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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
At this year's Human Resources Development 2003, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's conference on learning and development, speaker Eric Parsloe showed corporate mentors how they can identify and successfully coach the future stars of the business world. Eric is Director of the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring (OSC&M). He suggested that many professional qualifications, much like school exams, are designed to pick out those with the best memories rather than those who have truly learned. Traditional exam-based methods are of little use in identifying those people with other qualities that will allow them to reach the highest levels of performance.
Instead, he argued that mentors and coaches must be able to recognise and develop the emotional competencies of their colleagues as well as their IQs. Plus, beyond both of these stages lies another dimension of equal importance, the spiritual competence. This is not a religious factor, but the employee's moral compass, sense of fairness and the ability to use understanding and compassion to determine what is reasonable.
Mentoring, he noted, is about understanding how other people work and learn and about helping them to maximise their potential. He suggested that mentors must understand the IQ, EQ and SQ of their colleagues and adapt their thinking accordingly.
He also discussed the positive points that have been picked out by employees who have had coach-mentors, both to themselves and to their organisations. One interesting point is that of the many benefits that were identified, the smallest percentage (57 per cent) was of those who said that they were more likely to stay with their organisation as a result of receiving coaching or mentoring.
This perhaps challenges the accepted wisdom that mentoring always encourages staff retention. Eric noted that mentoring can sometimes cause employees to realise their place lies elsewhere, though he claimed that this does actually benefit both them and their employer.