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Coaching & mentoring: can you do both at the same time?


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In one of our weekly leadership discussions, the question was posed: can someone be both a coach and a mentor to someone at the same time: the concern raised wa that the two roles could cause conflicting signals:
i think its pretty hard to be a mentor to someone with whom you already have a formally defined professional relationship, especially if you are in their performance evaluation “chain”.
The mentor might wonder  about how genuine the request is, or it may appear like extra-favorable treatment to others who aren’t being mentored. Or, the mentee may feel pressure to accept career advice since hey might worry about the consequences of not following the advice.

i think thats why Michelle’s insights are important about mentors mostly asking questions or in helping the mentee explore 2d and 3d order effects

This is a reason i have deep concerns about “requiring” senior Army leaders to develop mentoring programs, since it puts the locus of control with the seniors and not the juniors.

I’ve tried to give good career and personal advice to my subordinates, which includes helping them find a mentor.  And i have been open to being a mentor to officers and NCOs outside the chain of command. Its gratifying to see students coming thru our college in the rank of Major that i commanded or was a mentor to when they were Lieutenants 10-15 years ago.

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