There’s more than one way to develop a strong team. According to Lynda Bourne, there are four ways, and each has its own special use. At first glance, teaching, coaching, counseling, and mentoring all sound like similar approaches. However, the ability to understand which one is right for each employee makes the difference between an average leader and a great one.
Teaching is a one-way transfer of information. It’s the most impersonal of the four approaches, because the knowledge transfer is so simple it can often be accomplished through external resources.
Coaching is less about the knowledge and more about improving specific tasks and overall performance. A coach will periodically give feedback on work and offer ways to improve.
Counseling is used when an emotional aspect is needed. It’s used to build self-awareness and self-confidence. Although counseling is sometimes necessary, it’s suggested that an external counselor be used when this level of personal growth is needed.
Finally, there is mentoring, which is a partnership based on the mutual satisfaction of both parties. Emphasis is placed on confiding grievances and advising based on understanding and friendship.
Don’t be afraid to try a combination of approaches. What works in one situation might not work in another; and it’s up to you to decide which is best for your team.