After a long career in leadership training, research, consulting, ‘assessment for development,’ and coaching (in the U.S., Latin America, and Hawai’i), I am enjoying being more of a personal resource to others, especially through Mentor Coaching and Coaching Supervision, as well as Leadership and Team Coaching. Sometimes an opportunity for reflection, a little humor, a good idea, or a big insight is all you need to deepen your work as a more mindful leader or an effective leadership coach.
Here is a short ‘cheat sheet’ of definitions of helping roles in organizations that I operate from:
Consulting: to help ‘organizations’ learn and transform themselves as they change and usually involves interventions on several levels and over time. Organizational development professionals can be either internal or external to the organization. (Consulting has only been a recognized profession for the last 40 years.)
Coaching: to help ‘individuals’ (or teams) to learn, adapt, and transform themselves as their organization changes. Coaching interventions can be as short as one session or over an extended period and either internal to the organization or external. (Coaching has been around only about 20 years and most actively in the last 10.)
Mentoring: to help ‘individuals in organizations’ learn, adapt, and grow through periods of longer transitions (especially in skill building, career management and organizational politics). I think of mentors as most effective internally within organizations.
Coach mentoring: to help ‘individual coaches’ develop themselves during longer transitions and especially in best practices and skill building or in specific competencies. i.e. in contracting skills, use of psychological surveys, OD skills or career management. Coach mentors can be either internal or external. (Coach mentors are also used in the ICF credentialing process.)
Coaching supervision: to help ‘individual coaches’ reflect, learn and develop themselves and their work as it is happening now, with their current clients –a supervisor might be internal or external to their coach client. (Supervision is a relatively new profession of around 10 years in Europe and only now emerging in the U.S.)
Group supervision: to help groups of coaches reflect on their practice and their current client work. The coaches can be internal coaching cadres or groups of independent coaches but group supervision is considered especially useful with an external supervisor to a group of internal coaches.
(In reality, we frequently find ourselves working on multiple levels and in more than one function at the same time. In our consulting we might be coaching a team and doing executive coaching with the team leader as well as larger system interventions in the design.)
There is a wonderful reference on these various roles that I recommend: Hawkins, Peter and Smith, Nick, Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision and Development, Tata McGraw-Hill, 2006.