One of the main challenges for a project manager is helping the team grow, both as individuals and together as an organization. Lynda Bourne of the Project Management Institute writes there are four ways of fostering growth: teaching, counseling, coaching, and mentoring. If you thought these four words were synonyms, it’s time for an explanation.
Teaching and counseling imply that the learning is one-way and the relationship is minimal. Teaching is a transfer of knowledge so the student can learn a new skill or pass a test. Counseling builds self-confidence and self-awareness for the individual.
Then there’s coaching and mentoring. Both require a much closer relationship between the team member and the instructor. Coaches help the team meet goals. They also stick around long-term to give feedback as the team develops. Mentoring is a close bond between two people. It often includes aspects of all the above methods: teaching, counseling, and coaching. The effect is beneficial for both parties and often lasts longer than the typical coworker relationship.
Whatever the situation, chances are your team members could benefit from more guidance. Pick the method that’s right for you and watch your team grow.