In today’s fast-paced and dynamic environment, every organization needs to have a structured process for coaching and mentoring. There is a dire need now, more than ever before, for employees to be continually upgrading their knowledge and skills, especially with the rapidly changing times and this is no different for teachers. While there have always been training programmes organized at various levels for teachers every once in a while, what needs to be done now is constant coaching and mentoring.
Coaching today is entirely different from usual training and development programmes. Coaching is more effective, customized and personal approach training is quite often imparted to many at once! Coaching is akin to a continued dialogue or conversation between the coach and the coached in which the coach instructs, counsels and tutors another in how to improve his or her performance in a specific area.
The benefit of effective coaching goes beyond mere improvement in performance. It increases personal satisfaction, inspires a commitment to excellence, builds trust and fosters the individual’s development for achieving the highest potential that he or she is capable of.
A coach often lists, asks open-ended and challenging questions and engages the coached with stories of hits and misses. A coach naturally shouldn’t appear to be a ‘know it all’ kind of person. Instead, he or she should have the ability to guide individuals to chart out their own paths for achievement thereby developing independent higher-level thinking in those who are responsible for teaching the future generations.
Mentoring is another approach that needs to be promoted to supplement coaching. Mentoring and coaching are not the same things. While a coach’s role is more focused on the skill improvement of the teachers, a mentor has a much broader role to play.
A mentor is one who assumes the role of friend and guide to the teacher assigned to them, and they often share a lasting bond at the workplace. An employee should ideally feel quite comfortable in approaching their mentor, that is one of the traits that define a good mentor.
A mentor’s job not just to focus on the skill development of the assigned teacher but also to work on building their confidence and their social and emotional skills. A mentor should also help employees chart out a career path within the institution thereby leading to loyalty and long service.
The training and development opportunities should be customized according to the individual based on an analysis of their learning needs. All new employees should be assigned a mentor from their departments for at least six months to support them in getting to know the organizational culture, set higher goals for themselves and move up the ladder of responsibility and enhancing their contribution in the organization.
Coaching and Mentoring need to be a part of a longer, more detailed process of continuous professional development. Every employee’s training and development should be taken into account. Their immediate supervisors must identify their individual areas for improvement and work on that. These areas are not just those that are mandatory for regulatory compliance but also those that will help the employees to pursue their aspirations of career growth.
Global Indian International School UAE is one of the very few schools that have a dedicated Project Team for Training and Development to handle the coaching, training and mentoring of more than 1500 teachers and staff members from across all its campuses in different geographies. We believe that learning continues for life, so the teachers are expected to log in at least 40 hours of coaching and mentoring in an academic year. Usually, this is distributed between onsite mentoring and online coaching.
Finally, the onboarding of the employees, their continued contribution and loyalty are determined by how well they are coached and mentored in the initial few months of their joining the organization. If they have been coached and mentored well, they will drive the growth of the organization with their own personal growth in tow.
(Written by Mr Ramesh Mudgal, Principal, Global Indian International School, Dubai)