At emotional intelligence at work, we deploy a variety of techniques fluidly with clients in each session, slipping between them as best we can to meet the client’s needs as we perceive them. We deploy techniques from coaching, mentoring, training, consultancy and even counselling.
However, we are not advisors or consultants—both of these activities are working in the business, not on the business—and we’re certainly not counsellors.
Pure coaching starts with the premise that the client already knows what the solution to their problem is and the coach’s role is to bring illumination to the subject to enable the client to see this. It can be a slow process, but many believe it to be the best since it gives the client the maximum responsibility for any changes they choose to make.
Coaches don’t need to know anything about the job the client has to do, and, often, ignorance is a benefit.
We always think of mentors as being the experienced, knowledgeable person imparting the benefits of their working lives to a more junior client. There is more telling and showing than a coach does, and it is assumed that the mentor has (considerable) knowledge and understanding of the context in which the client works.
Useful for the bulk imparting of knowledge. Training in, say, Microsoft Excel ought to be of great value. Similarly, training in new business procedures. If a subject is cut and dried and can be codified into sets of rules then, provided those rules are drilled into the class well enough, the training works.
It’s questionable how useful training people in subjects like leadership and management can be. You can train people about leadership and management and that is a very important part of the student gaining insight into these subjects. But, in order to enable the client to be a leader or manager, a different approach—mentoring, as defined above—is also needed.
Contrary to the meaning of the word, consultants are not usually people who are consulted by clients. In my experience, consultants are hired by a business to carry out a job of work for which the client does not have the resources, usually because it requires specialisms not present in the client’s staff (eg, knowledge of how to establish the detailed requirements of a computer system). An interim manger is someone who does management for a client. He or she is effectively an employee for the duration of their stay.
Advisors are people who are consulted by clients. In principle the advice that is imparted should be reliable and the advisor can be held legally liable if it isn’t. Typical advisors in business work in the financial and legal realms.
We also, to a limited extent, deploy counselling techniques where we feel these are the most effective ways of facilitating a client to resolve a problem or issue they have. Although counselling may not be defined in this way, it has a useful feature not possessed by any of the other interventions considered; namely it provides interpretations of what is going on at personal and interpersonal levels.
> The emotional intelligence at work approach to coaching
by Jeremy Marchant . last updated 10 october 2014 . image: Freeimages