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This month I attended a really great session called Coach-on-the-Go with experts Kate Richardson and Leigh Morrison, and it made me truly reflect on the differences between coaching, mentoring and training, and their relative strengths and uses.

I’m proud to say we do lots in the area of training, coaching and mentoring in the business here at HC.

We have a great system of peer reviewing and giving on-the-spot training and feedback to each other based on our own specialist skills and we’ve more recently focused on delivering dozens of formal training programs in the areas of PR, comms and digital media for the Western Sydney business community. We also make sure we access external training to build team skills to help us do our jobs the best we can.

I hold mentoring sessions with my team each month and as we have previously shared, offer mentoring programs to our clients to help their staff become their best. I was so proud this month to see one of the young up-and-coming communication leaders in the ag industry, whom I mentored last year in our program, take on a new and challenging role to resounding congratulations from the professional network she has been cultivating. Huge congratulations again Georgia we’re very proud.

But coaching – the focus of Kate and Leigh’s program – is different from training or mentoring.

When coaching you actually need to hold yourself back in order for it to work well. Training is teaching a particular skill or behaviour with instructions, mentoring is relying on your own knowledge to share advice on what to do while coaching is helping someone come to their own conclusions rather than giving direction. This is so very powerful when it comes to making things stick.

I highly recommend you jump on the program yourself – just reach out to Kate and she’ll point you in the right direction – but some things I took away that were really useful were:

  • Use coaching when someone is stuck and you can identify a learning moment. If someone lacks experience or confidence, go the mentoring route.
  • Focus on open ended questions, to encourage expansiveness and new thinking. Use your what, when, how, why, where type questions.
  • Tame your advice monster – let the person being coached explore options and feelings to come to their own conclusions and actions.
  • Be a good listener. Be aware of your body language because “the quality of our attention determines the quality of others’ thinking.”

I’m really looking forward to our entire team playing a role in coaching others this year. We are excited to be kicking off a new program next month called CommsCall. We’re initially focusing on the Western Sydney start up and small business community because we can see there’s a gap for accessible, affordable communications advice and support.

For those businesses that don’t have internal teams and budgets yet need the occasional bit of quick help – if you’re not sure if your brand messaging is quite right, need help refining your media release, don’t know why you’re not getting better engagement on your social posts, or whatever it might be, CommsCall is the solution.

Our subscription based CommsCall program gives members access to specific advice for their business, where they can ask questions and get direct feedback from experts in PR, brand building, social, marketing communications, digital and more. Plus they’ll get to be part of an exclusive network of businesses that can learn from each other.

Watch this space and we’ll let you know how we go.

And if you’re looking for a coach, mentor or trainer, get in touch.

Sue Hardman