Who do you talk to?Written by Graham Yemm
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Mentors: A mentor is somewhat different to a coach, though we could go into a long debate about where differences lie. Typically, a mentor is someone who has relevant experience and expertise to share with you, though they do not necessarily give specific advice. Many of us use mentors at times in our lives, often without knowing it. We find person we respect and start to talk to them! A number of large organisations have set up formal mentoring schemes and you may have experienced this. There are many mentoring options available through professional bodies or on a local level, although many of these are focussed on helping you to achieve professional qualifications or maintaining CPD criteria. If you want to look for a mentor, you might want to approach your networks and even family and ask for their ideas or recommendations. You want somebody who will be a good listener to act as a sounding board, who can then share ideas from their own experiences about what pitfalls to consider and what options you may want to pursue. The mentoring relationship can be formal, informal or a combination – with a frequency to suit you.
Coaches: This can be an emotive subject these days! The world seems to be filling with “executive” and “life” coaches. Fundamentally, executive coaches will work with you on business and career issues, life coaches work with you on what you want, which may span both work and home. However, boundaries are often more blurred than that and good executive coaches (who probably have more business experience than many life coaches) will frequently work with you on both aspects.
Coaches will work differently to mentors in that they rarely offer advice. A good coach will support and challenge you on your issues and help you to focus on what you want to achieve. When that is defined they will help you to develop action plans and support you through these, whether by phone, email or face to face sessions. To get good value from a coach, decide what you want to achieve and have some idea of timescale for this. Although relationship can go on beyond this, consider coach as someone to help you achieve specific aims and who will keep you moving forward – as many sports people, musicians and actors do amongst others.
Having a coach may seem something of a luxury or self-indulgence. However, what is cost of things going wrong or not working way you want? Coaching can be shown to have a significant ROI and could be one of best investments you make for you and your business. You want to make sure that you feel a good “fit” with a coach, so look at a few before deciding on who you want to work with and check some of following:
Getting the most from appraisals - from both sidesWritten by Graham Yemm
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Everyone involved has to take their share of responsibility for making appraisals work. While tips below will not guarantee success, they will help you to get more from process, whatever your role.
If you are ‘appraiser’
If you are being reviewed or appraised:
- Make time to prepare properly!
- Set a time for review – and stick to it! Do not move it around – what message does that send out? Allow anything from 1 – 2 hours.
- Choose a place where you can have privacy for a proper, open meeting with no interruptions! Turn off mobile phones.
- Have a short meeting with interviewee a few days before and outline what you want them to do before meeting and during it.
- Look at last year’s review and identify what progress has been made.
- Think about good things employee has achieved and done – do not just look for negatives.
- Be specific with points you want to discuss and review – with evidence not just opinion.
- Set an agenda or structure for meeting and stick to it.
- Make sure they do a lot of talking, it is THEIR review not yours! Also, LISTEN to what they say and build on it
- Remember to give feedback on performance or behaviour – not personality!
- Note where job changes might have impacted on achievement of goals from last year and identify successes.
- Set and agree clear, SMART goals, both short and medium term.
- Remember to ‘own’ process – you have a responsibility to make it work for you, it is not just down to your boss!
- Make time to prepare by reviewing what you have done and how even if there is no formal self-assessment process.
- Obtain a copy of previous review from HR or your boss if you don’t have one.
- If your role or responsibilities have changed since previous appraisal, identify goals you achieved up until change and those after.
- Make notes of key points you want to mention.
- Be honest in your self-assessment about what you could have improved upon.
- Be specific about things you have done well.
- Think about what you want for short, medium and long-term. What support, training or development would you like?
- What might be sensible areas to set goals for future? Be willing to suggest these to your boss.
- Ask for clear and specific feedback.
- If you would like your boss to manage you differently, use this as a time to ask, giving reasons about why it would benefit all of you!
- Ensure you are clear about what boss thinks and why – and whether it fits with your own self-assessment. If there is a difference, explore why this is case. Work to reach agreement.
Finally, there should be a sense of agreement about what has happened, what will happen and how. To reinforce effectiveness, avoid making it just an annual event. Set on-going reviews to monitor progress towards goals, to support any training or development and to improve communication between bosses and teams.
An idea for all is to keep some notes throughout year of successes and any particular challenges or events you want to recall later. It will help to reduce some of subjectivity of poor appraisals and also makes sure things are remembered throughout year!
Graham Yemm a founding partner of Solutions 4 Training Ltd. He has worked with many different organisations around the world conducting both training and consultancy assignments. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP and an accredited trainer for the LAB profile programme – “Words that Change Minds”. Contact, <Back to Page 1