led Training (ILT)
  • Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
    Based on the current scenario, where most employees are working from home (triggered by COVID-19), this mode is the only feasible alternative to the high impact of face-to-face interactions. To leverage this, the selection of the VILT platform that can support the desired degree of interactions is critical in ensuring the success of coaching and mentoring programs.
  • Self-directed approaches
    These include self-paced online trainings delivered as mobile learning. These components of blended delivery are becoming more significant and feasible options to support remote employees.

Specific blended training strategies [1], which most high-performance employees respond well to, include:

  1. One-on-one, in-person discussions/chats
  2. Short exchanges through texting or instant messaging
  3. Webinars for groups of high-performance employees
  4. Frequent social media touchpoints (for example, impromptu and on-demand outreach when a high-performance employee requires immediate guidance or assistance with a work-related issue)
  5. Online resources, like how-to videos or personal case studies, that high-performance employees can access anytime
  6. Coach/mentor-led group workouts and problem-solving sessions
  7. Role-playing and scenario-based learning [2]
  8. Simulation, gamification, and case studies
  9. Constant surveys and feedback (to enable coaches and mentors to modify or tweak their training approaches)

In delivering this blend of training, coaches and mentors play the role of instructors. They leverage a range of approaches, including mLearning, microlearning, and customized training plans, to deliver fulfilling coaching/mentoring experiences.

What Types Of High-Performance Roles Can These Blended Training Strategies Address?

Coaches and mentors may use these blended training strategies [3] for almost any type of role. These include:

  1. Refining technical skills of front-line manufacturing staff
  2. Helping supervisors and line managers enhance their people skills
  3. Polishing the skills of talented employees in finance, business management, and accounting
  4. Equipping gifted employees with advanced IT and production technology skills
  5. Training customer-facing employees on the subtleties of customer relationship and client management
  6. Grooming promising managers to fill future leadership roles

As you can see, blended coaching and mentoring-based learning strategies can help high-performance employees enhance their soft skills, technical abilities, people-management skills, and more. Wherever, across the organization, there is a need to engage and refine the skills of high-performance staff, coaches and mentors will find that blended training is a useful tool to deploy.

I hope this article gives you the required insights that you can use to leverage a blended approach to coach and mentor your high-performance employees.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

References: 

[1] ILT-VILT and Blended Learning

[2] A 5-Step Plan To Create A Captivating Scenario-Based Corporate Training

[3] Why Should You Adopt Blended Learning, and How Can You Design It to Ensure Success?

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