Useful information for your personal development:
Support for individuals
As a manager one of your prime responsibilities, and potentially one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, is to develop your staff. This may be at team or department level, or it may be for individuals.
A mentor is often described as a "critical friend" or "supportive challenger".
Although the University does not currently run a formal mentoring scheme, these guidelines for effective mentoring may help you to find suitable mentors and mentees for your staff, and to ensure they make the most of the arrangements.
A mentor can provide support in the form of information and help with direction. A mentor may help the mentee to understand themselves more fully by helping them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then helping them to address weaknesses or gaps in knowledge.
Mentoring support is often provided to help someone:
- adapt to a new role, eg new teacher, new Head of Department
- undertake a major project
- develop and apply new learning
- with career planning.
The most common way mentoring is used within the University is for probationary academic staff, but this is by no means the only way.
Mentoring is often about helping someone work effectively within an organisation. The role need not carry the formal title of mentor. It can be part of a formal mentoring scheme or be a more ad-hoc arrangement.
Further guidelines for effective mentoring are available on the development toolkit.
Coaching is focused guidance and support, usually delivered by a trained internal or external coach over a fixed timescale, with the intention of helping a person with a particular challenge or transition. In this sense, coaches do not people's problems for them.
'The principle is that the coachee knows more about their situation than the coach… (who) believes in the ability of the individual to create insights and ideas needed to move their situation forward. The task of the coach is to use advanced skills of listening, questioning and reflection to create highly effective conversations and experiences for the individual'. - (Starr 2003)
Coaching can also be highly effective as part of day-to-day management, and we encourage all managers to incorporate coaching approaches into their practice. It is found to be more empowering and leads to more motivated and autonomous workforce, and to better solutions to work problems. Coaching - as a skill and as a learning experience - is therefore incorporated into many of our management development programme
Situations that might benefit from collaborative coaching include:
- A manager with potential has been promoted and is having difficulty performing in the new role.
- An individual is being groomed for senior management and needs to gain skills and experience before they are able to make that move
- An individual has relationship issues that are creating problems at an organisational level.
- An organisation has decided to align management behaviours to a set of core values e.g. integrity or innovation. Some managers will need coaching in these specific behaviours.
The University has a small number of accredited coaches who may be available to support individuals in particular circumstances. We also keep a register of external independent coaches to help individuals and departments source appropriate help for their needs. Contact the staff development unit if you would like more information.
Diagnostic instruments, sometimes termed "psychometrics" because they are often rooted in psychological theory, can help individuals understand and modify how their preferences and behaviour in certain situations are likely to affect their work. We currently have staff qualified to administer the following instruments:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Team Management Profile
These may be integrated into programmes and coaching sessions where appropriate, but we do not currently offer a stand-alone service for individuals.