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Empower future leaders: tips to implement coaching, mentorship in your business

They say employees are the lifeblood of all organisations… It’s true! You may believe that without customers, your business would not exist, but employees are the ones who keep your customers happy,  and assist you with important decisions. This should give you even more reason to believe that, training and developing them should be one of your key priorities.

While training employees is central to any business’ skills development strategy, coaching and mentoring sis key to help them integrate what they learn in training with what they do at work. It is also an effective way to maximise knowledge transfer – particularly those core skills that are unique to the business – and facilitate succession planning.

Of course, many businesses don’t immediately see the value in coaching and mentoring. With budget constraints and fewer people available to carry out certain roles in the company, employers may find it difficult to sacrifice the time and resources needed for an effective programme.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Coaching and mentoring falls under category G of the learning programme matrix. This means that initiatives relating to those factors can form part of recognised expenditure under the skills development element of broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE). As per the proposed amendments to the scorecard, which were issued in March 2018, 25% of the leviable target amount is now recognised. This expenditure is related to the informal training of black employees, however, training via mentor programmes could also form part of recognised expenditure even if the mentors being trained are white.

How to go about implementing an effective coaching and mentoring programme

Coaching and mentoring programmes are especially effective for identifying and training the future leaders of the organisation, so it is important to identify suitable candidates. At face value, it would be ideal to identify black employees, particularly female black employees or employees with disabilities, who can be trained to occupy leadership positions. However, women employees in general should also be earmarked for development.

Here are some tips on how to effectively design and implement a programme.

1. Differentiate between coaching and mentoring.

Leadership management books offer an easy way to differentiate the two. But the basic rule of thumb is that coaching is task-oriented, while mentoring is relationship-oriented. For example, a coaching programme will focus on concrete issues such as effective management, presentation skills, strategy formulation, and financial management. These require a skilled coach who can transfer such knowledge. It is short-term in nature – so it might involve three-day training sessions or online exercises.

By contrast, mentorship is long-term in nature. It involves a more experienced or seasoned leader in the organisation taking an employee under their wing while acting as an adviser. Typically, this will entail conversations around challenges faced in the employee’s leadership journey. The mentor acts as a sounding board, helping the employee solve problems that may emerge along the way.

Coaching and mentorship should work hand in hand.

2. Determine your objectives

What does the business want to achieve? Does it want to fast-track identified candidates to fill certain positions at a short-term level, or does it want to create a pipeline of future leaders to fill positions as they become available when current leaders move on?

Understanding the objectives will help employers determine the content and time frame of the coaching and mentoring programme.

3. Formalise the programme

Employers should consider drawing up contracts and agreements in order to evaluate the performance of candidates. This will also assist in measuring the effectiveness of the programme and make it simpler to claim points in their BEE Scorecards.

4. Budget

Set aside funding for the programme. Align this with your overall skills development budget.

4. Identify your candidates

Does the business have candidates already employed within the business or does it want to recruit potential candidates outside of the organisation? What are the skills and competencies required to be a candidate? This is especially important if the aim of the programme is to retain high-performing employees who currently occupy operational roles.

5. Train your coaches and mentors

Identify existing employees who will carry out the programme. These will likely be current managers and executives in the business. Remember, their training can also be recognised as a skills development expenditure under the B-BBEE scorecard.

Aligning with your B-BBEE scorecard

The important thing to note is that businesses can maximise category G spending with an effective mentorship programme. This will allow businesses to ensure that they have a steady stream of future leaders, whilst bolstering B-BBEE compliance. 

Contact Gestalt to assist you in the development and implementation of an effective mentoring programme for your business. We will assist you by assessing your needs as an organisation and provide you with expertise on how to make it part of your B-BBEE efforts.