This webinar looks at the development goals of a coaching relationship and successful mentoring relationship alike both in the initial term and then the longer-term.  As a business mentor with years of experience in coaching sessions, Krishna Chodipilli takes viewers through the difference between a good mentor and an effective coach. From interpersonal skills overall to skill development of the mentee, the goal here is personal development on all sides. This in turn no longer benefits just one side, but provides a significant difference to all teams.

Role of an Agile Coach Vs Mentor: Webinar

Instead of waiting, let’s kick off. I know most of you have come for this webinar to learn a bit more of the difference between agile coaching and mentoring.    Let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Krishna Chodipilli. I’m a life coach by trait. On the other note, I also have a title called the Chief Storyteller. My job is to tell you stories, stories which will make sense and see if it helps you in your journey. And these are my stories. And some of the stories have stolen from some of the organizations I’ve worked in. And they are some stories which I was able to witness some amazing stuff. And they are some stories not the same. I will be sharing some of those. And on top of that, if you want to know more and you want to reach me, you can reach out to me on LinkedIn or drop a note to [email protected] I’ll be more than happy to reach back to some of my colleagues if I can, but I’ll be more than happy to read your emails and get back to you.

About Leadership Tribe and Leadership Development

A little bit about Leadership Tribe, the organization I work for, this organization works with various domains. For example, they work within the medical industry or the finance organizations or even consultancies, where we help the organizations to improve the way of working. It can be a child or it can be anything that matters for the organization.

Okay. What do you mean by that, Krishna? So if you want to understand a little bit more what is outside agile, you can stay back till the end of the webinar and we’ll be able to identify if there is something. If not, let’s try to discover what is that. So we provide facilitators. At some times, we also help train the organization leadership, where we provide them tools, leadership tools.

Let me do a quick test. Can you give me an example of a leadership tool? Type it in the chat window, please. Let’s try to see that. What is an example of a leadership tool? What is an example of a leadership tool? Type it in the chat window. “Visual facilitation.” Okay. What else? “Provide direction team to team to achieve results. Delegation. Decision-making. Negotiation skills. Strategic planning. Thinking. Mindset. Listener. Conflict management. People management. Listening.”

Learning from Personal Experience

One should have the mindset to understand what is happening around me. And depending on the situation, as a leader, a coach, or an individual, you will be using different skills or competencies. And that should start with the problem. So we help coach/train those leadership how to have that mindset, where you can see things what they are happening.

Some leaders, what they do is they tend to exaggerate things more than they should be. And some leaders, even if the house is on fire, “It’s okay.” But even in those two situations, things can go absolutely pear-shaped. How to look at things in a proper way? What are the tools you can use? For example, facilitation skills, coaching skills, mentoring skills, skills or advanced facilitation skills where you use at the strategic level. We teach organizations. On top of that, whatever we teach, we learn. We bring it back to the community in form of webinars, which we do. On top of that, we also do public training programs. And the underlying intent is to give knowledge and see how we can uplift the leadership in the community. That’s what we do.

Mentoring Programmes and Partners

We have various partners who work with us. I am one of the partners for Leadership Tribe. We’ve got Lindi, an amazing life coach from South Africa. We got a colonel from the Indian Army working as a leadership coach and a trainer and a consultant. We got Temi, one of those amazing personalities who understands about the lean portfolio management using Kanban and how to drive, how to eliminate waste and improve quality in the way we are doing. And Ming, who comes from China, Wuhan. She’s been one of those amazing strategic leadership coaches who works in England as well as in China. These are some of the people who we work with. And if you have any questions relating to any of the topics and if you find these people are the subject matter experts, reach out to us at [email protected]

It’s not only me, there are other people as well. So you can reach out too.    All right. A little social contract just to understand how are we going to work together. We are going to learn together. We’re going to use the chat for the panelists and the attendees so everyone can see the questions or your responses. By the way, this webinar is being recorded and it’s being streamed to multiple channels (including on our blog). We also have a Q&A sessions. If you have any questions, which we’re all passionate to learn about, I’ll be more than happy to answer.

Does not mean that I will be able to answer all your questions as we have a time box limit. So we will try to prioritize and see what we can do. If I cannot, there is still an opportunity to drop a note to [email protected] and we can get back to you.

Agile Coaching in a Short Period of Time

This webinar is for an hour and a half. This means between 60 to 90 minutes. If I’ve been baptizing you in the name of agile and coaching, whatever you can think of, and you learn so much and you don’t have any questions, we can end in 60 minutes if you want it. At the same time, I am quite curious to learn a bit about your journeys, the tools and skills. What has been working for you? The things which have not been working as well. I’m looking forward for that.    So on that note, let me stop sharing for a second and ask you a quick question. What is the one emotion you’re bringing into the webinar right now? Type it in the chat window, please. What is the emotion you have? You got excitement, curiosity, inquisitive, curious, open thoughts, curiosity, great expectations, curious. Anxiety, curious, learning coaching, openness learning, open to learn.

This webinar, we’re going to look at coaching and mentoring in detail. We’ll also look at what are the other skills agile coaches need. As a coach and as enterprise coach and a trainer, I help organizations with the new ways of working. So some of the organizations can be with two people, a startup with two people, or even a one person. And some of the organizations, they have 650,000 people working with them. So I work anything in between. By doing this, you will be learning what I have learned and what I’ve experienced. And top of this, if you have questions, I’ll be more than happy to. I’m curious as well. That’s my emotion I’m bringing to the table.

What does a good coach mean to you? Coaching and Mentoring

So what is coaching according to you? If you can try to define it in less than five to six words or one word, that will be amazing. Type it in the chat window, please. Coaching according to you. “Enterprisal in creating. Getting people to bring out their full potential.” I love that answer. “Guiding them to their rights.” Okay. “Passing on needed expertise. Making people successful. Teaching. Empowering. Sharing knowledge. Teaching. Share my experience and guide them. Energy unleasher.” Whoop. Okay. “Supporting. Explaining subject to the group of people. It depends. Jokes apart leading people to come.” I love [Sandheep’s] answer as well, it depends. “Asking the right question. Imparting knowledge, empowering, guiding. All lovely answers.    Some of them are very close to coaching and some of them close to mentoring and some of them very close to teaching as well. But underlying principles of coaching, mentoring, teaching, they… Similar.

Let’s look at them. So when we talk about coaching and mentoring, they are development approaches and they are useful. One-to-one conversations to improve the individual’s skills, or it can be used one to many as team coaching to improve the knowledge or work performance or something to unleash their potential in the future. It’s about way forward for coaching and mentoring as well.

There is a possibility to draw the distinctions between coaching and mentoring. But in practice, the two terms are used interchangeably. So the focus of the webinar is on coaching because most of the skills they apply to mentoring as well. They’re similar but different. So let’s dig into what is coaching.

When we talk about coaching, there is a lack of general agreement among coaching professionals who I work with about a precise definition. There are some generally agreed characteristics of coaching. In organizations, it’s essentially a non-directive form of development. It focuses on improving the performance and developing an individual. There are many factors including the emphasis on performance of the work. And it’s a skilled activity which should be delivered by people who are trained to do so. This can be line managers, other trained in coaching skills. It can be anyone who understand what coaching is. And for that, someone needs to understand what is it about and what is in it for me as a coach.

For dating, coaching is used. We have dating coaches. We have financial coaches. We have health and wellness coaches. We have education coaches. We have life coaches. We have relationship coaches, sports coaches, vocal coaches. We also have writing coaches. There are different types of coaching professionals. So the primary focus is to improve the performance and help the individual to grow better than what they are. That’s about coaching in a nutshell. By the way, I usually teach 60 hours on what coaching is. Giving you what coaching is less than 30 seconds or minute, I’m being very unfair. But this is in a very high level.

Let’s move to mentoring. Mentoring at workplaces is a relationship between a very experienced colleague who will be giving their knowledge and experience from what they have experienced in the part of their life to an inexperienced staff member. To be a mentor, you need to understand what is the problem the staff member is asking. For that, you need to listen carefully. And you need to clarify. For that, you need to ask questions, powerful questions. It’s beyond the direct approach. You’re not telling a person, “This is how it is.”

Now, as a mentor, you’re asking for permission and you’re giving them choices. You’re giving them a story from your experience, what you have done in the past, and helping a mentee to explore that option. As a mentor, if I’m telling a person do X, Y, Z so on and so forth, and the person goes and delivers it, according to me, every step, what is the possibility of this action to be successful by the mentee? Give me a percentage. Type it in the chat window. As a mentor, if I told a mentee, “I tell you X, Y, Z. You do not have a choice. Go do it.” What is the possibility of it being successful? Type it in the chat window. “Very low.” Very low. Okay.

So if I’m giving an option, that means the option which I have done in the past, the technology might be different, the people was different, the environment might be different. The environmental situation in the past might have been different. As a mentor, if I’m giving solutions to the people, do X, Y, and Z, when a person is implementing day to day, what might happen? We are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environment.    Can we call COVID as volatile? Yes or no? It is. It is volatile. Things are changing every single day. At the same time, we also know it’s uncertain. It’s complex. It’s ambiguous. Things are changing every single day. When your mentee is trying to implement your strategy in the changing moving parts and if you’re not there to support them, it can go kaput. It can go absolutely pear-shaped. You need to mentor in such a way that you’re giving them options, helping your mentee to choose which they want to go and help them clarify their journey. It’s their journey. It’s not your journey.

Self-confidence and a role model

Sometimes, as mentors some people can be so selfish. “It’s my idea. You go do it. You will be successful.” It’s all about me. For mentoring and coaching is never, ever about the coach or the mentor. It’s about the mentee or the coachee. Ooh, there’s a lot of answers in the chat window. Let me see what’s happening there. “VUCA.” Yes, it is.    Okay. I have a small question for you. What skills does an agile coach need to have? We spoke about coaching. We spoke about mentoring. Now we are moving into agile coaching. I have a small poll for you. Answer this for me, please. Launching the poll. It’s a multiple choice answer so take a couple of minutes. It’s a multiple choice. There are few skills and competencies. Go through them quickly. Select the ones which you need. You got another 30 seconds. Wow. There’s a tons of answers coming as we speak. Okay. The numbers are slowing down. 60 seconds. Time’s up. I’m ending the poll. Let’s look at the answers.

Okay. We got some results. Agile-lean practitioner, 48%. Trainer, mentor, professional coach. Ooh, we got some people say 41% for all the above skills. But most of them said facilitator. An agile coach needs to be having facilitation skills. Let’s test that theory out. Let’s test that theory out.

There is a wonderful person called Lyssa Adkins. Oh, what an amazing person. She is one of the great agile coaches I know. She wrote an amazing book called Coaching Agile Teams. In the book she has created something. Let me share my screen. She has presented something like this picture what I’m sharing with you. If we have any Star Wars fans in this room, it reminds me of this X-wing fighter. That reminds me of it. So in the middle you have an agile-lean practitioner, a person who has been able to apply the agile practices, practices such as design thinking, stand-ups, retrospectives. There are hundreds of practices and there are many frameworks out there. For example, Scrum is a framework, Kanban, Lean, Six Sigma. Of course there is a mindset, principles, and values as well. They are practices which go with it.

Using this in your own experience

So you are an agile-lean practitioner. You’ve been using this practices day in and day out. If you’ve been using this practices day in and day out, can you teach those practices? Yes. Why do you need to use those teaching skills? Just imagine. You’ve got a new team member who doesn’t have a clue anything about agile, who doesn’t have a clue in how to do a daily stand up or a retrospective, will you call a trainer or will you call Krishna to help this guy? Nah. You need to know how to teach people.

Funny enough. When you train someone, when you train group of people, who is the one person who learns a lot in the training program? Type your answers, please, in the chat window. The trainer. Is it the intent? Is it the intent?

There are different kinds of adult learning techniques which you can learn. Recently, I’ve seen this amazing book. Actually, I got by this person called Shane Hasty on training from the back of the room few years ago in Bangalore India. It’s an amazing training techniques. They are various training techniques which you use to help bring that knowledge to the participants in such a way the learning sticks. You come for a training program three days. You wait with the trainer, you all learn new things. We all sing Kumbaya in the name of agile. You go back to your day to day work. Back to normal. Back to normal. Is that the intent of the training?

So as a trainer, how can we make it stick? So you’re a trainer. Okay. So what? Because you’re a subject matter expert, will you be able to part your knowledge? Because you’re a lean practitioner, you will be imparting some of the practices, what’s been learning, what you’ve been delivering, what has worked for you, what has not worked for you. You are doing that as a mentor. Okay. If you move on to the right hand side, you have professional coaching. Professional coaching, we spoke about where you’re partnering with your client, your coachee, in a creative process where you are helping them at the professional, at the personal skills as well. You’re helping them to grow for the future. It’s all about them.

An Agile Facilitator: Meeting their specific needs and specific goals

Facilitation. Ah, interesting. Most of you said an agile coach need to be a facilitator where you’re playing a neutral process, where you’re playing a neutral role. Holding the wisdom of the crowd. You’re bringing different parties together in the room. Where you are helping them to reach their potential, helping them to reach the goals of the meeting. That’s what you are doing. In the meetings, there will be conflicts, there will be dysfunctional personas. There will be personas like, “Get on with the meeting. How long should I be here?” There will be different people. There will be some silent people who will not be even talking. How do you use this tools and skills to make them talk?

Yes. And sometimes if you have a boss in the room who loves to take over the meetings, how can you tell him politely, “Shut up” without using those words? I’m not telling to go and tell your boss or anyone to shut up, but there are ways, there are tools to help people to talk. If you have dominating personalities, how you can help them to listen to other people, okay? We looked at the five skills and competencies. Underneath their masteries, technical mastery, it can be anything related to your domain. If you go for development wise, there are some people who go into DevOps, continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous development, continuous deployment. And if you go into sales and marketing, there are some consultants who use analytics. Business mastery is to look beyond the curve and look at ways how you can help the organizations to pivot.

In the name of COVID, I have seen some organizations disappear overnight. Even before COVID there were so many organizations disappearing. How can we create an opportunity? How can we create products where the customers don’t even know they need them? How many of you use an iPhone? How many of you knew that you cannot survive with your phone if you go out from your home? There’s so many… What are the ways you can create opportunities for your organism? There are different techniques you can use.

And the next one, you’ve got the transformation mastery. Transformation mastery is interesting. It’s about bringing change. Let me ask you. Can you bring change overnight? Type it in the chat window. Yes or no? I love people who say, “Depends. Perhaps a very small change.” Yes, I agree.

Business Coaching During a Crisis

When we’re talking about change, change can happen over three reasons. For example, first reason is called a crisis. If a house is on fire, is Krishna going to talk to you? Nah. I’ll shut my laptop. I’ll say, “Thank you very much. Bye-bye. Tata.” That’s called a crisis. When COVID hit, when we got the restrictions overnight, I was doing a training program and one of the participants was joining me from Paris. They’ve been given very less notice that they’re having a lockdown. Same thing happened in various parts of the world. That was a crisis. Overnight, people had to work from home. That’s a crisis.

The second reason is called a threat. Threat means if I do not change my habits, my behaviors, or my way of working, we might not exist six months from now or a year from now or five years from now. And the same can be used for your personal reasons. If your doctor said that, “Krishna, you’re diabetic.” If I keep on eating the candy the way I used to do, I might not exist. So that’s a threat. In threat situations, what kind of change, frameworks you can bring in? In crisis, what kind of change, frameworks you can bring in?    And the last one is called an opportunity. And we know we are good, nothing is broken, but we want to be better. That’s an opportunity. The unspoken reason why people also change, “Next door companies doing agile. I will also do agile.” “One team is doing agile because when we use the word agile, we’d all agile.” That’s another reason why companies do agile as well. I’ve seen that. I’ve worked with them.

So I have a small question for you. These are skills, competencies given by Lyssa Adkins. I think they are brilliant. According to Krishna, these are not enough. These are not enough, but it’s a great start. But if you want to have a great start, let me do a small assessment for yourself. It will take you two minutes. You do not need to answer, anybody. This is solo. Let me read this out. Draw a little X-wing model in front of you with piece of paper or if you can imagine it. Look at all the different competencies, skills, the different masteries. Put a star or a dot where were you five years ago. Five years ago, where were you? What were you doing? Were you more towards facilitating, more towards coaching, training, mentoring? Where were you? That was five years ago.

Future Goals from Career to Personal Life

Let’s come back to the present.  But right now, where are you working? You’re towards teaching? In your profession, is it more only towards facilitation, a bit of teaching, a bit of coaching? Where are you working right now? Are you working mainly towards the technical or towards the change management? This is about your present.

You understand your past. If you don’t have a past or if you’re a fresh graduate and if you’re starting from today, that’s amazing. Where are you working? Now, let’s go into the future. Look at your future. Where do you want to be in the future? More towards teaching or mentoring or more towards transformation mastery? Or a bit of coaching, a bit of facilitation, a bit of transformation mastery, or a bit of technical mastery. What is it? And remember there is no right or wrong answers here. And there are no right or wrong answers in this discussion.

So these are the questions I have for you. You can reflect on them later after this webinar as well. How does that inform you of what you are doing today? How does that align with your learning goals for the next 12 months? This is all about you. So what do the dots tell you about your satisfaction in your current position? It’s bit of a reflection for yourself. This is not anything to do with Krishna or what he wants to achieve. Nothing. It’s all about you.

So you have your answers. You know what you want to do. Let’s talk about some facts. How much time do you spend in meetings in a given day? 10 to 20%, 20 to 40%, 60 to 80%, 80 to 100%. If it’s more than 100%, you can say help. Type it in the chat window, please. What is the percentage of your time in meetings? “50%. 50%. 30%. 80%.” Okay. “20 to 40. 90%.”    Okay. There was a research done to see how much time an average person, an average leader, a team lead, scrum master, facilitator they spend in meetings. 30% of any person working in a team they spend in meetings. 30%. That’s pre COVID. After COVID, different. That’s a complete different scenario. Okay. So you know how much time you spend in meetings. So where do conflicts happen? So where do conflicts happen? Where do decisions happen? If you want to create a purpose for your team, where does that happen? If you want to create a vision for your team, where does that happen? It’s all in meetings. So if you want to be a coach, an agile coach, it starts being the damn, good facilitator.

Coaching Programs, Training and Employee Engagement: Listening Skills

There are various training organizations out there. You also have IAF, International Association of Facilitators. Go and investigate it. It’s an organization. It’s a free organization to register. If you want to get a membership, I think there’s some fee for it. Go and investigate. What kind of tools are there to facilitate? What kind of skills I need to use? What kind of models out there to bring people together. You got the Walt Disney. You got the perceptual positions. You got the different personas you can use for facilitation. So having those facilitation tools and skills, it’s amazing. You need to have.    Okay. Even for you to be a facilitator or a coach or a mentor or a trainer, what skills do you need to have? Basic skills. Type it in the chat window. “Emotional intelligence. Empathy. Listening and patience. Communications. EI, emotional intelligence. Listening. Reading the room. Interpersonal. Listening.” Wow. Amazing. “Listening. Build trusting. Social skills.”

You need all of those skills. But if you want to be a coach or a mentor, there are few skills which are important. One of them is called listening. One of them is called asking powerful questions. And one of them is called providing observations or feedback. Those are the three skills you need to have. Those are the three most important skills; to listen, to ask powerful questions, or to provide observations.

When we talk about listening, sometimes I have these questions. Let me show them to you. Let me show them to you what these questions are. I’m quite curious about you. When you’re listening to a discussion, what is your agenda? What is your agenda? When you’re listening to a discussion, what are you afraid of? When you’re listening to a discussion, what distracts you? I’m just curious.

“Giving wrong answers. Context switching. Fear. Agenda to understand the other person. Afraid of not having all the answers to understand the person in front. Taking quick notes so as to not to interrupt. Afraid of sounding offensive.” It’s funny. When we try to listen, there is a huge difference between hearing and listening, between hearing and listening.

Let me teach you a small tool. Let me give you a small tool today as a small tip. Let me type it in the chat window for you. I believe some of you have seen this tool before. It’s called LOL. How many of you heard about the tool? What does it mean? “Listen out loud. Laugh out loud. Listen out loud.” I believe [Adesh], I don’t… He nailed it. Adesh talks about levels of listening. Every time you hear somebody say LOL, think of one thing called levels of listening.

So what do you mean by this levels of listening? Let’s try this. Have you been in a meeting and you thought, “Shit. I forgot to switch off the lights in the kitchen. Did I lock the door on my way home? Did this person send me the report? Let me check on my slack where is this person with respect to the task.” How many of you had those thoughts in your head? Say hi. We have those. All right.

Let me give you one more scenario. In the second scenario, you are talking. Before you could finish the other person interrupts you, backs in and cuts you off and ask you a question. Is the other person listening to you? How do you feel? You’re in the middle of a conversation, other person cuts off and asks you a question? “Maybe.”

There’s a 50/50 chance the other person has not understood, or not at all. Because when a person is asking a question internally, a person has to frame a question. From the content that person has, they have to frame a question. So when Krishna is framing a question, am I listening to you at all? Nah. That’s called level 1 listening.

Difference between Mentor and Coach: Levels of Listening

Level 1 listening is quite a selfish listening, or it’s called selfish listening, or it’s all about you. In level 1 listening, we have people just think about themselves. It’s called internal listening. It’s all about themselves. It’s all about me. That’s called internal listening.

The second one, the level 2 listening is called focused listening, where as a coach, facilitator, participant or whatever I’m doing, I’m only focusing to every word you say, every word which is coming out from you. It’s all about you. That’s my focus, is here with you. That’s called focus listening.

The third one is called global or environmental listening. In global environment listening, you’re also listening to the words which are not being said. The emotions, the environment in the room, that’s what you’re listening to. I still remember one of my colleague who came down on a Monday morning. Quite a bubbly pass and I said, “Dude, how are you? How was your weekend?” “Yeah, Krishna, it’s okay.” “Man, there is a huge emotion in your tone of voice, what happened? Just curious to know more. It’s like my dog died.” For some people, pets become part of the family. For me too. I grew up with pets.

So you need to be globally listening. You’re listening to the emotions. You’re listening, you’re focusing on the words. It’s all about the person in front of you if you’re doing one-to-one. If you’re working at the team level, you’re listening to all the individuals in the room, you are doing one to many. How should your awareness be at that moment of time? How should your awareness be at that moment of time? This is about listening.

We have a lot of tools as well. And the next thing is about powerful questions. Let’s move on to powerful questions. Powerful questions, they give a participant an opportunity to think, an opportunity to create an awareness, an opportunity to introspect, an opportunity to create possibilities or goals or visions where you’re not being judgmental, where you are giving your complete attention to the person in front of you. These questions help the person to have different perspectives and helping them to create a feedback loop. When you’re listening to the person in front of you, you’re also rephrasing and giving them feedback. So this is about asking powerful questions, listening, and providing observations.

So let me pause for some time. It’s been 46 minutes. I’ve been giving you a dump, a brain dump. Let me take few minutes and take some questions. Okay. “Can a coach be empathetic?”

Mentoring via a Business coach

A coach has to have empathy. A coach, if you do not have your emotions, if you cannot be empathetic, it will be hard to relate to a human being. It will be hard to relate to a human being, yes.

“Is coaching roles specific?” In professional coaching roles, they are specific. They are specific. You’ve got voice coaches. You’ve got sports coaches. You’ve got cricket coaches. There are different kinds of coaches. So depending on their need, you will bring in the specialist coaches to help them for the job. If you look at Olympics, do they have coaches? These sports people, do they have coaches? If you want to win your Olympics of your career, think about getting yourself a coach or a mentor.

“Any book you recommend about law?” All right. This is something I want to tell people. Listening, asking powerful questions. You can read books. There’s tons of literature on listening, asking powerful questions. The most important thing is practice. Let’s test it out. How many of you rid in a bicycle in your lifetime? A bicycle.

Some of us have been on a bicycle. How many of you gone to a manual training class where you got a manual on how to ride a bicycle? How many of you read the manual then learned how to ride a bicycle? I’m still looking for that one person who has read the manual to ride a bicycle. Every webinar, every organization, I am always looking for that one person.

Listening, asking powerful questions, observations. You read a book. So what? That’s your knowledge. If you do not practice, of course you read manual on riding a bicycle, you have to be in a bicycle. Practice it. When you practice, you might be having your knees rubbed at some times. They might be some issues. So you can practice it in safe environments, in a car park or some grounds. You practiced it. And same thing with respect to listening, asking powerful questions, or you in the coaching, mentoring conversations. You can practice. There are some organizations out there. The little content you got, it’s amazing. If you want to read books, we have tons of recommendations on the Leadership Tribe website. Go download them. Go find out. If you keep on adding, bringing on knowledge without practice, according to Krishna, it’s utter… Let me put it in a politically correct way. It’s useless.

With any specific skill, practice makes….

Because one thing I can tell you is, the more you repeat, the more you practice. The more you practice, it creates habits. Habits create mastery. So with respect to listening, asking powerful questions, please create an opportunity to practice. There are so many organizations, even webinars, free sessions out there where you can go and practice. Or invest in yourself. Invest in yourself. If you want to win the Olympics of your career, yeah, things can fall for free from the sky. It’s okay. But sometimes taking, spending a half an hour, two hours reading and working with your peers and spending time to practice it matters. And I love It.

Some of my colleague… Who said? [Ayo Sunogo]. “It creates confidence.”   We heard a little bit about coaching, mentoring, training, facilitation. There was one question from Jason Riley. “I would like to hear some suggestions for getting started when you’re starting with a new company and a new team. I feel like step one is to build trust, but you can certainly take some time. What else can you do with building trust?”

Building trust. It will do take time. It’s just like, “Hey, I’m your new coach? We already have trust. Let’s go singing and dancing on day one.” It doesn’t. So as new coaches, when you’re working in any organization and anything, you need to understand the current state. What is it they’re actually trying to do?

And on top of that, you need to build rapport. You need to build rapport. If you do not have a relationship with a person, will they even talk to you in the first place? If you are a stranger to a team and you’ve seen them for once and say, “Hi. Hi.” And you go and speak to them. Now, will they be able to dump everything to you? No. Understand the current state. Understand what they are working on. So understand the current state, where do they want to be? And what can you do as a coach to bring them together from current state to the future state? That’s your role, helping them to achieve that success.

Tone of a Coach in the Coaching relationship and the arc of conversation

“How tone should be used by a coach while coaching a co-worker?” Tone of a voice. All right. If a coworker is talking to you, “Hi, Krishna. How are you doing?” You cannot go in. “Hi, Krishna. How are you doing?” so on and so forth. You will scare the living Jesus out of the person. You need to mirror and match. That helps you in building rapport. These are called soft skills. At the same time, there are various techniques out there to say how you can make friends. So building rapport is one of the basic skills. Those are people’s skills you need to have. For that, you need to mirror and match. If a person’s tonality is very soft spoken, you will be soft-spoken at the same time. If a person is bubbly and cheery, you’re also mirroring and matching how bubbly and cheery are they. You can also mirror and match with the modalities, the way they talk, whether they are visual, auditory, kinesthetic as well. There are various different ways.

“Can empathetic coach be sensitive?” Okay. We have taken some questions, right? Let me move on to some of the content and we will come back to a few more questions. Okay. You are working as a coach, as a mentor. There is different frameworks out there to help you with your coaching practice. Models. One of them is called the GROW model. GROW model is basically used by various coaching organizations. I pick this GROW model in my early days of my coaching career. It starts with, what is the goal of the conversations. Why are we here? What are we trying to achieve in this conversation? That’s called the goal. It can be about the opportunity or a problem. It can be about anything the coachee is there for, or the mentee is there for.

The next part, we are talking about the reality. What is happening in the current reality of the mentee or the coach? The first part of the conversations in goal and reality is called the emotional journey, where the coachee is venting out everything what is happening in their current day to day work. Once they’re able to go through the emotional journey, the next part is called the tactical journey, where you’re looking at the options and the veil and the way forward.

There is actually an arc of conversations which I would love to share with you. This is called the arc of conversations. It is similar for coaching and mentoring as well. In coaching and mentoring, you are creating a safe environment for the person to openly discuss and talk in front of you. What do they want to achieve? Here, you’re always curious. You’re creating the trust and intimacy. You’re self aware that you’re not judging the person in front of you. You’re actively listening. You’re asking powerful questions. You’re neutral. You’re present at that moment. And you’re using your intuition to go to guide the person through the conversation.

As part of the coaching conversation, the first part is the all about the emotions. The next one is we’re talking about the tactics. So where does it differ in mentoring? Because we do know that as a mentor, you are a subject matter expert, where you’re providing them options. In coaching, you do not provide solutions. In mentoring, you provide them with your wisdom. How do you do it?

So while you are helping your coachee understand what options they want to do, how do they want to plan and how do they deliver and what will the action be, in mentoring the only difference is you find out what the coachee has done. You ask for permission to talk, to share your experience. And you share your experience and ask the mentee what are their thoughts. How do they want to try it? And give them four or five options. If you do not know, don’t bullshit them. Sorry. If you don’t know, you don’t know. You can both explore the answers together. If you do not know, you can also recommend who can be the best person in front of you. The best person in front of you.

In coaching, you do not give answers. You do not provide solutions. In mentoring, when it comes to options, you provide your wisdom in form of options, where you’re not forcing the mentee to pick your solutions. It’s the mentee’s choice. The mentee still has a choice to pick what do they want. For either of this coaching or mentoring, you’re not directing, you’re not telling.

Let’s stop there for a second. So what is the one huge difference between coaching and mentoring? One huge difference between coaching and mentoring. Type it in the chat window.

“Coach doesn’t give solutions. Coaching can be done with teams. Mentoring is providing a solution, wherein coaching is not.” Great answers. I have few differences which I would love to share with you. “Duration of association.” [Pranav], that’s the reason I have a slide for you my friend, which is coming next. These are some basic differences between coaching and mentoring.

Let me see if I can share my screen with you. If you’re looking at the differences including the definition, these are some of them. Of course, we will be sharing these slides with you so you don’t need to worry about taking screenshots or writing the notes down. Just go through the flow. And if you have any questions, you can put them in the Q&A section.

In coaching, it’s the thought provoking process where you are helping to maximize the coachee’s personal and professional development. In mentoring, most often occurs when a mentor transfers the knowledge and experience and advices for the purpose of mentee’s growth and learning. When we’re talking about SME, professional coaching is about the process, how you’re taking them through the journey.

And SME of a mentor is about the specific subject matter expertise, what the mentee needs. The solution is not provided in coaching. Mentors use their own personal expertise to offer choices and possible solutions. Remember, offer choices and possible solutions where you’re not telling them what to do. There’s a huge difference there.

What is the difference between Mentor and Coach? A look at The Coaching and Mentoring Process over time

Timeframe with respect to coaching. Short-term between three months, six months. Sometimes I even had coaches who work for one year as well. For mentoring, this one is different. It’s a long-term and maybe for years. I’ve mentored some people more than 20 years ago. And they’re still part of the journey.

The focus of coaching is to achieve their own objectives at work and in life. You’re not only looking at a specific problem, because body and mind are the same system. So it’s personally, professionally, even 360 degrees of a human being we are looking at how can they improve. In mentoring, it’s mainly focused around the mentee’s current job function. And at times, it’s beyond their career development.

In coaching, it’s a bit more structured with regular meetings. Mentoring is as in when needed. And sometimes it can be informal as well. The outcome for coaching can be very much specific because that’s part of the coaching agreement the coach makes with the coachee. And as they’re going along, they are also managing and monitoring how they are improving positive change in the desired outcomes. In mentoring, the relationship can shift over time to time. These are the major differences between mentoring and coaching.

Let’s look at some of the similarities as well. The similarities is quite simple, for either mentoring or coaching is never about you. It’s never, never about you. Because the coach and a mentor, they’re using powerful questions to elicit information where they’re able to introspect, have new insights, and they can challenge the thought process and expand going forward. This is something what? It’s the way of questioning.    The agenda for both coaching and mentoring, it’s set by the coachee or the mentee. And when it comes to decisions and solutions, it’s both are decided by the coachee or the mentee, because they are going to own the action plan. And who is holding them accountable? The coachee and mentee are responsible for their own actions. At times, if they’re updating the coach and mentor, they will be updating the coach and mentor as they are progressing.

Either for coaching and mentoring, there is one job you have to do. It’s called seeking the truth, or if you want to hide in your teams where you’re not interested for anything you need to dig. So remember that. The more you’re curious about your teams, the more you are listening. There is a lot of magic which happens between six inches of your head, between those two ears. Here, you’re thinking. You’re listening. You’re creating an opportunity to think better as well.

Let me take a couple of minutes. Let’s see if there are any other questions here. “Are we going to get some slides?” Yes. “Can an empathetic coach be sensitive in such situation? How does one put it across the team?” [Jotty], I wish I can answer those one. I would need at least more. I would love giving you more information before so that I can explain to you how I can help you with this.

I don’t think I can cover that in less than half an hour or 20 minutes.    “So there how can we find paid and/or volunteer real-world coaching activities?” Actually, reach out to Leadership Tribe.

We have so many volunteering and coaching work especially for the alumni group. We are more than happy to set you up with some of the alumni which we have. So reach out to us. That’s one way to do it.

My colleague just gave me a notice saying that we have less than 25 minutes. We still need to cover some topics as well.

Your Journey in Mentorship & Coaching

Let me give you some tips which will help you with your journey. These has definitely helped me. So let me give you some tips. With respect to coaching, mentoring, training, facilitation, or any of this masteries, one has to invest in themselves. Invest in themselves. It can be time or going to any other training programs. Learning, having the knowledge. And knowledge with respect to carrying some tools, some tools you can use for coaching, mentoring, training, facilitation as well. Because as coaches, as coaches, all leaders, you will be using different tools at any given time.

Say for example, if you’ve got a brand new team joining, you need to facilitate team meetings. For that, you need to use facilitation skills. To create a team vision, you need to use facilitation skills. If the team did not know how they’re going to work together or if you want to teach them the agile ways of working, you need to be a trainer. When they are improving their skills, you need to be mentoring them because the skills are improving. They’re getting better as they’re growing. You might be doing some coaching. Learning how to dance at that moment also requires a skill. So knowing when to coach, when to mentor, when to train, when to facilitate are using all the skills in different variations as well.

And for that, please invest in yourself. If you’re looking for books, there are some amazing books. I got one book called Coaching for Performance written by Sir John Whitmore. I would recommend you to get one. It’s also an audio book on Amazon. I believe there was an audio book on Amazon. I’ve seen one. Get one for yourself. I think it’s less than £6 or £8. It’s a very cheap one. Get one. And on top of that, practice being the good listener. Knowing your biases. Sometimes when you’re listening to people, there are times where your curiosity comes more than the person itself. Your selfishness comes ahead of the person itself. So for that, you need to know how you can control your biases. Are you really listening to the person, asking powerful questions?

There’s a list of powerful questions on the download section for Leadership Tribe on LinkedIn. There’s tons of rich articles. Please download it. It’s free. Use them. By the way, I have borrowed them from CoActive Coaching. The list of powerful questions, they are amazing. I practice them. If you’re learning to practice, this is what I’ve done. I’ve written my powerful questions. Stick it to my computer screen. The more I see it, and when I’m even in my coaching conversations, I refer to them and I ask them, “How do you observe and provide feedback?” So you also need to practice on that.

And for all of this, most of our colleagues in this webinar said, “You need to have the self-awareness.” The emotional intelligence. Understanding about yourself. What is your potential? What are your inhibitors? What are your strengths? And what are the things which are slowing you down? The more you are self aware, you can be socially aware. When you’re socially aware, you can self-manage. When you can self-manage, you can build relationships. And it starts from you. It starts from you.

By having those basic skills, this will also help you to create a better working agreements with your teams, helps you to be a better facilitator, a better practitioner. And most of it, these are not new skills. These are existing skills. Go get trained or practice. In your organization, if somebody has already gone for training, go and be nice to them. Ask them what they can teach you. What else you can learn from them. For everything, there are few more tips.

Mindful vs Mind Full

For everything you are doing, there is one question I have for you. Are you being mind full or mindful? Because if you’re not being mindful about what is happening around you, sometimes you will miss the boat completely. Remember, we are still in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environment. And COVID is exaggerating issues right now. If you have team members or employees who are impacted with COVID and coming to work with their families or parents of kids impacted with COVID and coming to work, will they have the same side of a mindset and able to deliver the same way they were doing before? Will they do it? Yes or no? Type it in the chat window. This is reality. We are working with reality with so many things happening. Can we be the same when so many things are happening around us? And for that, you need to be self-aware. You need to be self aware, not only about yourself, but the people around you. But the people around you.

Emphasize more on your communication especially right now with the virtual environment. I know markets are opening up. Some people are going to offices. Some infection rates are going up so we do not know where we are. In these uncertain times, communicate better. Explicitly. If I’m telling you something, does not mean that the way I tell you, you understood the way I wanted you to. Explain things in a way they can understand you. It’s not about you. And sometimes, I’ve been seeing a lot of things. “I want to measure my employees work during the COVID time. I want to make sure that they’ve logged in around 8:00, logged out around 5:00. I want to see some timings,” which also tells me that you do not trust how the way we work with our teams. The language we use, vocabulary which we use with our teams as well matters.

And while we are working virtually, the scheduling difficulties, the time zones, be more cognitive especially now. And on top of that, one thing I recommend you to do is do something about yourself, something to yourself. It’s called self-care. Do something which helps you to be better, helps you mentally, physically as well. If it means going out for a walk with your family for half an hour, do it. Singing a song in the shower, do it. Do things which will make you happy. And even sleeping better is a fun way to do things. So to be a better coach, trainer, facilitator, it starts from you, so look after yourself. That’s one thing which I recommend.

The second thing which I also want to tell you is, if you want to improve the quality of your work, which is nothing but the function of your knowledge, the knowledge you have on a particular topic and the practice you have on the particular topic, which will help you to increase your talent. That will help you to increase your talent. This quality of work, quality of a coach, quality of a leader, quality of a parent, it can be quality of anything, it all comes down to you. This knowledge, what I’m giving you over the webinar is okay. So what? If you cannot practice, useless, according to Krishna.

At the start of the session, we spoke about the X-wing model. We said it’s not complete. This is something more. You need to learn about the mindset and behaviors, people skills, the influential skills, seeing what are the things you can do to help your teams to move forward. It’s always easy to ask what other people are doing for you. What else we can do? The question here is, you understand these are the skills you need, you understand these are the tools I need, so what’s next? What’s next?

What are your takeaways from your session? Type it in the chat window please. Let me see that. [Fahruk] is saying, “It starts from you, but it’s all about the others.” Spot on, Fahruk. So what are your takeaways from this session? You got levels of listening. Okay. Self-awareness. Charlie says, “LOL”. “Listen more. Grow. 3P, practice, practice, practice.” Hah, I love this. “Much easier to drive once you only focus on the road instead of the vehicle.” What a beautiful way to… What a beautiful metaphor. Aya talks about self-gap assessment. Understand, yes. Understand your current state. What are your skills? What do I need more. And add one layer at a time. One layer at a time.

Coaching and Mentoring Program Differences

We’ve got some key differences between coaching and mentoring. Fantastic.

I got some few gifts I want to give you. As I’ve shown you, some of our trainers, coaches are delivering some training programs. We got some offers. We’ve got some upcoming training programs as well. Let me share them with you. These are the upcoming training programs we have. We got the Agile Team Facilitator. During part of the program, you need to be a better coach, you need to be a great facilitator. We do understand that most of our time, 50%, some of us 50% or more, they spend in meetings. To be a great facilitator, yes, you need to have some skills and tools. On top of that, if you want to improve your coaching skills as well, we have a path. It’s called the Agile Coaching Bootcamp. We’ve got some upcoming classes next week. It’s all done online. Most of the classes start from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, British Summer Time. We got some discounts and offers at the moment. If you want to understand what are the offers there, please drop a note to [email protected]

At the same time, if some of you who are working from the business… Because some of us are working at the team unit, business unit, or at the enterprise level, for the team in the business unit some of us are working as an agile coach or team coaches. But if you’re working at the business unit or at the enterprise level, this is for those people if they’re interested in. You can also come down for your Enterprise Coaching Bootcamp as well as the Coaching Agile Teams.  This happening in the first week of August. We also have some more training programs on Kanban as well.

So there are some offers and discounts. Please drop a note to our colleague, Chitra or Devantae. They’re more than happy to help. You can reach out to my training programs or my colleagues. You can go anywhere. But one thing you can do is, go get those knowledge and skills if you don’t have one. If you have that knowledge, practice. Practice with your siblings. Practice with your colleagues. See what you can do. Take it from there.

Questions about coaching and mentoring

All right. Let me stop that. Let’s look at our Q&A. “Coaching rules say that coach will not give answers or advice, but they will help you in finding the solutions my coachee has. If the coachee have the answers with them, then why the coach required?” You don’t need a coach, [Abusheik]. Okay. For coaching and mentoring, the coachee or the mentee will seek a coach or a mentor. If they have an answers, why do they need a coach? Nah. He don’t need one.

“Every athlete has a coach, but everyone is not a winner. How much success depends on a coach and how much on a coachee?”

All right. How much depends on a coach? How much on a coaching? It depends on both of them. If the coachee does not want to win a medal, nobody can coach them. Like this, if I give you an opportunity to coach a fish to climb up a tree like a monkey and behave like a monkey, can it happen? Can you coach that to happen? Nah. So if the coach is not good enough for the coachee, can it be successful? No. So that’s the reason in professional coaching, not agile coaching. As an agile coach, one must be an agile-lean practitioner. You need to be a mentor, facilitator, trainer, and a professional coach, plus one mastery to be an agile coach. Professional coaching is different, which is an element of agile coaching. But agile coaching and professional coaching are not the same.

“How much coaching differs from professional counseling?”

I would love to answer. Because I have to give you more answers, can you give me a note, Jotty? I’ll be more than happy to give… We actually have an article, all telling you the differences between counseling, coaching, psychotherapy on our website. Feel free to reach out to us.

“What are the don’ts while coaching, mentoring new company and team?”

First of all, get trained. Without getting trained, you might be doing damage. So if you got trained, help your team members to achieve the goals or practice with them. Do’s and don’ts, there are many things. Do not be a consultant.

Let me see what else we got. “I don’t understand how mentoring needs much time than coaching while I believe coaching needs very close mentoring.” Okay. [Ahammed], I would love to explain to you. I think the eight minutes I have, I don’t think I will be able to answer that. So please give me a note. I’ll be more than happy, because you need to understand the difference of coaching and mentoring in detail. I believe there’s a slight difference. We need to get back to you on that. Give me a note, Ahammed. I’ll be more than happy.

All right. It’s been lovely talking to you. It’s been a great experience having you in this webinar. Have a lovely weekend. If you have any questions, if you have any thoughts, reach out to me on LinkedIn or drop a note at [email protected] If you’re attending to any of my training programs, I’ll be more than happy to see you. So on that note, have a lovely weekend and have a nice time.

View more blogs and webinars about the difference between Mentor and Coach, Agile Training, Scrum and more insight from our team.

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