Office Hours Insights and Reflections

A 2022 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services research report and suggestions from our participants set this week’s 8020 Excellerate Office Hours topic on Coaching and Mentoring and the role it can play in an organization’s success through developing more effective leaders.

We started the conversation by citing the results from a 2022 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services research report, which surveyed 665 business executives on how effective they believed their companies’ leadership development efforts were in delivering the desired results.

The answers were split into three categories, 26% (leaders) rated their leadership development results as high, 44% (followers) as medium and 30% (laggards) as poor.

The survey then asked about the use of coaching and mentoring in each category. Those with higher rates of coaching and mentoring reported the best results in developing future leaders.

Source: Harvard Business Review Analytic Services survey, August 2022

Below are the report’s highlights, emphasizing that coaching and mentoring programs can enhance leadership skills, improve performance, and drive organizational success.

The research reveals several key findings. First, effective coaching and mentoring programs are vital for developing leadership capabilities. They provide leaders with personalized guidance, support, and feedback, helping them build self-awareness, enhance their strengths, and address development areas.

Second, the report underlines the importance of aligning coaching and mentoring initiatives with organizational goals and strategies. Coaching and mentoring efforts can drive better outcomes and contribute to a culture of continuous learning and growth when integrated into the broader leadership development framework.

Third, the research highlights the significance of selecting the right coaches and mentors. These individuals should possess strong leadership experience, expertise, and the ability to build trusting relationships with their mentees. Organizations should invest in training and developing these coaches and mentors to ensure their effectiveness.

Furthermore, the report stresses the value of creating a supportive and inclusive environment for coaching and mentoring – “Relationship-Based Leadership Development.” When leaders feel safe to seek guidance and share challenges openly, they are more likely to benefit from coaching and mentoring relationships. Organizations should foster a culture that encourages mentorship and provides the necessary resources and structures to facilitate these relationships.

Lastly, the report emphasizes the need for ongoing evaluation and measurement of coaching and mentoring programs. Regular feedback and assessments can help identify areas for improvement, measure the impact of these initiatives, and ensure continuous learning and development for both leaders and mentors.

The research report underscores the importance of leveraging coaching and mentoring as powerful tools to develop influential leaders. This conclusion does not surprise us – the 8020 Excellerate Executive Team has based their professional careers on supporting companies and organizations around the globe through leadership development, coaching, training and mentoring programs.

If anything, this research comes at a critical time in the workforce to serve as a reminder of what organizations need to do to attract and retain talent – and our participants on the call couldn’t agree more.

For example, Declan Cunningham discussed the challenges of coaching multi-generational needs and requirements for leaders and how to communicate with different generations. He highlighted the importance of remaining relevant and tapping into the abundance of talent and capability.

Ardi Ghorashy then discussed the role of mentoring and coaching in developing people and democratizing leadership development to create a more equitable playing field.

Raja Palaniswamy and Tracy Cunning shared that their organizations use a structured program of quarterly check-ins and a nine-box system to evaluate employees and develop a formal development plan that integrates different flavours of coaching and mentoring.

Jane Morgan talked about the differences between mentoring and coaching and how to use them to develop corporate strategy. Jane says that the most influential mentors share their wisdom and experience but also understand the value of coaching and asking good questions. She suggested that formalizing mentoring and coaching programs can create a culture of acceptance and help break down prejudices. Ardi added that mentors who do not understand coaching methods overlook a huge opportunity for development capability. Jane and Ardi shared their positive experiences with reverse mentoring when the roles were exchanged.

Fulvio Celant shared his thoughts on formal and informal mentoring – and that informal mentoring on a weekly basis had been a key success driver for his team. He also stressed the need for mentors to be trained in coaching methods.

Steven Wedge, CPA, MBA put forward how nearly every employee survey reveals that employees have a desire for training and mentoring. Mentoring can be a powerful tool when aligned with a purpose. Training both Mentors and Mentees on proper techniques and expectations will make them more effective.

Declan also added that having an organic, ongoing relationship with team members is essential to demonstrate commitment and authenticity in leadership.

These are just a few highlights from our weekly 8020 Excellerate coaching call. We all agreed that as the world of work evolves, it is vital to incorporate the coaching and mentoring practices mentioned above strategically and thoughtfully to promote leadership growth, enhance performance, and sustain long-term success.

What kind of steps is your organization taking toward relationship-based leadership development?