Mentoring and Coaching – The Need of The Hour

Faculty Development Symposium of the International School of Business and Research (ISBR Business School), was conducted successfully on 10th January, 2011 at the ISBR Business School campus.  The Symposium’s topic “Mentoring and Coaching – The Need of the Hour” aimed at a holistic approach to the personal and professional development of faculty members of various Arts and Science, Engineering and Technology, and Management education.

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person”, quoted the legendary Mother Teresa. This in essence is mentoring and coaching.  Research in both educational settings and in the workplace has proved without a shred of doubt that students and employees alike are more likely to succeed if they have had a mentor and a coach.  Mentoring and coaching are forms of providing support in which individuals with more advanced experience and knowledge (mentors) are attached with individuals (students, trainees, or others) for the purpose of advancing their development.

The symposium was attended by faculty from renowned institutes such as Women’s Christian College, JBAS Women’s College (formerly SIET), Asan Memorial College, Guru Nanak College, and many more.

Dr. L. S. Ganesh, Professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, was the guest of honor and the first speaker for the day. His dynamism as a speaker was manifested in the rapt attention and awe evident in the participants’ faces. His passion for mentoring and coaching was obvious from his address. Dr. Ganesh touched upon several aspects such as the differentiating factors in inter-dependent terms like counseling, teaching, coaching, training, and mentoring. His ‘4 E Model’ (Effectiveness, Efficiency, Excellence, and Ethics), ‘2 C Model’ (Competency and Character) were the highlights of the day. Nature of the protégé, importance of mentor-protégé relationship, challenges of the mentoring and coaching system, issues that a mentor should avoid, and finally the outcomes of mentoring and coaching programme, were delivered in his usual style of practical, real-time examples. There was a high degree of interest and enthusiasm as expressed by participants’ interaction and experience sharing.

In the post-lunch session, Prof. T.A. Achuth Kumar, Director, ISBR Business School, whose brain-child was this symposium, presented the process of mentoring and coaching in detail. In his customary fashion, Prof. Achuth Kumar started the presentation with definitions of mentoring and coaching, went on to the evolution of mentoring and coaching with classic examples from history, clarified concepts of who a mentor and a protégé is, and shifted to the benefits of mentoring to the mentor and the protégé. The need for mentoring to supplement the conventional teaching inputs was highlighted by explaining the six ways of thinking that prevails and each individual learner may be pre-dominantly one type. They are Authority driven, Deductive, Sensory, Emotional, Intuitive, and Scientific. The mentor can understand the particular way in which the protégé is comfortable in thinking and processing information and use that to enhance effectiveness and tangible results. He concluded with the methodology and action plan for the successful implementation of the programme in colleges and other educational institutions.

The final lap of the symposium saw Dr. M. L. Santhanam, Academic Coordinator, chairing the panel discussion on the current scenario and possible action plans from each of the participants. This open discussion brought in clarity as to how a mentoring and coaching programme needs to be carried out in educational institutes.

The symposium was a success. There are no two ways about it. The effectiveness of internalizing a much relevant topic in recent times is dependent on the follow-up action by the participants in their respective institutes. The enthusiasm with which the participants received the entire day’s content communicates the reality of the implementation phase of the symposium.

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