Developing Team Talent

It is a generally accepted belief that there is a storehouse of untapped talent available within the average work team. Unfortunately, the undiscovered talent will remain so unless and until a skilful mentor or coach surfaces the potential resting in each team member. Peer coaches and mentors can be trained to assist their team mates in getting in touch with their hidden talents.

Peer coaches are primarily concerned with the performance development of their team mates. Those chosen to coach other team members will themselves demonstrate proficiency with team tasks. Using a specific agenda, peer coaches will instruct other less proficient team members in mastering tasks where their performance is lacking. Using techniques including instruction, demonstration, and testing, peer coaches will give lessons in task accomplishment.

Peer mentors take a slightly different focus than coaches. Mentors are more concerned about the holistic development of their protégés than their task-specific performance. Mentors come into the relationship with no specific agenda, but are guided by the developmental goals of the protégé. While coaches are assigned based on their area of expertise, mentors are selected by their protégés based on respect and professional and personal admiration.

Mentoring often extends beyond workplace issues and helps the protégé gain skills, knowledge, abilities and awareness that are useful across a wide range of life experiences. Career path and pursuit of life goals fall under the talent areas for discussion with one's mentor. By providing affirmation and learning, mentors encourage their protégés to overcome challenges, and be all that they can be.

Establishing a coaching and mentoring program in your team will enhance team performance, while satisfying each team member's thirst for continued growth and learning. By attending to the ongoing and specific learning needs of each team member you will tap the talent of your team on a variety of levels, and heighten the personal value of each team member in the process.


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