Mentoring is for Managers, Coaching for Leaders

Ram Ramanathan  •  May 24, 2014  •  2 min read

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Mentoring is for Managers, Coaching for Leaders

The polarisation of the title is deliberate, intended for discussion and differential points of view.

EMCC may be for both mentors and coaches, and ICF & AC only for coaches, but no coach I know, especially in the executive, corporate and business space, does not mentor occasionally or more.

It’s easy to mentor, very human in fact. We all believe that we have something to offer others from our experience and expertise, which is superior to what others may have within. What if it didn’t work for us, others may learn. Prescription is hard wired in all of us.

Prescriptive solution offering is the single biggest block I see in managers developing in their careers to leaders. This prevents delegation, empowerment, creation of others as leaders and therefore blocking those who offer solutions from leadership.

It takes effort to coach. The coach leader co-creates solutions. He or she is aware within and without, works on strengths of others, communes with respect evoking trust, and leads to a desired outcome and empowered action. To achieve all this, the coach needs to let go the know-it-all ego state. This for a lot of us is difficult.

This is why I find coaching spiritual. To be a great coach, one needs to let ego go. If I am using Milton language here, that too is intentional. Coaching is about the deep conscious, which we call unconscious, thanks to Freud. To Jung, this deep conscious was all knowing. In Vedic philosophy we call it brahman, the collective truth of consciousness.

In Zen, this is the void. I call this Mindlessness. To be a great coach, we don’t need to be mindful, which is an ego state of focus and attention. We need to be mindless to be non-judgmental and not-knowing. This is the state of a coach. This is the state of the leader. Come to Coacharya to learn more on Mindlessness.

Anyone on a leadership journey today knows that the 2020 leadership paradigm is no longer performance based. It process and awareness based, resulting in action and performance. Enhancing human potential through emotional empowerment is the single biggest challenge in leadership today.

The challenge, objective and purpose of a coach is emotional and spiritual empowerment, resulting in transformation of beliefs and behavior. I truly believe that no manager can become a leader, unless he or she becomes a coach first.

More for later …

Ram Ramanathan


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.


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